Does “just one drink” always turn into a night of endless drinks for your buddy?
Does every event or get together you go to end up with them in a sloppy mess? Or maybe they don’t go out at all and are drinking by themselves constantly?
Whatever the circumstances might be, if you ever had the thought, “my friend drinks too” and if you’re here reading this, it’s not a great sign. Now, this article isn’t meant to diagnose alcoholism or an alcohol use disorder but the fact is, if you’re worried, you likely have a reason to be.
It’s a noble thing and a sign of a great friend to be concerned so kudos to you already for going the extra mile for your friend.
Alcohol use disorder affects about 15 million people in the United States and only about 8% receive treatment according to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Therefore, your concern could very well save your friend’s life.
What Are the Warning Signs That My Friend Drinks Too Much?
From a medical perspective, a person needs to meet particular criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to be properly diagnosed as having alcohol use disorder. It’s a pretty lengthy list of questions but they’re all very straightforward.
Note, you shouldn’t, under really any circumstance, just start interrogating a friend that you suspect drinks too much. That type of accusatory approach will bring nothing but defensiveness and resentment. Moreover, it’ll serve to create a rift and distrust between you and your friend.
Rather, you should be on the lookout for warning signs and these pull from/relate to the aforementioned DSM-5 manual:
- They spend an inordinate amount of drinking and recovering from drinking (aka hangovers)
- Inability to cut back, even when they try to
- Falling behind and failing to keep up with responsibilities at home, school or at the office
- Strained or lost friendships because of drinking
- Continually increased tolerance and needing more and more to reach the same level of drunkenness
- Drinking until blacking out unintentionally
- Foregoing and just plain giving up on activities they used to enjoy because of alcohol
- Financial and legal issues related to drinking
- Unable to relax, feel like “themselves” or generally confident without drinks
It’s a pretty long list and to be honest, a lot of their behavior will start to become more and more noticeable the longer their affair with alcohol continues. It’s a snowball effect in a sense.
How Do I Get My Friend Help?
The warning signs are piling up and the question becomes what to do if your friend is becoming an alcoholic.
As noted earlier, don’t go straight in confrontationally, that’s bound to have negative results. There are vital things you can do though to lead them towards help and the first thing on the list is learning about addiction yourself. You’ve already started that by reading this and understanding the signs of alcohol abuse.
The next thing is to learn about the various treatment options available depending on the scope of the problem.
At a certain point though you will have to have that conversation and the preparation you do is key. Talk to a rehab facility, know what detox and recovery entail in advance. In as delicate a way as possible you want to explain your worries and that it’s affecting not only the relationships they have with you and others but that it’s holding them back. See if there’s anything you can do to help.
Reach Out to Lake Arrowhead Recovery Network Today
At Lake Arrowhead Recovery Network, we’ve seen it all before and have helped countless souls get on the path to recovery. If you’re not sure what to do next, please, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and just ask. That’s what we’re here for.