When does “having a few drinks” or being a "social drinker" become a problem?
Many people like to unwind with a drink now and then, or have a drink socially when out with friends or family.
Unfortunately, many people grow up in families where they are not taught how to self-regulate their emotions. Instead, they reach for a pick me up, whether that’s food, alcohol, shopping, sex or drugs.
This is a normal human response; we don’t want to suffer, we want to feel better right away. But if your only coping mechanism for a bad day or a stressful situation is alcohol, it may be time to seek support, to learn some other coping strategies.
How do you know whether your drinking might be becoming a problem?
Problematic drinking includes:
Having 3 to 4 drinks at once
Drinking many times in one week
Not remembering what happened when you were drinking (“blackouts”)
Signs that your drinking is becoming a problem:
You often end up drinking more than you intended to
You’ve tried to cut down on drinking but you’re not able to
You spend less time on activities you used to enjoy, and instead, you spend that time drinking
The urge to drink reoccupies your mind; you can’t seem to think about anything else
Your drinking has led to behaviours that have put yourself or others at risk such as drunk driving or unprotected sex
Higher tolerance: you need to drink more than you used to, to get the same effect
Once the alcohol wears off you experience withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, sweating, insomnia, nausea
Reach out for support. Your therapist will provide a judgement-free space where you can explore triggers for drinking and build a plan to prevent future episodes, including emotional regulation strategies and building a support system and self care plan.
At Anchoridge we have several clinicians who specialize in addictions, but there are also many community resources as well:
Drug and Alcohol Helpline: 1-800-565-8603.
Breaking Free: online program for substance abuse
Oakville/Halton Region: Adapt Halton: www.haltonadapt.org
Mississauga/Halton Region: Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM)
Mental Health - Integrated Addiction Medicine Clinic
Hope Place Centres: P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S Family Program: provides individual and family and group counselling for people affected by another person's alcohol and/or drug use
Hope Place Centres: Women's Residential Addictions Treatment
Take the first step by booking your intake call today.