Alcohol abuse problems and what you can do about it.
If you drink alcohol simply to feel good, or to avoid feeling bad, your drinking could become problematic.
Alcoholism and alcohol abuse can sneak up on you, so it’s important to be aware of the warning signs and take steps to cut back if you recognise them.
Understanding the problem and admitting it to yourself are the important first steps to overcoming it.
Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are due to many interconnected factors, including genetics, how you were raised, your social environment, and your emotional health.
People who have a family history of alcoholism or who associate closely with heavy drinkers are more likely to develop drinking problems.
Finally, those who suffer from a mental health problem such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorders are also particularly at risk, because alcohol may be used to self-medicate, often called ‘self-soothing’.
Understanding Alcohol Abuse
Since drinking is so common in many cultures and the effects can vary so widely from person to person, it’s not always easy to figure out where the line is between social drinking and problem drinking.
The bottom line, however, is how alcohol affects you and your life.
If your drinking is causing problems in your life then you almost certainly have a drinking problem.
Do YOU Have a Drinking Problem?
You may have a drinking problem if you…
- Feel guilty or ashamed about your drinking.
- Lie to others or hide your drinking habits.
- Have friends or family members who are worried about your drinking.
- Need to drink in order to relax or feel better.
- “Black out” or forget what you did while you were drinking.
- Regularly drink more than you intended to.
- Frequently drink on your own.
If you think you have a drinking problem we strongly recommend that in the first instance you seek Medical Advice from your GP prior to consulting us for any kind of psychological help.
Substance abuse scientists make a distinction between alcohol abuse and alcoholism or alcohol dependency.
Unlike alcoholics, alcohol abusers have some ability to set limits on their drinking.
However, their alcohol use is still self-destructive and dangerous to themselves or others.
Common signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse include:
- Repeatedly neglecting your responsibilities at home, work, or school because of your drinking, for example, performing poorly at work, neglecting your kids, or ignoring your commitments because you’re hung over.
- Using alcohol in situations where it’s physically dangerous, such as drinking and driving, operating machinery while intoxicated, or mixing alcohol with prescription medication.
- Experiencing repeated legal problems on account of your drinking, for example, getting arrested for driving under the influence or for drunk and disorderly conduct.
- Continuing to drink even though your alcohol abuse is causing problems in your relationships.
- Getting drunk with your friends, for example, even though you know your partner will be very upset, or fighting with your family because they dislike how you act when you drink.
- Self-deception and trying to kid yourself that your drinking is NOT a problem.
Possible Causes of Alcohol Abuse
There may be any number of causes for your alcohol abuse issues, although having a parent who is or was a drinker can significantly increase the likelihood that you will develop a problem.
People with different emotional problems will often turn to drink as a way of ‘coping’ with those difficult feelings and this is often referred to as ‘self-medicating’ – however, alcohol is a poor coping method as it almost always becomes a bigger problem that the problem it is being used to ‘cope with’!
It is also common to turn to alcohol when we have had some kind of trauma that has not been resolved, either recently or somewhere in the past.
There is also a problem of ‘cultural alcohol abuse’ – many people who work in very high pressure environments such as healthcare, teaching or policing will frequently find that colleagues often ‘hit the pub’ after a particularly stressful day.
In this way, drinking can often appear to be a socially acceptable way of ‘de-stressing’ and for many people it never turns into a problem, but for some, it can be the ‘slippery slope’ to ruin.
Psychological Therapy for Alcohol Abuse
Tranceform Psychology can offer a range of different psychological therapy solutions for drinking problems which you can read about below.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Alcohol Abuse Problems
If you’re committed to overcoming your Alcohol Abuse problems then we highly recommend following our Advanced Tranceformental CBT programme with Paul which is available as an Online Therapy as well as a self-directed programme.
The Tranceformental programme is a highly successful & pragmatic mental health counselling course, run over 10 sessions, that will teach you everything you need to know to understand your problem, identify how unhelpful thinking and limiting beliefs might be reinforcing the issue, and then show you how to make any changes to your unhelpful thinking styles or maladaptive safety behaviours that you may have developed as part of your coping strategies.
Our Tranceformental CBT programme is an evidence-based, research supported approach used by mental health practitioners around the World.
Alternative Therapies for Alcohol Abuse
Although our preferred form of mental health counselling for Alcohol Abuse is Tranceformental CBT we also offer alternative psychotherapies for those who might prefer a different approach.
General Counselling which is less structured but still provides a safe and non-judgmental environment to discuss issues which is therapeutic in its own right.
Free Initial Consultations to Discuss Alcohol Abuse Problems
We offer all prospective clients an initial consultation to discuss your Alcohol Abuse prior to commencing any treatment plans.
The consultation is free and lasts around 50 minutes.
During this consultation we will discuss the various options that are available to you and make a considered recommendation based on your individual personal circumstances.
Initial consultations are also available as part of our online therapy service.
At TranceForm Psychology we recognise the importance of the therapeutic relationship in helping people to bring about effective change, so its important to be able to ‘meet’ to discuss our change programmes BEFORE proceeding.
Our policy is to help people make a fully balanced & considered decision about undertaking work with us, including both the financial and personal implications.
Is Addiction Biological or Psychological?
Many scientists now question whether or not an 'addiction' is a biological phenomenon created by a chemical 'hook' or is a psychological problem associated with core values and beliefs.
Some research suggests that addiction is related to a lack of social connection and therefore may be a socio-psychological problem
You can find out about our particular perspective on Addiction here.
Overcome Alcohol Abuse problems with Our Self-Help CBT Programme – Only £99!
Self-help CBT has been shown to be highly effective for anxiety-related problems such as those associated with alcohol abuse and can be carried out in the comfort of your own home.
Structured over TEN, in-depth modules, our Self-Help CBT course will teach you everything you need to know to change the way you think about your drinking issues without having to visit a therapist.
Click Self-Help CBT for alcohol abuse to find out more.