Counselor's Corner: Alcohol Addiction Warning Signs

Although this geared toward alcohol, there can be addictions to many other things, including but not limited to: drugs, sex, porn, gambling, and video games. This is a guide to help recognize when something is overpowering our lives. Many times, addictions run in families and often, people are preconditioned to suffering from addiction. You may not be aware that you are susceptible.

Warning Signs of Addiction

  • Drinking is part of daily functioning

  • Causing problems in any area of person's life and continues to use despite the problems

  • Uses alcohol in inappropriate ways

  • Changes in tolerance (increases then decreases)

  • Behavior no longer matches person's value system

  • Decisions made as to not interfere with the drinking

As alcohol use increases toward the frequent heavy use range of the continuum, problems managing one's life become unavoidable--alcohol becomes more important than our responsibilities, our activities, our friends (unless they're "drinking buddies"), and our families. Problems toward the left side of the continuum are much less frequent and much more manageable.

Frequent heavy use is defined as five or more drinks at least three times a week and addiction may occur with very heavy use (8-10 or more, drinks per drinking occasion) only once or twice a week (the binge drinker). If you fear that you are creeping too far to the right on the continuum, or one of your friends is, seek help or talk to your friend about what you see happening.

Consulting with one of our counselors in either case is a good idea.Valuable information and support become available once you take that step. Denying that substance use is a problem, often indicates that the drinking may be a problem. To get one's life back under control requires using less (or not at all); if you can't do it on your own, seek help.

More Warning Signs to Watch For:

  • Drinking before class, or in the morning

  • Inability to stop drinking once started; getting drunk when the intention was to have a couple drinks.

  • Drinking to cope with or escape from pressures

  • Drinking and driving under the influence of alcohol

  • Injuries, accidents, aggressive behavior as the result of drinking

  • Frequently drinking to the point of intoxication

  • Developing a tolerance; requiring more and more alcohol to achieve the same effect

  • Blackouts or memory loss as a result of drinking

  • Drinking in order to feel comfortable with others socially

  • Drinking alone

  • Drinking to cope with anger, sadness, frustration or other unpleasant emotions

  • Legal involvement related to drinking: DWIs, charges of drunk in public, or drunk and disorderly

As always, if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at 575-562-2211, or stop by the Counseling Office in SAS 232.

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