In British Columbia, almost twenty percent of adults report regular, heavy alcohol-consumption. This begs the question, where is the line between enjoyment and addiction? Here are five signs that might mean that you (or someone you love) could be addicted to alcohol:

  1. Secrecy
    Choosing to drink alone, or in secrecy, is often a sign of alcoholism. Often this is coupled with feeling guilt or shame about drinking.
  2. Neglecting Responsibilities
    Performing poorly at work, failing classes, or skipping out on appointments and responsibilities are all signs of alcoholism – and can happen either due to hang overs, or due to the desire to drink being stronger than the desire to fulfill commitments.
  3. Using Alcohol to De-Stress
    A majority of alcohol addiction problems start with using alcohol to relax and self-soothe. Reaching for the bottle after a rough day or stressful situation conditions the brain to crave it after every stressful event.
  4. Drinking at Inappropriate Times
    Knowing that they will need to be in a potentially dangerous situation, such as driving a car or operating a boat, yet still choosing to drink is often a sign of addiction to alcohol. This can be attributed to either a lack of control, or a lack of care in relation to the level of care for having a drink.
  5. Inability to Quit
    At times, the drinker may express a desire to quit or may try to quit, but will not be able to follow through. This also couples with the inability to control how much or when the person drinks.

These signs, along with others, could be indications of an addiction to alcohol, and may indicate an appropriate time to contact an alcohol counsellor.  Anyone who wants to begin the process of breaking the addiction should prepare themselves for the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome, which may include anxiety, nausea, and headache, as well potential for irritability or mood swings.