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Alcohol Awareness Month

eating disordersAn occasional glass of wine with dinner or a beer while watching the game is an enjoyable experience. But as with most things in life, too much of a good thing is possible. But where is that line? How does one know how much is too much? Below are a few signs that your alcohol use is heading in an unhealthy direction and it is time to seek professional help:

  • You use alcohol as a stress reliever. When you find yourself reaching more and more often for a drink to help manage your stress, it’s time to reevaluate your drinking habits. Looking for outlets to manage stress such as exercise or therapy are just a couple ways of removing the dependence on alcohol and building healthier coping mechanisms in your life.
  • You drink and drive. According to NCADD, 32% of all accidents in the US involve an intoxicated driver or pedestrian. When you reach the point of drinking and driving, you have lost your ability to control your decision making functions and allowed the alcohol to take over. When you do find yourself taking the risk of getting behind the wheel, seek professional help immediately. And always designate a driver before drinking or call a cab to take you home.
  • You are drinking while underage. Underage age drinking is far too common and just because everyone you know is doing it, doesn’t make it ok. This is often a sign of something far more serious than just a harmless drink of alcohol. Avoid parties and clubs where alcohol is served and don’t ask friends to purchase it for you. If you are too young to purchase it, you’re too young to drink it. If you find yourself needing alcohol to cope with life as a teen, ask for help before it destroys your future.
  • One is never enough.  If you find it becoming more difficult to stop after just one drink or it takes more and more alcohol to feel the effects, it’s time to seek help. Alcohol in moderation is not a bad thing! But when you require a minimum to function socially, it is time to talk to a therapist to get help dealing with much deeper issues. Don’t allow alcohol to simply mask what is really going on in your life.
  • Drinking more than you intend.  If you are drinking more than you intended, going over your own limit, it’s a problem. Give some thought to your pattern of drinking and how you can manage it safely.
  • Alcohol is affecting your life.  If your family has commented on how many drinks you have or you’re repeatedly missing work because of hangovers, there is a problem. Once alcohol affects your relationships, your job or your health, it’s become unhealthy and dangerous. If not treated, alcoholism will destroy your life. Get help before it is too late.

Alcohol misuse and abuse is a serious matter and professional assistance will help with recovery. If you are experiencing any of this signs or feel like your alcohol use may be getting out of control, please visit http://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/SUMMIT for a free, confidential screening.

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