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Is my drinking a problem?

11 signs you may be losing control of your drinking


When does a few casual drinks tip into a concern? Recognising you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol isn't always straightforward, especially when social events and stress relief are often tangled up with alcohol consumption. It's not just about how much you drink, but how drinking affects your life. If you're wondering about your drinking habits, you're not alone. Here are 11 signs, that may indicate your relationship with alcohol is more complicated than you think.

1. You drink more, or for longer, than you plan to

This is about struggling to stick to limits we set for ourselves. What starts as a planned one or two drinks can spiral into many more, indicative of a loss of control over consumption habits.

2. Persistent desire or unsuccessful attempts to cut down

You find that attempts to reduce drinking, like participating in Dry July or restricting drinking to weekends, tend to fail. If this is a recurring pattern it shows a struggle to maintain moderation despite good intentions.

3. A great deal of time is spent obtaining, using or recovering from drinking

If weekends are consumed by alcohol, either in anticipation, consumption, or recovery, it's a sure sign that alcohol is dominating your time and activities.

 “I spend my whole weekend either drunk or hungover...

4. Craving or strong desire or urge to drink

Often thinking about the next drink, or getting a sudden urge or perceived 'need' for a drink can signal psychological dependence, where the desire to drink begins to take precedence over other thoughts and responsibilities.

5. Drinking leading to failure to fulfil obligations at work, school or home

When drinking starts to impact your professional or personal responsibilities, like taking excessive sick days, or struggling to get the kids to football practice at the weekend, it's indicative of dependence.

“I barely made it into work and couldn't concentrate all day”

6. Continued drinking despite social or interpersonal problems as a result

Choosing alcohol over maintaining or just prioritising relationships, perhaps ignoring calls or texts in favour being alone with a glass or bottle of booze, suggests there is an issue that needs addressing.

7. Important social activities are given up or reduced due to drinking

Avoiding previously enjoyed social settings because they interfere with drinking routines, or prioritising events where alcohol is a part of it, is another potential flag for a problematic relationship with alcohol.

8. Alcohol use in situations where it is physically hazardous

Finding yourself in dangerous situations where you've prioritised drinking over safety, such as drinking and driving, is another sign you may need support.

9. Continued drinking despite being aware of harm attributed to it

Ignoring medical warnings, or even just your own awareness of the impact that alcohol is having on your health and continuing to drink, shows a prioritisation of alcohol over well-being.

“Alcohol worsens my anxiety and depression, but I can’t seem to stop’

10. Development of tolerance

Needing to consume more alcohol to feel its effects indicates an increasing tolerance, which can lead to ever increasing levels of consumption and risk of dependence.

11. Withdrawal symptoms

Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms like shakiness or insomnia when not drinking is a clear sign of physical dependence.

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We’re looking forward to helping you reset your relationship with alcohol for a healthier, happier life.

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