Experts have compiled the top signs you need to cut back on your drinking, as they could indicate you’re a functioning alcoholic – including memory loss and denial
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Christmas is right around the corner, and for many of us that means indulging in our favourite tipples and being a little more generous with the booze than normal.
But if you’re able to drink your family members under the table with ease this Christmas then you might want to stop and think about your actions, as it might mean you’re a functioning alcoholic, The Sun reports.
Experts define a functioning alcoholic as someone who is able to keep up with their day-to-day life but is suffering from alcoholism under the surface.
CEO of Delamere health and addiction specialist Martin Preston said it can be hard to spot a functioning alcoholic because of their ability to lead normal lives – but there are warning signs you can look out for.
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A regular supply of alcohol
Unsurprisingly, those of us who depend on alcohol tend to have a fully stocked supply of booze at all times.
Martin says functioning alcoholics often hide alcohol in unusual places such as their garage, the office, or their car.
Drinking at odd times
Christmas often signals the only time of year when it’s acceptable to drink buck’s fizz at 7am – so if you find yourself breaking out the booze in the morning more regularly, you might want to try cutting back.
Experts also say drinking between work times or appointments, or drinking just enough to keep their alcohol levels topped up is a key sign that someone is struggling with their booze.
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Change in behaviour
According to Martin, functioning alcoholics can become irritable, anxious, and restless if they are unable to drink.
People may also suffer from an inability to sleep and may become erratic, spontaneous, or angry while drunk.
Many of us will have had a night on the town where we’ve struggled to recall key details the next morning – but if that’s a regular occurrence for you, you might be drinking too much too often.
Martin says one of the key signs of a functioning alcoholic is having difficulty recalling events that took place while heavily intoxicated or experiencing an alcoholic blackout.
The buzz we get from alcohol can make us feel more carefree than usual, but functioning alcoholics are likely to take more risks while drunk – as they feel they could accomplish anything.
Experts list one example as driving to work while still over the limit from the night before, which could be incredibly dangerous.
Being in denial
Admitting you may have a problem is a difficult step for many but becoming defensive or flippant when challenged over-drinking could be a sign of alcoholism.
Martin says that when someone justifies drinking as a way of unwinding after work, a busy day with the kids or as a reward on a regular basis, then it could be cause for concern.
Other issues stemming from drink
One of Martin’s last signs that you’re drinking too much is if your alcohol intake causes other issues at home or at work.
He says a key sign of a functioning alcoholic is if alcohol has become a problem at home, especially if it means drinking excessively at home or disappearing to a pub straight after work.
What to do next
If you’re worried about your or someone else’s drinking habits, Martin says the best course of action is to get help as soon as possible.
He said: “With few apparent negative consequences, a functioning alcoholic is unlikely to want to change whilst they feel they still have time.
“Alcohol addiction is at the chronic end of the spectrum of alcohol use disorders for which there is no cure.
“It can, however, be successfully treated and the sooner treatment is undertaken the better for the individual concerned and their loved ones.”
According to the NHS, a good first step is to contact your GP to discuss the services and treatments available to you after assessing your drinking habits.
Treatment often involves counselling and medicine that helps you to slowly cut down on drinking.
You can also get in touch with charities and resources centres including visiting the Alcoholics Anonymous website, or calling Drinkline on 0300 123 1110.
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