It’s estimated that 17 million people in America have a diagnosed alcohol use disorder. However, not everyone who drinks alcohol has an alcohol use disorder, and not everyone who has an alcohol use disorder is diagnosed.
So, how do you determine if you need to stop drinking?
‘Do I Need to Stop Drinking’ Questions
Well, if you are questioning whether your drinking has become a problem, then it is likely that your relationship with alcohol is causing some issues. Start by asking yourself some basic questions:
- Are you happy with your life? Does your life look the way you want it to? Do you end each day feeling good about how you felt and behaved? Are you looking forward to tomorrow?
- When you drink, do you regret it? Do you kick yourself the next day because you “didn’t mean to drink”? Do you ever think, “I need to stop drinking”? Are there people you avoid because you were drunk with them and now you’re embarrassed by your behavior?
- Does drinking ever get you into trouble? Have you ever experienced a legal issue as the result of drinking? Is there someone you have a relationship with who is bothered by your drinking? Have you lost a relationship due to drinking? Do you drink even when you can’t afford it?
- Have you drunk more than you intended to on a regular basis? Do you feel physically ill or uncomfortable after drinking? Are you regularly or frequently hungover? Do you wonder how to know when to stop drinking?
- Do you black out? Have you ever awakened in the morning and realized that you’re missing a block of time? Have you ever found out that you did something while drinking that you wouldn’t normally do?
- Do you often feel anxious or stressed? As you move through each day, do you have bouts of anxiety or do you generally feel peaceful and calm? Do you drink to alleviate anxiety or stress?
Alcohol’s Sneak Attack
The onset of alcohol use disorder (AUD) can sneak up on you. Alcohol appears to lessen anxiety because the initial experience following the first drink is relaxation. That sense of relaxation is the result of a brain disruption. Alcohol disrupts the balance of chemicals and various processes in the brain.
Because the body builds up a tolerance to alcohol, over time, more alcohol is needed to achieve the desired result. As the alcohol leaves the body, the anxiety returns and intensifies due to alcohol withdrawal. Before the person realizes what’s happening, the alcohol-anxiety cycle has kicked in and dependency is beginning to develop.
In the beginning, it doesn’t necessarily feel like an addiction, and many people are able to deny that they are slowly developing a dependency. However, the alcohol-anxiety cycle is one of the biggest signs that someone is on the road to alcoholism.
Breaking the Alcohol-Anxiety Cycle
When alcohol is consumed, the alcohol-anxiety cycle will get worse. If reading about the cycle resonates with you – even in its minor form – that’s a sign that you should quit drinking. The cycle never fixes itself without removing alcohol from the equation.
What If I’m Still Not Sure?
At this point, if you’re still thinking about it, something isn’t feeling right to you in your life. Maybe you’re not happy or you’re experiencing bouts of sadness or depression. Or, you just feel like there’s something “off” and you need a change. Cutting out alcohol is a change you can make to see if it makes a difference.
Alcohol doesn’t just cause new problems; it can exacerbate existing problems. Maybe what you’re experiencing has nothing to do with alcohol. The alcohol could still be making the problems worse. It’s worth removing alcohol from the equation to see if the challenges you’re experiencing are as dire without it.
If the idea of cutting out alcohol, even temporarily, is difficult for you, or if you find that you simply cannot stop drinking, that’s a definite sign that alcohol is a problem in your life and you need assistance to quit.
What If I Really Do Need Help for My Drinking?
The idea of needing help to quit drinking can be scary. Many people struggle for years to get help. The disorder wreaks havoc on their life before they take that first step. Reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness, but, rather, a sign of strength.
It’s very common to have trouble quitting, and Harmony Place offers all levels of treatment to help you quit. We have programs to simply help you learn how to live life and be happy without alcohol. We offer a truly caring hand to guide you on your journey to recovery.