University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Listen Up: Recognize a Drinking Problem

Whatever your reasons for drinking, it should not create problems in your life. If you are able to drink and enjoy it, stop before you get out of control, remember all that happened while drinking, get home safely, wake up the next morning feeling fine and able to meet your responsibilities, that’s great.

But if alcohol or other drug use interferes with your academic success, interpersonal relationships, general state of health, or gets you into legal or financial trouble, you may have a problem.

Signs that you or someone you care about may have a drinking problem include:
  • Feeling guilty or ashamed about drinking.
  • Lying to others or hiding drinking habits.
  • Needing to drink in order to relax or feel better.
  • "Blacking out” or forgetting what happened while drinking.
  • Continuing to drink even though it causes problems.
  • Spending more time with others who drink heavily.
  • Becoming violent, yelling, fighting, or experiencing other personality changes.
  • Drinking before class, work, or driving.
  • Planning activities around drinking.
  • Losing interest in things which used to be important (sports, hobbies, school, friends, etc.)
  • Falling behind in school due to drinking.
  • Alcohol related injuries.
  • Needing to have a few drinks before going out to a party.
  • Feeling good about self only when drinking.
  • Building tolerance – needing more to get the same effect.