If you’re completely honest, you probably have a perception of what an alcoholic looks like and where they come from. The problem is that most of us think that addiction only happens to other people. Alcoholism and drug addiction aren’t just afflictions that affect people who have stumbled on hard times and those who don’t have families or jobs. In fact, more and more people who have seemingly idyllic lives are suffering from addiction. If you drink on a regular basis, you may assume that there’s nothing wrong and that you’d never fall into the trap of becoming dependent on alcohol, but you could be at risk of alcoholism.
How much do you drink?
In an average week, how much do you drink? Don’t give an answer you’d give on a health survey or a response you’d give your dentist or doctor. Be totally honest. You don’t have to say it out loud, but don’t manipulate the numbers. The maximum total weekly intake for adults in the UK should not exceed 14 units, according to the latest guidelines. Fourteen doesn’t sound like a lot over the course of seven days, and it isn’t when you consider that a single unit equates to half a pint of lager or a half a glass of wine. Most of us have weeks when we drink a bit more than usual. Perhaps you’re going to a wedding or a party, or you’re meeting up with friends for a long-overdue reunion. Binge drinking is harmful, but if you do it once or twice a year, it’s not going to cause long-term damage. The worry comes when you drink too much every week.
Do you need to cut down?
If you do a quick calculation and you’re worried that you drink too much, it’s best to try and cut down as soon as possible. There are some very easy ways of reducing the amount of alcohol you consume, especially if you didn’t even realise that your intake was too high. Try swapping large glasses for smaller versions, and alternating alcoholic and soft drinks. Avoid shots, and go for long drinks instead, as they last longer. Switch up your routine, and try social activities that don’t involve drinking.
What to do if you’re struggling
If you’re finding it tough to give up or cut down on alcohol, it’s wise to speak to a doctor. They can give you tips about reducing your intake, and support if you’re struggling. If you find yourself thinking about alcohol all the time, or your daily routine revolves around having a drink, this may be a sign that you’ve developed a dependence. If you don’t want to go to a clinic, you can arrange an online appointment through Babylon Health. This way, you can chat with a doctor online, which may help you to feel more comfortable and to be more honest and open. Some people are anxious about approaching doctors with issues like alcoholism, but remember that a doctor is there to help and guide you, rather than to judge.
Many of us think that we’ll never be affected by addiction. The sad reality is that alcoholism can affect anyone. If you’re worried about drinking, try and be honest about your situation, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.