Drinking is an activity that’s so ingrained in our culture that it’s hard to imagine a society without the presence of alcohol. In recent years, craft breweries and specialized cocktail bars and liqueurs have escalated alcohol from the realm of a simple pastime to a passionate hobby for millions. While it’s common for people to enjoy a drink or a happy hour special at the end of the week, it’s important to be aware of how alcohol addiction can slowly form. It’s easy to slip from being a casual drinker to someone who is regularly abusing alcohol. At our detox in Orange County, we’ve seen a number of patients who have felt large chunks of their life slip away from them because of alcohol, and we’ve compiled a number of “warning signs” that alcohol addiction is forming. Take our quiz and see if any of these warning signs apply to you.
1) After drinking alcohol, do you have lapses in judgment or memory?
Blacking out is the obvious worst case scenario, but smaller lapses are still important warning signs. You don’t have to physically pass out to be in danger; often times someone suffering from alcohol poisoning will be confused, amnesiac, or unresponsive.
Think back on your worst or most excessive drinking experiences. Are there moments you can’t recall? Is there a gap in your memory between when you started drinking and when you arrived home? Have you ever “hooked up” with a stranger or engaged in any kind of activities you wouldn’t have done while sober?
2) Do you wake up with new injuries after drinking alcohol?
Have you ever gone home with cuts, bruises, scrapes, or other markings that suggest you were walking disoriented, clumsily, or otherwise stumbling about? While drunk, even commonplace travel, like walking down stairs, navigating a room, or walking the streets, can be a source of injury. If you’re waking up with physical signs of these injuries, you might be drinking excessively.
3) Do you feel incomplete without drinking alcohol?
Anyone addicted to caffeine knows the feeling of needing a cup. Coffee mugs and t-shirts are branded with the joke “I’m not me until I’ve had my coffee.” Alcohol addiction starts in very much the same way. It goes from wanting a drink at a party or social gathering, to feeling like your night isn’t complete until you’ve had your drink. If you find yourself stopping by a liquor store every time your fridge or cabinet doesn’t have a beer, wine, or liquor, you might have developed a dependence on alcohol.
If you often feel stressed, exhausted, depressed, or otherwise unhappy and lean towards alcohol as the cure for those negative emotions, you are facing alcohol addiction as an escape from other problems. In these cases, therapy is often recommended to not only curb the alcoholism but to address the underlying causes that are fueling it.
4) Have you drunk or craved alcohol at inappropriate times?
While anyone could want a refreshing beverage on a hot summer’s day or a $10 cocktail at a bar or theme park, there are times and places where we can be tempted despite our better judgment. If you’ve ever drunk at work, on the clock, before you knew you had to drive, or at other sensitive gatherings, you might be addicted to alcohol.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, you should be aware that you could have an addiction to alcohol, and it could have deeper underlying causes. Professional help is here for you if you need it, or if you simply want to learn more about alcoholism and how it can be detected. Give us a call directly at (714) 782-3973.