You drink when you go out with friends, but you don’t consider yourself a binge drinker.
You set your limit at two drinks, but your friend occasionally talks you into two more — so what? It’s not like you drink every day. You abstain during the week so you can indulge on Fridays. Your drinking is under control.
When it comes to drinking, it can be difficult to determine if and when you’re overdoing it. The truth is, you don’t have to fit the standard definition of an alcoholic to have a drinking problem.
It’s no secret that overindulging can lead to serious issues physically, emotionally, socially and academically. Don’t wait until your drinking spirals out of control to recognize you have problem. Early action can help you avoid negative consequences.
Keep reading to learn about the not-so-obvious signs that you may be drinking too much.
Your activities have changed
You find yourself spending less time pursing the hobbies and activities you once loved and more time enjoying your favorite drink alone or with friends. Self-care habits like exercising regularly or attempting to eat healthy may be slipping. Likewise, your responsibilities at school or work are getting away with you. Skipping a class or calling in to work but you’ve indulged the night before is a clear sign you’re in the danger zone.
Physically and emotionally, things are “off”
Your hands are shaking, your skin is flushed and you’re starting not to feel well when you aren’t drinking. You may have developed constant headaches or nausea. If things are really bad, you may have developed chronic diarrhea, vomit blood or notice blood in your stool. Mentally, things aren’t much better. Perhaps you’ve noticed you feel more anxious, depressed or irritable lately, and you can’t seem to get a handle on those mood swings.
You’re feeling “the pull”
The moment you need that drink to fall asleep, relax, deal with stress, feel happy, fit in, or function, alarm bells should be ringing in your head. More times that not, you may be drinking longer than you meant to or feel like you can’t stop once you start. Maybe you’ve promised yourself or your friends and family that you would stop drinking, but you just can’t seem to follow through.
There are gaps in your memory
You may not have completely blacked out, but bits and pieces of your nights out drinking are foggy. You don’t remember taking that selfie that’s on your camera roll from last night. Your buddies reminded you of that hilarious thing you said at the party, but you honestly can’t remember the conversation.
Your behavior is turning risky
Drinking can lower your inhibitions, which can cause repercussions. You might find yourself driving under the influence, convinced you’ll be just fine. Perhaps you’ve had an accident or a DUI already. You may notice you’ve started arguing or fighting with friends or strangers, which doesn’t match your typical behavior.
If you’re reading this and concerned your drinking may be too much, know that you are not alone. Millions of people, including students your age, struggle with this same issue. The first step, although it may be difficult, is admitting your habit is spinning out of control.
Help is available. Counseling and Psychological Services offers alcohol and other drug resources for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Click here to learn more or call 402.472.5000 to schedule an appointment with one of our mental health professionals.