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  • It’s easy to pass off problem drinking as a way to relax or have fun. But if you depend on alcohol and notice its negative effects on your life, you may have an alcohol addiction.

    If you’re worried you’re drinking too much, you may be right. It’s hard to admit that you have a problem, especially with something socially accepted like alcohol. But there’s a big difference between having a drink with friends and depending on alcohol to get through the day.

    Here are eight signs you’re drinking too much alcohol.

    1. You Hide Your Drinking

    You hide your drinking from your loved ones so they don’t bring it up. Either they’ve commented before on how much or how often you drink, or you know deep down that they wouldn’t approve of your alcohol consumption.

    You might lie to them, saying you didn’t drink or claiming you had less than you did. You might hide bottles of alcohol around the house so no one can keep track of how much you’re drinking or even see you doing it.

    2. You Need Alcohol To Get Through The Day

    You have a drink first thing in the morning, and another at work, and still more when you get home. You keep alcohol in your car or at the office, so you’re never without it. 

    When the effects of one drink start to wear off, you have another. If this sounds like you, you’re drinking too much.

    The desire to drink all the time may cause a shift in your social activities as well. You may find yourself deciding what to do on a given night based on whether there will be alcohol available. 

    Can you get together with your friends at a place that serves alcohol? If an event takes place at someone’s house, will you be able to drink there? Will other people be drinking too? 

    3. You Miss Things Because Of Alcohol

    You miss events and social gatherings because you’re too busy drinking to remember or care. Or you may be hungover from drinking the night before. 

    If you rely too much on alcohol, you’ll likely lose interest in things you used to love and prioritize drinking over other engagements.

    You might also miss things in the sense that you can’t focus on or remember them because you were intoxicated. Binge drinking sometimes causes “blackout” or short-term memory loss. Heavy drinking over time can impair your ability to remember things as well.

    4. You Spend Too Much Money On Alcohol

    You have trouble paying your bills because you spend too much money on alcohol. You’re always borrowing money to make ends meet, or even stealing from friends or family to pay for your drinking.

    The more alcohol you drink, the more you need to feel the same effect. Heavy drinkers develop a high tolerance for alcohol, so they buy more. If you find your grocery bill dominated by alcohol or your bar tab in the triple digits, you should reevaluate your drinking habits. 

    5. You Do Dangerous Things While Drinking

    Everyone knows that alcohol impairs your judgment, and plenty of people do things under the influence that they wouldn’t do sober. But if you drink so much that you risk harming yourself or others, you’re drinking too much.

    Driving a vehicle, having unprotected sex with a stranger, or taking care of a child are a few things you should never do while drinking. Anything that involves climbing or balancing is dangerous when your senses are impaired.

    6. You Have Alcohol-Related Health Issues

    Heavy drinking over time can lead to a broad range of health issues, including high blood pressure, cancer, and disease in most of the vital organs. Alcohol can also damage mental health, increasing the occurrence or severity of depression, anxiety, and stress.

    More immediate effects of alcohol include hangover and alcohol poisoning. If you drink so much that you pass out, that’s not good. Frequently waking up with a hangover—nausea, headache, and grogginess—is also a problem.

    Regularly drinking too much can affect the way you feel and how you see the world. It may seem like you’re in a fog, always tired, and unable to feel happy.

    7. You Experience Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

    Withdrawal symptoms occur when you’re physically dependent on alcohol. Your body becomes so used to the drug that it expects it and reacts negatively if you stop or reduce your drinking. 

    Regular consumption can lead to physical dependence, so you may have alcohol withdrawal symptoms if you only have one drink each day. The symptoms will be much more intense if you drink a lot.

    Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

    • sweating
    • shaking
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • loss of appetite
    • rapid heart rate
    • headache
    • mood swings
    • insomnia

    In severe cases, you may experience delirium tremens, a life-threatening condition marked by tremors, hallucinations, and seizures.

    8. You Can’t Control Your Drinking

    You notice some of these signs that you’re drinking too much and try cutting back. You promise yourself or your loved ones that you won’t drink, or you’ll only have one, but find yourself intoxicated at the end of the night.

    Drinking more than intended happens occasionally—it could result from peer pressure or an event that lasted longer than expected. But regularly setting limits and failing to keep them is a red flag. 

    If you continue drinking alcohol despite negative effects on your life and health, you may want to consider seeking help for alcohol addiction.

    Get Help For Alcohol Abuse And Addiction

    People who abuse alcohol risk becoming addicted to it. If you’re drinking too much, don’t hesitate to ask for help before the problem takes over your life.

    Treatment for alcohol abuse and addiction can be tailored to the individual, so you get the care you need for your situation. It may include medical detox, behavioral therapy, and a variety of treatment options that teach you how to live a fulfilling life without alcohol.

    To learn about our comprehensive alcohol rehab programs at Ark Behavioral Health, speak with one of our compassionate treatment specialists today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Alcohol withdrawal

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on August 10, 2022
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