When the weekend arrives, many people unwind with alcohol. Although common, this behavior can lead to alcohol abuse (also called binge drinking) and alcohol use disorder (also called alcohol addiction).
A person who only abuses alcohol on weekends is often called a “weekend alcoholic.” If you’re concerned that you or someone you love drinks too much on the weekends, look for these 10 red flags.
1. You Drink More Than You Planned To
Have you ever planned to only have one or two alcoholic beverages, but then felt unable to stop drinking? This likely signals an alcohol problem.
In particular, it suggests you’ve developed a tolerance to alcohol. That means that over time, you need increasingly larger amounts of alcohol to feel the desired effects. Tolerance is one of the main symptoms of alcohol use disorder.
2. You Lie About Your Alcohol Consumption
Although alcohol use disorder is a disease, some people view it as a moral failing. That’s why individuals with drinking problems may try to conceal them.
For instance, they may downplay how often they drink or how many drinks they’ve had. They may also claim that they don’t drink hard liquor, even when they do.
If you feel the need to lie about your drinking habits, they’re probably unhealthy.
3. You Drink All Weekend Long
Many people can have one or two drinks on a Friday night after work and not worry about developing an alcohol problem.
However, other people sip on alcohol all weekend long to maintain a constant feeling of intoxication. If you drink in this manner, you face a high risk of alcohol use disorder.
4. You Experience Frequent Blackouts
The term “blackout” refers to temporary memory loss. When you have an alcohol-related blackout, you forget some or all of what happened while you were drunk.
Most alcohol-related blackouts occur when you drink a large amount of alcohol in a short amount of time. Thus, if you experience a lot of blackouts, you may have an alcohol problem.
5. You Constantly Think About Drinking
People who only drink on weekends may assume they can’t possibly have a drinking problem. However, many of them think about alcohol all week long, recalling pleasant memories of their last drink and eagerly awaiting their next drink.
If you experience these types of thoughts on a regular basis, there’s a strong chance you have or will develop alcohol use disorder.
6. You Lose Interest In Relationships & Activities
On weekends, do you ever neglect your friends or family members to spend more time drinking? Similarly, has drinking replaced your other weekend hobbies or activities?
If so, you may have alcohol use disorder. The disorder causes brain changes that make it difficult to focus on anything besides getting and drinking alcohol.
7. You Feel Guilty About Your Drinking Habits
After a night of drinking, you may wake up feeling guilty about how much you drank or how you behaved while drunk. In most cases, guilt signals that your drinking habits have become unhealthy.
For example, while heavily intoxicated, you might get in fights, spend lots of money, or drive while drunk. If you regularly experience these types of issues but feel unable to stop drinking alcohol, you could have alcohol use disorder.
8. You Frequently Drink Alone
Drinking alone isn’t always problematic. For instance, you could probably drink a single glass of wine by yourself without consequences.
However, if your weekends involve hours of solitary drinking, you likely have an issue.
9. You Drink To Numb Feelings
Although most people find alcohol relaxing, you shouldn’t use the drug to self-medicate painful emotions like sadness and loneliness. Self-medication can lead to alcohol use disorder.
That’s because alcohol is a depressant, meaning it slows down activity in the brain or central nervous system. Self-medicating with alcohol can also cause or worsen depression (a mental health condition characterized by persistent sadness).
To temporarily numb alcohol-induced sadness, some people start drinking even more, which creates a vicious cycle of alcohol abuse and depression.
10. Your Weekend Drinking Disrupts Your Life
Some people can drink in moderation over the weekend and then seamlessly return to a productive work week.
However, others drink so heavily on weekends that they struggle to fulfill their weekly responsibilities at work, school, or home. If your weekend drinking disrupts your life this way, you likely have an alcohol problem.
If you or a loved one displays these signs, please contact an Ark Behavioral Health specialist. Our substance abuse and addiction treatment centers offer a variety of services, including medical detox, mental health counseling, and support groups.