For many, drinking alcohol is a central part of socializing. We gather with co-workers over happy hour, have a beer while cheering for our favorite teams and relax at brunch with a Bloody Mary or mimosa. Without thinking about it, the amount of alcohol we drink can quickly add up.
There’s a difference between enjoying a drink with friends and having a problem with drinking. How do you know if you’ve crossed the line?
Let’s start with a few of the most common misconceptions about drinking alcohol:
“Alcohol doesn’t harm your health.”
“I have a good job and a family so I must not have a problem with drinking.”
“You have to drink every day to have a problem with alcohol.”
It’s misconceptions like these that can give people a false sense of security. Many people believe if they haven’t hit rock bottom, they must be doing okay. There is also a stigma that surrounds the condition. When people think about alcoholics, they may tend to think of people who are unemployed or homeless. But most people manage to function fine and might not know they have a problem.
It’s one of the reasons Linden Oaks Behavioral Health has made these changes regarding the way we talk about drinking too much alcohol:
Instead of alcoholism, we now refer to it as an alcohol use disorder.
Instead of alcoholic, we now say a person with an alcohol use disorder.
Instead of recovering alcoholic, we now say a person in recovery.
If you’re concerned you or a loved one may have an alcohol use disorder, watch for the following signs and symptoms. You might also consider taking an online assessment to learn more.
- Consuming alcohol in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than was intended
- Having a persistent desire to reduce or control alcohol use
- Experiencing cravings or a strong desire to use alcohol
- Failing to fulfill daily activities such as work or having relationship problems
- Cutting down on social or recreational activities due to alcohol use
- Building tolerance and needing increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication
- Having a reverse tolerance – a diminished tolerance with the same amount of alcohol
Depending on your situation, you might be able to change your lifestyle and cut back on how much you drink. Try these eight strategies to drink less:
- Keep a diary of your drinking – where you were, how much you drank and why you were drinking. There are several apps that can help you track your drinking, including Reframe and Drink Control.
- Make a list of why you need to decrease drinking – and refer to your list when the temptation strikes.
- Set limits for how much you’re going to drink and do your best to stick within them.
- Ask for support – let others know what you’re trying to do.
- Don’t keep alcohol in your home.
- Eat before or between drinks.
- Reduce stress through exercise or try calling a friend.
- Find a new hobby.
If you are unable to cut back on drinking on your own, call Linden Oaks Behavioral Health for an assessment to learn more about your situation and what steps you should take. We offer multiple levels of care, including an inpatient detox unit, which is medically monitored, and outpatient care. People often forget that alcohol is dangerous to withdraw from and can lead to seizures or even death if not done carefully. We’re able to help people safely overcome alcohol use disorder.