When it comes to alcohol addiction, identifying a person who is struggling with it might seem, in theory, like a pretty easy thing to do. In our minds, the ideal dependent person is living a life that has been destroyed by addiction. They drink from morning to night, their physical and mental health might not be in optimal shape, and they might even possess a lengthy criminal record that stems from actions committed as a result of the addiction.
However, identifying alcohol abuse and addiction is not always this easy and clear-cut. There are many signs that extend beyond the obvious, and identifying them can often be tricky.
For quite some time, there has been an ongoing debate over whether people who drink heavily (binge drink) on the weekends are ideal candidates for drug rehabilitation.
To answer this, it’s important to understand what binge drinking actually is. Binge drinking is a form of substance abuse that occurs when a number of drinks is consumed within a certain period of time. For men, 4+ drinks consumed within a 2-3 hour frame of time is considered to be binge drinking. For women, this amount is 3+ drinks.
You likely know that binge drinking can be extremely detrimental to the body. Consistently engaging in binge drinking behavior can lead to changes in sleep pattern, paranoia, complications in the liver, respiratory issues, mood swings, and much more. On a more situational level, binge drinking can lead to “blacking out,” alcohol poisoning and even an alcohol-induced coma.
Not all people who binge drink develop addictions from the behavior, but the risk is significantly heightened, and it is does happen far too often. Because binge drinking is considered somewhat “normal” in western culture, knowing when a real problem has developed can be difficult.
It’s also worth it to note that even if addiction hasn’t and won’t develop in an individual, this does not negate the fact that binge drinking behavior itself is dangerous to not only the drinker, but also others around him/her.
Five Critical Signs You’re Drinking Too Heavily on the Weekends
It’s estimated that roughly one in three people in the US drink excessively on a regular basis. While grabbing drinks with friends on the weekend might seem like a harmless way to spice up your downtime, things can spiral out of control rather quickly. These are five surefire signs weekend drinking has become a distinct problem for you.
- You have trouble paying your tab after 1-2 drinks. You might even make a personal commitment to yourself before the night begins that you won’t exceed a drink or two. However, once you’re out and about and those one to two drinks have been consumed, it seems absurd to just stop drinking. You allow yourself another, and then another, and eventually you are “buzzed” or drunk altogether.
- You frequently view alcohol to be a type of reward. When challenges are presented to us in life, it’s only natural to want to celebrate when we overcome them. When we are younger, these rewards come in the form of cookies or gold stars, but for adults, rewards might take the form of an alcoholic beverage or an excursion that heavily involves alcohol.
- You experience feelings of guilt and shame after an episode of heavy drinking. Hangovers are typically accompanied by headaches and nausea, but for some people, these symptoms might also be paired with negative, regretful feelings about the night before. This is what is known as a “moral hangover.”
- You seem to make choices that you wouldn’t normally make while drinking. Not only does alcohol cause people to leave a good chunk of their inhibitions by the wayside, but it also heavily manipulates their ability to assess situations and exercise good judgment. For example, it’s highly likely that if you were sober, you would easily identify drinking and driving as something that should be avoided at all costs. However, while drunk, you might have trouble seeing the problem with it.
- Your personality dramatically changes during alcohol consumption. A vast amount of research has shown that there is a distinct connection between excessive drinking and dangerous, violent, and aggressive behavior. Alcohol manipulates the way the brain processes external stimuli, and as a result, it can cause you to react to situations in ways that are abnormal for [sober] you. For instance, if someone were to say something rude to you while you were sober, the chances are high that you would brush it off and move on with your day. On the other hand, if this happened to you while you were intoxicated, it’s definitely possible you could respond with aggression on a verbal, or even physical level.
Identifying the Need for Change
When abusive behaviors such as binge drinking are not addressed, they are at high risk for turning into full blown addictions. When this happens, the affected individual is at an elevated risk for suffering the emotional, social, and physical consequences.
What Should I Do If I Am An Alcoholic?
As it stands, there is no disorder that relates specifically to heavy/binge drinking, but science, evidence, and research have all proven time and time again that excessive drinking is often a harbinger of alcohol addiction. If you recognize that you are regularly binge drinking and are having a hard time slowing down or finding a stopping point altogether, you are at a point where treatment is crucially important.
Upon speaking with one of our experienced staff members at Dream Center for Recovery, we can help you identify the specific, personalized approach of treatment that’s right for you. After all, alcohol abuse, dependency, and addiction is best treated in a safe, comfortable environment by medically trained professionals.
What’s most important is keeping in mind that seeking help with alcohol abuse or addiction is not perceived to be shameful or weak. In fact, recognizing that you need help and reaching out for it is one of the strongest choices you can make.
Whether you feel helpless in your struggle against alcohol or you’re just looking for answers to your questions, we can help. Contact us today so we can help you better understand your potential journey toward recovery. Call 877-978-3148