Alcohol is a depressant that works on the central nervous system. A little acts like a mild tranquilizer, it relaxes us. Higher levels of alcohol in the blood tend to depress brain activity, reduce our inhibitions and our self control. It will sharply alter our behavior and personality, and can severely affect our judgment and dull our reaction time and sensory perceptions. Higher levels of alcohol in the blood system from steady, heavy drinking can anesthetize the deepest levels of the brain and can result in coma and in some instances even death.
There is no foolproof way of knowing if someone has an alcohol problem, but you can ask yourself some questions that might begin to help you determine if you or someone you know has a drinking problem.
Are you, yourself, uneasy about your drinking behavior, why you drink, how much, and/or how you feel when you drink?
Has someone close to you spoken to you about your drinking behavior?
Do you drink at most social occasions you attend, such as parties, dates or informal get-togethers?
Do you sometimes think that you need to drink to have a good time?
Do you seem to have more courage to meet and talk to people when you have had a few drinks?
Do a few drinks allow you to be yourself, the person you would like to be?
Have you ever taken a few drinks before going to class, to work, or before dates or appointments to bolster your courage?
Do you keep a bottle in your apartment or car so it will always be handy if you need it?
Do you do things when you drink that you wouldn't do if you were sober?
When things go wrong with work, school, in your home life or with your parents, do you drink to forget about it or to make yourself feel better?
Do you sometimes forget things that happen while you were drinking?
The "test" above is not a foolproof diagnosis, but it is a rather good indicator. One "yes" answer is reason to be alert to the possibility that alcohol could be a problem for you. The likelihood that it is a serious problem increases with each succeeding "yes," and even two "yes" answers should be considered a danger sign. It may mean you are using alcohol to deal with stressful situations in your life. While this may not be a problem now, it could set up a pattern that will lead to a more serious problem for you as stresses in your life become greater.
Blackouts are a definite sign that your brain can no longer tolerate alcohol, whether you have been drinking one year or twenty; whether they occur after a few drinks or many; or whether you appear intoxicated or not.
You may want to start now to develop some other methods of coping with stress. You can do this on your own or with the help of friends, but if you would like professional help, consider contacting:
Residence ~ 556-8239
Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission
ADAAC ~ 403-340-5274
- Olds local Alcoholics Anonymous group