The line between social drinking and alcoholism can be very diluted, especially if you don’t know what to look for. Occasionally you meet for drinks with a friend or family member, but do you worry just a little bit when they consistently get loud or foolish after that one drink too many? Have you heard several times about your friend’s massive hangovers? Do you suspect your loved one drinks more than they admit?
Drinking is more or less a socially acceptable activity that is pervasive in our society. Having a glass of wine or beer at dinner is considered the norm and, for college students especially, binge drinking at a party is just something you do on the weekends. But at what point does casual drinking become a problem?
In 2008, approximately 23 percent of treatment admissions were due to alcohol-related problems. College students are even more at risk too. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported in 2009 that nearly half of admissions into substance abuse treatment services of those aged 18 to 24 were due to alcohol. When about half of adults over the age of 18 are regular drinkers (defined as more than 12 drinks per year), it’s hard to tell what constitutes a problem and average drinking behavior.
Signs of Alcoholism
If you suspect a good friend or family member of having an alcohol problem, talk to them. Express your concern over their drinking and show your support. Denial is a large part of addictions, so your friend may insist that there isn’t a problem. Pay attention to their behavior, and don’t encourage drinking if you really think a problem exists. Not sure what else to look for? Here are some other warning signs that may indicate an alcohol-related problem.
Does your friend/family member…
- Drink more than necessary or drink in increasingly heavier amounts? This may indicate tolerance.
- Rarely remember what he/she did the night before or has frequent “blackouts.”
- Lie about how much he/she drinks?
- Mention the need to drink in order to relax or feel better?
- Neglect activities or responsibilities because of drinking?
- Regularly drinks more than he/she intended? Does “just one drink” become five in the matter of a couple hours?
- Get visibly nervous or irritated when alcohol is not present?
- Complain that others are responsible for his/her drinking or alcohol-related problems?
- Get in legal trouble due to drinking?
- Mention quitting but never seems to quit?
- Drink despite legal, social, economic, or family problems?
If you can answer “yes” to one or more of these, it may be a good time to explore the treatment options available from The Oaks at La Paloma. Alcoholism is a serious illness that should be treated by a professional. You can call us anytime to discuss yourself or your friend’s alcohol-related troubles. We will talk to you confidentially and work on developing an individualized treatment plan that’s a good match for you or your loved one. Don’t let alcoholism drown you in regret. Call us today.