1) How can you tell if someone you know regularly binge drinks on the quiet?
2) If you suspect that they do, should you tell them?
Let’s address the opening question first, by listing telltale signs of alcoholism in others.1
A regular binge drinker:
Usually turns up drunk to social gatherings
Often stinks of booze
Will frequently be in a low mood and be negative about life in general
Has relationships with others that are often strained, and
Is habitually anxious or short tempered
They may also:
Be less effective at work
Not look after their appearance, by not bothering to shave, brush their hair, apply make up, or to dress smartly
If you recognise these signs in anyone you know, and you’ve been wrestling with the decision over whether to tell them or not that you are becoming increasingly concerned about their drinking, consider this…
With alcoholism, it isn’t only the drinker who is affected
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to the following problems: 2
Increased risk of heart and liver disease
Impaired brain function (heavy drinking can destroy brain cells, resulting in brain damage in various degrees)
Reduced overall mental alertness (and therefore an increase in the risk of sustaining a physical injury)
Poor coordination and concentration, and sometimes double-vision
Loss of consciousness
As well as:
Behavioural problems, such as violence (which can result in a criminal record)
Promiscuous behaviour, as inhibitions are shed (this increases the risk of sexually transmitted diseases)
Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, which can result in birth defects
Relationships with family and friends becoming tense
Friction with colleagues, and
Children (of alcoholics) suffering anxiety, depression and low-self-esteem
Notice how many of these points highlight the way in which others can be affected by a single individual’s alcoholism. By being honest with someone you know whose drinking is causing you concern, you are actually helping to protect the health, welfare and safety of other people.
What’s more, alcohol-related deaths don’t just include fatalities amongst heavy drinkers themselves, but often those in close proximity to them: on the roads, behind the front doors of Britain (as a result of drink-fuelled violence), in the workplace where potentially dangerous equipment and machinery is constantly used…
So, if someone you know regularly binge drinks, don’t delay; find a moment to gently broach the subject with them.
BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE
Struggling with alcoholism (or drug addiction) we can help.