Alcohol is one of those funny drugs (well, not so funny). It is legal, yet it is also one of the most harmful. Unfortunately a large number of the population assume that because it’s legal it’s safe.
It’s also readily available, in supermarkets, petrol stations and on TV. It’s pretty hard to turn a corner without seeing a reference to alcohol.
Drink-related hospital admissions have doubled in the past decade, and a scarily large number of those with alcohol problems don’t realise there’s an issue until their life takes a turn for the worse. Here are some of the warning signs to look out for:
Drinking should be a social event, a special occasion. It should be something we do in moderation, like a takeaway. So if you find yourself regularly coming home after a hard day and the first thing you do is reach for the bottle opener. Think again!! This is a habit. Take a week off. If you find yourself unable to go even one day without drinking then please seek medical help.
Is your habit increasing? Have you noticed that you need to drink more to get the same effect? Or maybe you don’t even feel the effects anymore? It’s not necessarily something to be proud of being able to drink more than other people in your social group. Drinking regularly can cause this. If this is you then cut back slowly and stop for a while.
Some of us have occasional nights when things got a bit hazy due to a binge drinking session, but, if it’s a regular occurrence, then it is definitely time to take a closer look at your drinking habits.
Problems in the bedroom aren’t always caused by alcohol, but those with drinking problems are unlikely to be fully functioning Casanovas (even if you think you are!) For men and women it can result in reduced fertility and impotence in men.
If you are trying to conceive then its best that you both abstain from alcohol for a while. It’s particularly important that women do not drink whilst pregnant.
If you are unable to sleep properly when you have had a drink this could be due to your alcohol use. This is your body working hard to process the alcohol in your system. Most people think that alcohol aids sleep, well it does initially as it relaxes you but later it alters the quality of your sleep as you body works hard to process the alcohol.
Have you fallen out with your partner, friends or relatives as a result of your drinking, but this hasn’t made you change your ways? Is it interfering with your work? Do you take days off because of your alcohol use? Have you or anyone else been injured as a result of your drinking or do you now suffer from an alcohol related illness? If the answer is yes to any of these then you definitely need to seek professional help.
Are your cans of lager in the secret cupboard rather than in a fridge? If you feel the need to keep your alcohol stash hidden from your nearest and dearest, think about why this is the case. If your drinking habits are normal, why are you concerned that others will see what you plan to drink.
This can be low level over acidity and you may be using a lot of anti-acids, you may have even been to your doctor as it bothers you so much. Alcohol is a highly toxic substance; even a little makes your stomach produce more acid than usual, this can in turn cause gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining). This triggers tummy pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and, in heavy drinkers, even bleeding.
Is alcohol ageing YOU? Deep wrinkles, red skin and chubby cheeks sound familiar? As well as causing bloating and dark circles under your eyes, alcohol dries out skin and can lead to wrinkles and premature ageing. Alcohol is not a good look.
Have you tried to take some time off from drinking a number of times but failed?
We all have those “I could really do with a drink” moments, but if you struggle to go for a day without thinking about your next drink, warning lights should certainly be flashing. Not wanting to be an advocate of drinking non-alcoholic sugary drinks but they can really help when you first stop drinking or take a break.
All of us will experience difficult periods in our lives, some more than others. If your life is difficult and you drink regularly you are probably using alcohol to cope and mask difficulties. If you struggle to reduce your drinking because life is just too difficult make sure you get some professional help with whatever the problems are.
What Next ? If any of the above sounds familiar and you want to make changes.
One of the best things you can do for yourself, is learn about alcohol so you can live a happier healthier life!
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