WE’RE all guilty of pouring indulging in the occasional cheeky rose after work – but when is your chosen tipple becoming dangerous?
Psychologist Tara Hurster, who specialises in alcohol, has revealed the signs that suggest you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.
You don’t have to be guzzling pints every night for your boozing to be considered a concern.
Here she reveals the signs that you could have a problem with alcohol, and we reveal how you can cut back…
YOU’RE “DRINKING WITHOUT THINKING”
Speaking to the Daily Mail Australia Tara says the number one warning sign you have a problem is if you are “unconsciously drinking” rather than enjoying each sip.
So if you’re cracking open a cold one without giving it a second thought, it could be time to step back.
YOU USE ANY EXCUSE
Tara says it could be a concern if you feel like you are being denied booze.
She tells DM Australia: “If we feel any feeling like 'that's not fair' or 'it's my birthday' or 'it's Friday' then there could be an underlying concern.”
YOU’RE IMPACTING OTHERS
Another cause for concern is if your boozing begins to impact those around you.
If your friends and family point out your drinking or it begins to cause problems in your relationships, the likelihood is you need to cut down.
YOU’RE UNABLE TO STICK TO DRINKING LIMITS
According to Tara more than ten drinks a week is considered worrying, and if you are consuming more than four a day you are teetering into alcoholism.
YOU USE ALCOHOL TO COPE
Many of us will enjoy a glass of wine when we want to relax, but Tara says that there is a fine line between that and using booze to cope with emotions.
She explains: Alcohol as a drug is classified as a depressant, meaning the body feels relaxed because of the release of pressure in the muscles, so there is a perception of relaxation
“But the reality is that anxiety is heightened by alcohol consumption because the body has been working hard to remove the toxin from the blood stream.”
So in the long run your favourite tipple could seriously impact your mental health rather than aid it.
HOW TO CUT BACK ON DRINKING
Many of us drink to relax. Some feel the pressure to drink to fit in to certain environments.
If you are trying to cut down, knowing what triggers you to reach for a drink can help you find healthier alternatives.
Instead of arranging to meet your friends down the pub, why not make a plan that doesn’t involve alcohol.
You could watch a movie at the cinema, go for a walk or meet up for a coffee instead.
KEEP A DRINKS DIARY
It’s easy to lose track of your drinking. A few glasses after work, on a night out – it soon adds up.
Keeping a record as you go can highlight how much you are really having.
PLAN YOUR WEEK
At the beginning of the week, write down when you are going to have a drink and how many you are going to limit yourself to.
Keep your plan somewhere you will see it to remind you to stay focussed.
CONCERNED? SEEK HELP
We often picture individuals with alcohol problems as dysfunctional.
The truth is, there are many functioning alcoholics who lead a relatively normal life.
If you struggle to control your drinking, it’s time to speak to your GP.
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