As mentioned, some factors can put you at increased risk of developing alcohol problems. These factors don't automatically mean that you might develop a problem, but they do increase the risk that this could happen. Some of these factors may include:
- A family history of alcohol or other substance abuse problems;
- Difficulty coping with or managing stress and other problems;
- Problems at home;
- Having an untreated anxiety, depression or other mental health disorder;
- Difficulty fitting in at school, at work or with a peer group; and
- Experiencing a stressful life change or traumatic event
- Alternating between periods of abstinence and binge drinking,
- Being unfamiliar with the effects of alcohol, putting you at risk for injury and alcohol poisoning.
When does alcohol become a problem?
Any of the following signs may indicate that you or someone you know may have a problem with alcohol. You may find:
- Your drinking is increasing, and the number of drinks you have on any one occasion is growing;
- You’re drinking more frequently;
- You’re doing things when using alcohol that you are not happy with or proud of, or you feel like you have to hide from people;
- You have difficulty cutting down on or controlling your drinking;
- You’re relying on alcohol to help escape from your worries or problems;
- You’re using alcohol as the main source of your entertainment and fun;
- You’re spending a lot of time getting alcohol, using it or recovering from it; or
- You’re having problems at school, work or in relationships as a result of your drinking.
Seek emergency help immediately if you are having suicidal thoughts, or thoughts of harming yourself or others.
You should also seek help right away if you:
- Have depressive thoughts along with your alcohol use;
- Feel that you behave differently when using alcohol;
- Are experiencing prolonged trouble sleeping;
- Have heard from family and/or friends that they believe your alcohol use is a problem; or
- Have tried self-help efforts (such as cutting down), but they haven’t helped.
- Anytime you find someone unconscious after using alcohol (health and safety first)