It can be hard to admit it but cravings, worried friends and missing out, can all point towards a problem.
Many Americans have a beer or two, a glass of wine or some spirits at the end of the day. It’s normal. But a recent report is raising some concern. It shows that many of us may be going too far with our habits and easing into problem drinking.
Is it true? CNN and other media outlets reported today that 1 in 8 Americans are now suffering from habits that constitute alcohol abuse.
The news is based on a study published in JAMA Psychiatry which showed alcohol use disorders rose by about 50% between 2002 and 2013 in the U.S. The groups that changed their habits the most were women, minorities and seniors, and it can leave many feeling worried.
But here’s the deal. It’s actually hard to know what’s really going on, throughout the country, in my opinion. At the end of CNN’s report, Sam Zakhari, who’s the senior vice president of science with the Distilled Spirits Council, pointed out that the reverse has also been found, in studies.
The federal government’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted in 2015 found there’s actually a decline in alcohol disorders right now, in the U.S.
So, is someone lying? Not likely. Each study should probably be taken with a grain of salt, though. JAMA’s surveyed the habits of 40,000 people and the federal government’s looked at those of 70,000 individuals.
Since the population of the U.S is well over 300 million, the outcome of any particular study could hinge quite a bit on where the researchers turn to find their data. So, the verdict could still be out.
If drinking alcohol IS becoming a larger part of your life though, it’s true that you may want to be on the lookout for the signs of a developing problem. You want to stay healthy.
To see if you need some distance or to seek help, check out these 6 tell tale signs of alcohol addiction, as detailed by the Mayo Clinic:
1) Your Friends and Family Say They’re Worried
If you’re abusing alcohol, it could be hard to admit it. Society glamorizes drinking and you could feel ashamed to admit you’re not in control.
If your family and friends start to express their worries to you about your drinking, you could have a problem. Talk to your doctor about it, and seek additional opinions if it’s hard to tell what’s going on.
2) You Want to Drink Less but Can’t
If you often feel that you’d like to drink less than you do, but you have a hard time resisting the urge in the moment, your drinking could be problematic.
Some of us do it with potato chips and others can’t resist another beer.
3) You Spend A Lot of Time Getting Alcohol, Drinking and Recovering
It’s normal to have a big night out sometimes. If partying or drinking heavily on your own is becoming the norm though, watch out. Review how many times you’ve had to put the day on hold in the last month in order to recover from drinking, and you can get a picture of your habits.
4) You Miss Out on Obligations and Fun
Are you out with friends having fun and working hard at the office and at home? If you find yourself canceling out on obligations as well as good times, it could be time to reflect on your reasons for ducking out.
5) You Have Cravings
Craving alcohol is one of the most obvious signs of addiction. If this is happening to you, seek help by talking with a family member or a friend, and visit your doctor.
6) You Experience Withdrawal Symptoms
In addition to cravings, experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking is also a sign of being physically addicted to alcohol. These symptoms can include sweating, a rapid heart rate, problems sleeping, tremors, nausea, vomiting, having hallucinations, and feeling restless or anxious.
Seek help from your doctor and other support networks, so you don’t have to go through it alone.
If you’re looking for professional help to deal with alcohol addiction or you know someone who is, check out these online resources.
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