Alcohol Issue: No Off Switch When Drinking
Alcoholism is a complex disease. As with most substances, alcohol can impact each person differently making it difficult to determine if and when there’s a large issue at play. Having a drink or two with family and friends is a regular pastime enjoyed by most Americans. Toasting for celebrations, promotions, and relaxing in the evenings with a glass of wine, is not an uncommon occurrence. However, there are certain parameters that healthcare professionals have concluded and notated are “safe” regarding regular consumption of alcohol. According to the Mayo Clinic, a good rule of thumb is one drink a day for women and two drinks for men. What happens when you feel as though you have no off switch when drinking? Or more specifically, when does drinking excessively become a larger issue?
Drinking heavily can definitely increase the risk of adverse health consequences for most. Is that enough to deem it dangerous, though? Some can relate to the following statement: I don’t drink every day, but when I do I can stop. Below we’re examining that idea and weighing the risks of when and how drinking can pose a problem to everyday life.
Common Misconceptions about Alcohol
According to LifeWorks, a lot of misinformation surrounds alcohol. Among the most common are:
Myth #1 – I don’t drink every day, but when I do I can’t stop. Still, I’m not an alcoholic.
This is a common misconception. In order to accurately identify if drinking has become a problem for you, it’s important to look at specific qualifying symptoms or warning signs, including:
- Drinking alone or in secrecy
- Feeling hungover when not drinking
- Choosing to drink over other responsibilities and obligations
- Exhibiting signs of irritability and extreme mood swings when drinking or when prevented from drinking
- Experiencing temporary blackouts or short-term memory loss
- Drinking to mask underlying emotional or mental issues
Overall, the warning signs are not limited to the quantity of alcohol consumed. Rather, intent, behavior and consequences are better indicators of when alcohol can become an ongoing issue for the user. For specific questions on this, please feel free to call our treatment center 24/7 at (855) 281-5588. We’re happy to answer all questions, any time of day.
Myth #2 – Alcohol Affects Everyone the Same
Another common misconception is that alcohol has the same effect on everyone. The concentration of alcohol in your body depends not only on how much you drink but also on your body. First, your weight matters. Large people have more tissue y to absorb alcohol and have a lower blood alcohol concentration (AC). Smaller people tend to have a higher BAC from consuming the same amount of alcohol. Gender also plays a role. Women generally have less water in their bodies and are smaller than men, and those factors cause their BAC to rise more quickly after consuming the same amount of alcohol.
These facts are especially important if you’re finding it difficult to quit drinking once you’ve started. It’s important to know that the overall impact will affect everyone differently. Therefore, you should have some frame of reference for when is a favorable time to stop drinking, according to your BAC. If you’re having trouble cutting yourself off, it may be indicative of a larger, underlying issue. Being honest with yourself and your limits is not always an easy feat to accomplish without outside help.
Myth #3 – People Who Regularly Get Drink are Alcoholics
While this seems plausible, there are nuances in this statement. First, there are plenty of people who go through periods of heavy or binge drinking, but don’t ultimately face alcoholism long-term. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 36.9% of full-time college students aged 18 to 22 engaged in binge drinking in the past month. The fact that it is a common practice does not excuse the behavior.In fact, according to American Addiction Centers, approximately a quarter of people who binge drink are eventually diagnosed with alcohol use disorder.
There is no specified amount of alcohol consumption that is formally deemed as being necessary to be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder. Instead, the development of an alcohol use disorder is related to the effects of one’s alcohol use in their life, more specifically:
- How their alcohol use affects their ability to function normally
- Their ability to control their alcohol use
- The physical, legal, and community consequences of drinking behaviors
Having no off switch when drinking can suggest a lack of control. Excessive drinking to a point where you may be experiencing loss of body functionality may pose a risk to yourself and others. If you’re identifying with this , it may be helpful to speak with a qualified alcohol abuse therapist. Give us a call directly 24/7 at 855-281-5588.
Problems Related to Alcohol
There’s no doubt that alcohol can have damaging effects on your body. Healthline describes such conditions as damage to your heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, stomach, bones, muscles, and skin. Alcoholism has been linked to Type 2 diabetes, cirrhosis, infertility, osteoporosis, sexual dysfunction, shrinking brain, and malnutrition. Alcohol can also severely inhibit an individual’s ability to function in a number of ways including an increased risk for:
- Significant issues with poor performance at work, school, or other important areas of life
- Increased risk of harming self or others physically via car accidents, alcohol poisoning, becoming violent, etc.
- Displaying risky behaviors, involving one’s self in criminal activity, and being a victim of a crime
- Developing problems with memory, attention, problem-solving, etc.
How Alcohol Affects Relationships
Alcoholism impacts home life, friendships, work, socializing, and academic performance. It often results in financial difficulties, medical costs, and legal problems. The website Drinkaware explored how alcohol affects relationships in a recent article, which we’ve linked here.
