Symptomatic drinking describes a person drinking alcohol as a means to deal with an immediate problem in their lives. What causes people to drink excessively differs from person to person. Invariably there is some or other stressor, pain or trauma being experienced in the persons life and that pain is temporarily dulled or obscured by alcohol.
“Symptomatic Drinking” is frequently referred to as an early stage in alcohol use disorder. For the individual alcohol has simply become a coping mechanism by which they have become accustomed to use to “deal with it” handle these abnormal high stress or painful situations in their life.
Other common factors in early alcoholism include
- Starts drinking socially or alone
- Uses drinking as a means to cope with emotions, anxiety or stress
- Starts building tolerance to alcohol
Many people suffering from periodic or intermittent mental health issues such as depression or anxiety also wind up using alcohol as a means to cope through the tough their times. There are a number of standard tests used to identify the symptoms of an addiction, however symptomatic drinking can frequently linger in the fringes of the abnormal behaviour spectrum.
Dangers Of Symptomatic Alcohol Use
While periodic symptomatic alcohol consumption may not necessarily be classified as an addiction per se, these behaviours can become highly problematic as with infrequent binge drinking.
One of the common list items for a progressing alcohol use disorder can be attributed to symptomatic drinking behaviours as these behaviours start to become more prevalent the more they are repeated. Problematic alcohol use begins with behaviours such as symptomatic drinking or “drinking to escape” a particular problem.
How To Stop Drinking
Identifying symptomatic alcohol use problems early on and finding means and strategies to cope with life stressors without the use of alcohol is a commonly used and highly effective skill in addiction recovery.
CBT cognitive behaviour therapy, mindfulness, ACT acceptance and commitment therapy, trauma therapy are therapy techniques that work toward making a conscious decision to recognise the triggers and alter the behaviour and make significant positive changes before addiction issues spiral into deeper cycles of problematic alcohol use. Frequently people start excessive drinking due to further reaching and more compounded issues in their lives. While symptomatic drinking is often considered relatively “normal” by society standards it is still a problematic circumstance that can be avoided with the right guidance.
Treating Alcohol Use Disorders
By far symptomatic drinking is ingrained in our society as a stress relief after a busy week or as a means to unwind over a rest time and it is part and parcel with day to day life. As a rule most drinkers should be taking a break from drinking every so often in order to gauge to some degree how their alcohol use may effecting their day to day functioning or relationships to alcohol.
Speaking to an Alcohol Addiction Counsellor or Addiction Therapist
If you find that you are experiencing problems with alcohol use or would like to ask a few questions about symptomatic drinking please feel free to give us a call on 079 235 7415 and we would be happy to see how we can be of assistance to you. If you need some guidance on getting help for someone else we have a non-confrontational approach to treatment that follows a client centric growth path for treating acute alcohol use related issues. We have helped many people through dealing with substance use disorders and we can help you too.