AS the evenings get lighter, and weather warmer, there is always a temptation to unwind with a tipple in the garden.
Summer favourites, like holidays, festivals and BBQ parties all bring with them ample time to socialise with a drink in the sun.
With all this extra exposure to booze, it can be easy to drink too much in the summer months.
But a group of addiction specialists said you should reflect on how much you're drinking, in case you happen to be a functioning alcoholic.
A functioning alcoholic is defined as someone who suffers from alcoholism but is still able to carry on with day-to-day life.
They can hold down a job, play a role within a family and to most people, appear to be coping.
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That’s why it’s so easy for the condition to go missed, as those with it do not look like the stereotypical alcoholic.
Adults generally consuming more units of alcohol in an average week than in the winter – over half (57 per cent) of Brits up their drinking when the weather is warm, according to a recent survey.
With this in mind, addiction specialists at Delamere compiled a list of common signs of a functioning alcoholic to look out for in yourself, or a friend.
- Frequent binge drinking after daily responsibilities are taken care of
- Justifying drinking as a way of unwinding after work, a busy day with the kids, or as a reward
- Frequent intoxication and smelling of alcohol
- Loss of control around alcohol use
- Hiding alcohol in strange places such as the garage, at the office, in bushes or in the car
- Drinking between work times or appointments, or drinking just enough to keep their alcohol levels topped up
- Becoming irritable, anxious, restless and unable to sleep if unable to drink
- Regularly drinking in the morning or at odd times of the day such as lunchtime in order to avoid alcohol withdrawal symptoms
- Always drinking at social events and ‘preloading’ prior to attending a social event
- Avoiding social events or activities that do not involve alcohol
- Alcohol has become a problem at home, with either drinking excessively alone at home or disappearing to a pub or bar straight after work for hours
- Becoming defensive or flippant when challenged over drinking
- Denial, and reasoning that you/they can still hold down a job or take the kids to school on time
- Alternating alcohol and prescription pills
- Becoming erratic, spontaneous, angry or changing character completely while intoxicated
- Difficulty in recalling events that took place whilst heavily intoxicated, or an 'alcoholic blackout'
- Risk-taking, such as driving to work or the school run whilst still over the limit from the previous night or from taking a morning drink
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Where to get help if you have a problem with alcohol
If you think you might have a problem with booze then you may need to seek help.
This might be the case if you often feel the need to have a drink or if you get into trouble because of your drinking.
If other people have warned you about your drink and it's causing you problems then a good place to start is your GP.
There are other places you can go to get help:
- Drinkline: Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm).
- AA – a free self help group that follows the 12 step programme
- Al-Anon Family Groups – a group for friends and family members impacted by drinking
- We Are With You – for individuals, families and communities struggling – call 0808 8010 750 – if you're over 50 and worried about booze
- Adfam – local support groups and message boards
- National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa) – call 0800 358 3456
- SMART Recovery – to help people discover if they have a problem
It's recommended to drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week – with a unit being different depending on the strength of booze you're having.
For example, a 750ml bottle of red, white or rosé wine (ABV 13.5 per cent) contains 10 units.
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