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How to Tell if Your Drinking Has Become a Problem

In the United States, much of our culture centers around drinking. Happy hours, work parties, holiday celebrations and football games are just a few of the many events we partake in that often are marked by heavy drinking. It’s easy to be swayed by studies about alcohol that proclaim to have health or social benefits like “a glass of red wine a day could protect the heart,” or “moderate alcohol consumption increases attractiveness,” but the truth is, if drinking is having a negative impact on your life, it’s time to make a change.

It’s not always easy to tell if you have a drinking problem, so we’re breaking it down for you below. The following are six important warning signs that you may have a problem with alcohol:

  1. You frequently drink more than you planned to: You tell yourself you’re only going to have one drink but before you know it you’re on your 5th or 6th.
  2. You drink to get drunk: You can’t down your first, second, third….drink fast enough. You’re not socially drinking or having a drink because you like the taste. You’re trying to fast track it to a state of oblivion.
  3. Your drinking causes issues in your personal and/or professional life: Whether you’re calling out sick due to hangovers or your drinking is causing conflicts at home, your drinking is having a ripple effect on your life and it’s not looking good.
  4. You use drinking as a way to solve your problems: Is your solution to a stressful day a drink? Are you drinking to combat loneliness, grief, or pain? Many individuals with an alcohol use disorder are also suffering from depression. Getting treatment can help you to develop healthier coping strategies.
  5. You find yourself lying about your drinking: If you’re trying to cover up your drinking habits or behaviors, you’ve already subconsciously admitted to yourself that you know there’s a problem. Now it’s time to take action to make a change.
  6. You blackout: Blacking out is the result of excessive alcohol consumption and it can result in a gap in memory. Blackouts often increase your chances of making bad decisions and can be an indicator of alcoholism.

If you think you or your loved one may have a problem with alcohol, help is available. Free, anonymous alcohol screenings are available 24/7 at

Alcohol Poisoning Deaths. (2015, January 6). Retrieved March 30, 2015, from
Top 10: Ways To Tell You Have A Drinking Problem. (n.d.). Retrieved March 30, 2015, from