Learn to recognize the signs of alcohol abuse

Alcohol abuse is a factor in many of the most serious social problems in contemporary American life, including poverty, unemployment, domestic violence, divorce, sexual abuse, suicide, murder and automobile fatalities.

One of the symptoms of alcohol abuse is denial, which makes initiation of treatment problematic. But if one knows what to look for, someone might recognize in themselves, or a loved one, a problem or a tragedy in the making.

Doctors and substance abuse specialists say these are the questions you should ask yourself if you suspect that you or a loved one might have an alcohol problem:

• Are you uneasy about your drinking behavior? Does drinking make you feel guilty or ashamed? Do you sometimes think you should quit?
• Has someone close to you spoken to you about your drinking behavior?
• Do you drink at most social occasions you attend, such as parties, dates or informal get-togethers?
• Do you sometimes think that you need to drink to have a good time?
• Do you feel like you have more courage to meet and talk to people when you have had a few drinks?
• Do you feel more yourself, more the person you would like to be, after you’ve had a few drinks?
• Have you ever taken a few drinks before going to class, to work or before dates or appointments to bolster your courage or to calm yourself?
• Do you keep a bottle in your apartment or car so it will always be handy if you need it?
• Do you do things when you drink that you wouldn’t do if you were sober?
• When things go wrong with work, school, in your home life or with your parents, do you drink to forget about it or to make yourself feel better?
• Do you sometimes forget things that happen while you were drinking?

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to read about
Signs of serious abuse or addiction and
Other behaviors signaling a problem