Rogue Magazine Health When Does Alcohol Use Become a Problem

When Does Alcohol Use Become a Problem

People all over the country and the world have been battling a growing trend of alcohol abuse, especially in the wake of the pandemic and seemingly endless lockdowns. You might be in Western Australia now, for example, thinking about the need to get alcohol counselling and addiction help in Perth, but when is the right time? What are the right conditions?

Some people claim they just like a drink every now and then, and most of them are right. Many more people enjoy a lot of drinking with friends but can then go days or weeks without even thinking about having a drink. So, when does alcohol use become a problem?

Here are some signs to watch out for:

1. Consuming More than Recommended Number of Drinks

Most health experts would likely suggest all of us give up alcohol cold turkey, but they know a lot better than that given the proclivities of many adults in the country. Certain groups do, however, offer guidance on how many drinks might be too many. The American Family Physician says for women or anyone older than 65 years that’s 7 drinks per week and no more than 3 drinks per session/occasion, and for men 14 drinks per week and only 4 per occasion.

Some people might balk at those numbers, but that’s what they say. For some, drinking more than these recommended numbers might be the full extent of their problem. It’s when you’re exceeding these numbers and starting to see the additional signs below that it’s becoming a problem.

2. Alcohol Use Negatively Impacts Your Working Life

Have you been drinking on nights when you know you have to get up early for work the next day? Did the plan start as “one drink after work,” but quickly descend into late-night clubbing and shots at 2:00am? When alcohol is making you either pull sickies, or arrive late for work, then it’s starting to become an issue.

Furthermore, if your colleagues in your workplace can sense your drinking habit during the workday, you also have an issue here. For instance, if you still have an alcohol smell on your breath when you come to work, or even worse if you’re consuming alcohol during the work day.

3. Alcohol Use Negatively Impacts Your Home Life

Has your drinking impacted your family members in any way? For instance, have you been coming home at night drunk and disturbing the sleep of your spouse or children as you return? Is spending time in drinking establishments taking time away from when you should be with your spouse, children or other relatives? Has drinking caused you to miss any family occasion or create an embarrassing situation at a family event? If so, then you might be bordering on the problematic side of drinking.

4. You’ve Driven Your Car Drunk

Regardless of the outcome, if you’ve ever made the decision (or unconscious decision) to drive your car drunk, then alcohol has done its work to completely undo your sense of good judgment. The deadly nature of drunk driving has been made shockingly clear to the Australian public for many years now, to the point that no driver on the road is reasonably unaware of it. If you have driven your car home after drinking and attempted to rationalise it, then you are firmly in the problem zone.

5. You Can’t Get Through a Day Without Feeling the Need for Drink

Finally, part of the definition for addiction is a physical dependency. If you have the feeling that you really can’t make it through a day without having a drink, then you are very likely a problem drinker. 

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