One does not become addicted to alcohol just like that. It takes a long time. Alcohol addiction cannot be recognized by the amount consumed per day, either. Some addicts can go weeks without so much as a drop, only to start drinking heavily again afterwards.
There are some signals, however, that alcohol might becoming a problem. For example:
- You desire alcohol increasingly often;
- You find it increasingly difficult to reject the offer of a glass;
- You increasingly look for situations that allow you to have a drink and avoid situations that don't;
- Someone from your surroundings has recommended that you reduce your drinking, or made some remarks on your drinking behaviour;
- You make sure to always have alcohol in the house;
- You are more often involved with (near) accidents at work and are less productive;
- You have said or done things you regretted afterwards while under influence;
- You sweat more heavily, are more prone to forget things, are more anxious, have difficulty sleeping and increasingly suffer from head or stomach aches.
Of course, these are also signals to look out for in people you suspect are drinking too much alcohol.
If you answer any of the following questions with yes, you might want to start thinking about your drinking habits.
- Have you ever felt you needed to start drinking less?
- Have you even been annoyed by other people's comments on your alcohol use?
- Have you ever felt guilty about your alcohol use?
- Have you ever consumed alcohol in the morning to feel fit for the day?
Alcoholic beverages form part of our social life. Important and fun events as a matter of course go hand in hand with a drink. Neither availability nor price form a reason for the Dutch to stop drinking alcohol. And stop we do not: over 80% of the Dutch population aged between 15 and 60 regularly consumes alcohol. As long as this concerns a drink every now and then, there's nothing wrong with that. However, some 8 to 10 percent of Dutchmen aged over 15 has problems due to their alcohol consumption. This applies to both men and women. 5% of employees may even be considered a problem drinker.
If alcohol consumption starts causing trouble, it's time to do something about it.