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Know these seven warning signs of alcohol abuse

Man pouring a drink

/ by UK HealthCare

Many adults enjoy some bourbon, a craft beer or glass of wine at the end of a long day or during dinner.

For some people, however, drinking can become a problem if it becomes less of a social event and more of an uncontrollable need.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, dedicated to increasing understanding of alcoholism and alcohol-related problems.

Those who start drinking alcohol before age 15 are five times more likely to abuse alcohol than those who first drink at age 21 or older. That’s why it’s important to spread the word to young people as well as adults about the dangers of alcohol misuse.

Seven questions to consider

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence encourages teens and others to ask themselves these seven questions to find out if drinking is a problem for them:

  • Do you use alcohol to feel more self-confident, more sociable, or more powerful?
  • Do you ever drink immediately after you have a problem at home or at school?
  • Have you lost friends because of your alcohol use, or started hanging out with a heavy drinking crowd?
  • Do you feel guilty or bummed out after using alcohol, or ever wake up and wonder what happened the night before?
  • Have you gotten into trouble at home or school, missed school, or been busted or hospitalized because of alcohol?
  • Do your friends use less alcohol than you, or do you consume alcohol until your supply is all gone?
  • Do you think you have a problem with alcohol?

A “yes” answer to any of these questions means a person could be headed for a problem.

Why it matters

Over time, heavy drinking or binge drinking can have serious health consequences, such as:

  • Dementia.
  • Stroke.
  • High blood pressure and heart disease.
  • Depression and anxiety.
  • Increased risk for many kinds of cancers.
  • Liver diseases.
  • Digestive problems.

How to get help

If you think you or someone you know might have a drinking problem, talk with your healthcare provider, who can help you get counseling, join a support group or point you or others toward other treatment.

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