November 18th, 2013 by

Alcohol is enjoyed to punctuate pretty much every occasion: Parties and social soirees, work events, holidays, celebrations, birthdays, even just sharing a meal with your partner or friends. In our modern world it is a completely socially accepted substance in most cultures, and when enjoyed in moderation it can be a healthy component to your diet.

Because it is so ingrained in everyday life, there can be a blurred line between social drinking and alcohol abuse. When you frequently drink alcohol as a coping mechanism or to feel better about things then you may be stepping into dangerous territory. A small glass of wine after a hard day’s work can soon escalate to a bottle each night when stressful times strike.


So who’s most at risk of developing an alcohol abuse problem? A number of factors may predispose an individual toward a drink problem including social environment, upbringing, having family members with an alcohol dependency, emotional stability and availability of support networks. People who suffer with mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and bipolar are particularly at risk, as these people are more likely to self-prescribe alcohol as escapism from their struggles.

Recognising that you have a problem is the first step to solving it. Do any of the following statements apply to you?

  • Do you feel guilty or ashamed about your drinking habits?
  • Have friends or family ever expressed concern over
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    your relationship with alcohol?

  • Do you ever lie to cover up your drinking habits?
  • Require drink in order to relax?
  • Do you ever wake up on the morning after drinking having forgotten what you did?
  • Frequently binge drink?

The bottom line is if alcohol is causing a problem in your life, then you have a drinking problem.

Alcohol abuse does not mean that you are an alcoholic. However binge drinking and drinking every day as a habit can certainly develop into alcoholism – which is defined as a ‘dependency on alcohol.’ If you rely on alcohol to function or you experience physical urges to drink, then you are an alcoholic.

You may experience withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is taken away. These are common amongst alcoholics, and include anxiety, jumpiness, depression, shakiness, sweating, nausea, insomnia, irritability, fatigue, loss of appetite and headaches.

If you’ve lost control over your drinking habits and want to quit but can’t, or if you drink

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despite knowing that it will cause problems you need to seek help.

Your GP will be able to refer you to local support groups, psycho-therapy or addiction treatment. Below are some useful links:

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