Alcohol can make individuals more or irritable and quick to anger. It has a strong link to spousal and child abuse and neglect. Alcohol abuse can destroy a family, impair your enjoyment of life’s pleasures, and result in financial difficulties.
How Do I Know I Need Help?
The Addiction Center offers these answers. You need help if:
- You think constantly about whether your drinking is a problem.
- You justify such behavior as blacking out, hangovers, forgetting where you left your car, or waking up having no idea how you got there as isolated events.
- You feel horrible the day after you drink. It may not be a hangover but you feel physically ill. You might also feel exhausted, anxious, or depressed.
- You’ve experienced negative consequences of alcohol such as DUI, losing your wallet, clothes, or your phone. You’ve gotten into fights or arguments over things you can’t even recall. Relations with friends, family, co-workers are strained, or you’ve lost your job.
- You can’t seem to find a balance. You’ve tried to quit drinking but continually fall back on drinking.
- You fantasize about life without alcohol. You miss the activities you looked forward to doing before drinking became a major part of your life.
- You spend a lot of your time thinking about drinking. You can’t wait for your first drink.
- Alcohol is seriously affecting your finances.
If you’re not sure whether you should ask for professional help, take the quiz linked below.
“I Don’t Drink Every Day, but When I Do I Can’t Stop” – AspenRidge Can Help!
Having no off switch when drinking may feel as though you’re losing control of your alcohol consumption. If you resonate with the statement—I don’t drink every day, but when I do I can’t stop—it’s important you can speak with someone about your concerns. Battling alcohol use disorder and alcoholism can be frightening. Our supportive services and trained staff members strive to eliminate the stigma around alcoholism and treatment. We continue to help clients achieve sobriety through a number of evidence-based programs within our dual diagnosis centers. For more information on our admissions process and to verify your insurance, please give us a call direct at 855-281-5588.
AspenRidge Recovery offers a 90-day PHP (partial hospitalization program) in Colorado with recovery residences for adults suffering from mental health, complex trauma, and substance use disorders. We take a phased approach to treatment, where our clients begin with a highly structured 30-hours of therapy a week program focused around mental health and trauma-based therapies and interventions. While a client is living in our houses, they will attend community meetings 5-6 days a week to give them access to a community of recovered persons. Along with that, they will participate in house meetings 3 times a week, go to the gym 3-4 times a week, and grocery shop once a week.
While the quality of treatment doesn’t differ between residential and our intensive outpatient program, there are significant differences in how the treatment is acquired. Rather than enter a facility and live there usually at least 28-days while treated, in IOP patients come to a facility around their schedule for a few hours a week. Our IOP in Colorado allows individuals seeking treatment for addiction, mental health, and trauma to remain engaged in their daily lives. For many individuals, daily commitments can’t be put on hold. Also, the support of friends, family, and the stability of work helps keep them in control, making treatment more effective. Early intervention through an intensive outpatient program Colorado improves not just work productivity but an individual’s quality of life.
AspenRidge offers an online program. In 12-week sessions, patients meet in virtual sessions three times each week online. This option has been well received and has proven effective for patients who find it hard to meet at our AspenRidge facilities. Our REACH counselors are trained to work with patients online in both individual and group support treatment sessions.
REACH Reset is a 6-week virtual recovery reboot that helps empower you to address your mental health and wellness and make healthier decisions about your substance use. This program is not a rehab, detox or AA. It’s designed to educate and empower you to make healthier decisions. Over the course of 6 weeks, you will work with experts to evaluate your relationship with drugs/alcohol and get the tools you need to feel better.
This transition program offers 6-to-12-week sessions. The goal is to help patients return to work and family while receiving the support of both group and individual counseling.
This alumni treatment option gives those who have completed alcohol rehab a chance to connect with others in the same period. Our knowledgeable and empathetic counselors offer once-weekly or twice-monthly therapy, support groups, social events, and encouragement to our former patients, assisting them in maintaining a sober, alcohol-free lifestyle.
At AspenRidge, no matter which treatment option you choose, our board-certified therapists use evidence-based strategies tailored to each patient’s needs. Treatment strategies may include individual counseling, group support meetings, behavior modification, and the twelve-step program. We also incorporate holistic care for clients that seek alcohol addiction treatment in Colorado.
Your decision to seek qualified, certified professional help is the first step toward conquering alcohol addiction. The encouraging news is that substance abuse is highly treatable.
If you are unsure about seeking alcohol recovery and rehab treatment, why not book a tour of our AspenRidge facilities? When you call our 24/7 line, a trained alcohol addiction counselor will meet with you and your family to discuss your needs and the most effective treatment option for you. Give us a member call at 855-281-5588.