When Use Turns Into Abuse: Knowing When to Seek Help For Your Drinking

Social Drinking Can Quickly Turn Into Alcohol Abuse

Most of us can admit that once we are of legal drinking age, many social gatherings and get together’s incorporate some degree of alcohol consumption. While many can drink sociably and know their boundaries and limitations when it comes to the quantity of alcohol they consume, others simply do not have this capacity. For those who do not know when to stop drinking, they are at high risk for alcohol abuse.

Detecting the warning signs of alcohol abuse can help determine when help is needed. Sometimes, it can be challenging to truly know if an individual is struggling with alcohol abuse because they may be isolated drinkers, drinking solo when no one is around to witness it. If you are a friend or family member of someone who you suspect may have a drinking problem or alcohol use disorder (AUD), consider these warning signs next time you are out having a drink with them.

  • Drinking a lot of alcohol in a short time frame
  • Lapses in memory and repeating something that was just said
  • Choosing to drink over adhering to their personal responsibilities
  • They get angry when plans revolving drinking are changed or canceled

If any of these warning signs are evident when you are hanging around someone who you think may have an alcohol use disorder, it may be time for them to seek help.

Recognizing When Alcoholism is Present

There are a variety of different helpful tools available that can assist in determining whether you or someone you know is on the dangerous path toward alcoholism. A screening tool that is commonly used to distinguish alcoholism or alcohol use disorder is a questionnaire-style process called ‘CAGE’ which is an acronym for ‘Cut Down, Annoyed, Guilty, and Eye Opener’.

If you have two or more affirmative responses to the questions being asked, you may have an alcohol abuse problem.

The four CAGE questions are:

  1. Have you ever thought that you should cut back on the amount you drink?
  2. Have people commented on how much you drink to the point of annoyance?
  3. Have you had feelings of guilt or shame about your drinking?
  4. Have you had a drink as soon as you woke up in the morning to calm your nerves or to rid your hangover (‘eye-opener’)?

It is critical that you seek help for your drinking if you answered ‘yes’ to two or more of the above questions. Help is available for those who are struggling with alcohol abuse issues and the sooner you get help, the quicker you will be able to live a happier and more fulfilled life.

Health Dangers of Alcoholism

There are countless health repercussions of alcoholism on both a psychological and physical level. Not only does alcoholism take its toll on these two aspects of one’s health, but it also takes a massive toll on the sufferers professional and personal life.

Some health consequences of alcoholism are:

  • Colon cancer
  • Sorosis of the liver
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart failure
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Memory loss and brain damage
  • Throat cancer
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Stroke
  • Nerve damage

Alcoholism has the power to affect your professional life resulting in the loss of your job; a detrimental strike that will inevitably affect all aspects of your life. Alcoholism is a disease that is very difficult to struggle with when also trying to holding a steady job and focusing on your career. Alcoholism is all-encompassing and will eventually take hold on every single aspect of your life, leaving you jobless, isolated, and alone. This is the chronic and debilitating nature of addiction.

There are also numerous effects on one’s personal life such as negative effects on your marriage or relationship. Alcoholism is a controlling disease that will make you prioritize the addiction over anything else.




If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.