Do you drink often and worry that you may be dependent on alcohol? You’re not the only one - and here at LiveWell Dorset, we’re here to help. Alcoholism is a serious drinking problem that involves a person craving and having an uncontrollable urge to drink alcohol often and feeling unable to function properly without it. Those who suffer from alcoholism will typically prioritise alcohol over their other responsibilities and are referred to as ‘alcoholics’. To help you understand if you suffer from alcoholism (or if someone you know does), we’ve put together some of the most common signs to look for:
If you can relate to these feelings, it may be that you’ve developed alcoholism and it’s a good idea to reach out to a healthcare professional to help you manage your symptoms and learn effective ways to deal with your alcohol cravings.
If these are signs you’ve noticed in someone else, try to be honest with them about their drinking pattern and encourage them to visit their doctor. Avoid becoming angry and be as supportive as you can. You can read our blog on how to help an alcoholic for more advice.
If you suffer from alcoholism, taking the first few steps to manage your drinking habits will be challenging, but there is plenty of help out there. LiveWell Dorset can provide coaching and support that could prevent drinking habits from getting out of control, as well as being able to put you in contact with specialist services to provide the help you need, if worried you might be an alcoholic:
Admitting that you’re struggling with your relationship with alcohol and understanding how it is affecting you is the first step. You can think about how alcohol is affecting your relationships with others, your health, free time and your work life; if you’re dependent on alcohol, you’ll probably find that a number of aspects of your life have changed to cater for your drinking habits. The good news is that you can take active steps to take control of your alcoholism.
When you’re reliant on alcohol in your day-to-day life, it can be incredibly difficult to face your addiction on your own. You can reach out to friends and family members to have an open and honest conversation about your struggles and you can also get help from your GP or professional health advisors who are experienced in helping alcoholics get back on track. Whilst you may initially feel nervous to have these conversations or are worried to admit you may have a drinking problem, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in these feelings and having a support network around you will make your journey to drinking less much easier.
Once you’ve reached out to a medical professional for support, they will guide you as you detox (stop consuming alcohol) but you may also be referred to other types of treatment such as:
Reasons why you may want to stop drinking include:
The list could go on! But you need to note down the reasons which are most important to you so that you can remind yourself why you’re drinking less.
Aim to remove any alcoholic beverages from your home as well as any potential triggers which could lead to you craving more alcohol. If you live with others, make sure you let them know that you’re going to be abstaining from drinking alcohol so that they can keep drinks out of sight.
Try to keep a diary and record your thoughts, feelings and progress as you abstain from drinking alcohol. This will give you time to reflect on how you’ve been coping and you’ll be able to refer back to earlier comments to see how you’ve progressed which can really help to keep you on track.
You may be wondering ‘can an alcoholic just stop drinking?’ but it’s important to understand that those who are dependent on alcohol will likely experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms which can be difficult to manage. When an alcoholic drinks much less than they’re used to they may experience side effects such as anxiety, body shakes, insomnia and nausea. If an alcoholic was to go completely cold turkey, this adjustment period would prove to be more challenging and in some cases, lead to health complications. This is because the brain has become dependent on the person’s drinking pattern and will initially struggle to adjust to the chemical imbalance. It is therefore recommended that those looking to combat their alcoholism do so with the help of a healthcare professional.
Please do seek medical advice if you experience any withdrawal symptoms as stopping drinking suddenly can be very dangerous without the necessary support.
If you live in Dorset and you’re looking for help to drink less, we can help. If you believe that you or someone you know is beginning to struggle with alcohol, please do get in touch to find out more on how our health advisors and coaches can offer their support or register with us today.
We’ve already helped many people in Dorset with their drinking habits - register for our services here.