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How to Tell if Friends or Family Members have a Drinking Problem

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It’s sometimes difficult to tell whether someone has a drinking problem or whether they’re simply a social drinker who occasionally over-indulges. However, there are some questions you can ask yourself to determine whether or not a person has a drinking problem.

However, you can be pretty sure that alcoholism is involved if the person engages in any unhealthy patterns related to drinking. Patterns can be psychological (i.e. saying they’re quitting drinking and then beating themselves up if they drink) or physical (continuing to drink to resolve illness resulting from drinking).

Experts generally agree that people with an alcohol problem often display two or more of the following behaviours:

  1. Drinking alcohol or taking drugs in larger amounts or for longer periods
  2. Wanting to cut down or stop drinking or taking drugs but not managing to\
  3. Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from drinking or taking drugs
  4. Suffering cravings and urges to drink alcohol or use drugs
  5. Failing to carry out daily activities at work, home, or school/college/university because of alcohol or drug use
  6. Continuing to drink or use, even when it causes problems in relationships
  7. Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of drinking alcohol or using drugs
  8. Drinking alcohol or using drugs again and again, even when it’s dangerous
  9. Continuing to use drugs or alcohol, despite physical or psychological problems
  10. Needing more drugs or alcohol to get an effect
  11. Developing withdrawal symptoms, which can only be relieved by taking more drugs or alcohol
  12. Taking less care than usual in their appearance and personal hygiene

Even at the lower level, treatment should be sought as studies indicate that substance use disorders are progressive and the chances of getting worse are extremely high – there are huge advantages in getting treatment at the mild to moderate stages when the condition is less advanced.

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