Early signs of alcoholism quiz. 7 Subtle Signs You’re Drinking Too Much - ABC News

Actors Shia LaBeouf and Robin Williams both recently announced that they’re seeking treatment for alcoholism: LaBeouf as an outpatient following an outburst in a New York City theater and Williams in a rehab facility. A representative for Williams, 62, told People that the comedian is still sober—as he has been since a 2006 relapse—but wants to “focus on his continued commitment” to recovery. First signs of alcoholism.

Now, not everyone who drinks too much starts hitting strangers at a Broadway play like LaBeouf did. They could be having a more silent struggle like Williams. Regardless, alcohol problems are more common than you think. About 15 percent of people who drink go on to become alcohol dependent, says Carlton Erickson, PhD, director of the Addiction Science Research and Education Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

“Those who recognize the problem before they develop full-blown addiction have a greater chance they’ll be able to cut down and minimize the role alcohol plays in their life,” says John F. Kelly, PhD, director of the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

So how can you tell if you’re developing a problem? Not all the clues are the same for all people, but here are common signs you could be headed for trouble—and how to turn it around.

Subtle Signs You’re Drinking Too Much

If you always try to limit yourself to a certain number of drinks and fail every time, you could be struggling with alcohol.

“If you find yourself repeatedly going over your self-defined limit, that’s a common early sign you’re losing control over your drinking,” says Kelly, who is also president of the American Psychology Association’s Society of Addiction Psychology.

First signs of liver damage drinking

Figure out what triggers your desire to drink and try to avoid these people, places, and situations. This drinking analyzer card from the National Institutes of Health is a good place to start, the NIH also has a 4-week tracker to see how well you can stick to your limit. If you can’t avoid a trigger, keep a list of reasons not to drink nearby, as well as a list of trusted confidantes you can call.

Subtle Signs You’re Drinking Too Much

One of the first signs your drinking is spiraling out of control is when friends or acquaintances express surprise about how much you’re drinking or how “well” you “handle” your alcohol.

“People start to get feedback from [other] people long before they realize it themselves,” says Kelly. “That’s a sign.”

Compare how much you drink with the limits for “low-risk” drinking, which, for women, is up to 3 drinks on any single day and no more than 7 drinks per week. The National Institutes of Health says that only about 2 in 100 people who drink within these limits have alcohol problems.

But remember that “low risk” still doesn’t mean “no risk.” While alcoholism can derail your entire life, even smaller amounts of alcohol can raise the risk for pancreatic, liver, esophageal, and even breast cancer.

First sign of alcoholism denial

Subtle Signs You’re Drinking Too Much

Your alcohol use could be problematic when your first thought in the morning is of how much you drank the night before.

“You wake up concerned that you’ve broken your self-defined limit. You wake up thinking, ‘I didn’t stick to it’,” says Kelly. “The worry comes from the innermost part of yourself. That’s a sign of beginning of alcohol dependence.”

Confide in someone you trust. And get a reality check and personalized feedback on your drinking patterns with the Drinker’s Checkup, an online screening tool which also provides strategies on how to moderate your drinking.

Subtle Signs You’re Drinking Too Much

Even a sometimes-drinker gets the occasional hangover but if it starts to happen more and more often, you could be headed for trouble.

“If you’re waking up three to four times a week with a hangover, that’s indicative,” says Kelly. And if you can’t remember what happened when you were drinking or you have only a hazy recollection, that’s a not-so-subtle clue that your drinking is out of control.

First signs of drinking problem

Monitoring your intake can help you stop before you go too far. Track how much you drink with the note function on your phone or an app—try IntelliDrink ($1.99, itunes.com) or AlcoDroid Alcohol Tracker (free, play.google.com). Just record the drink before you actually imbibe, which can help you slow down if necessary. You should include both the number of drinks and the size of each drink.

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