5 Habits That Could Be Harming Your Mental Health

Every day you make choices, big and small, that affect your well-being. Some of the small ones seem, well, small – but they still make an impact. Here are a few common habits that could be harming your mental health more than you realize.

Eating a poor diet

The field of nutritional psychology is revealing the effects of food on our psychological well-being. For example, eating a lot of processed food (like cookies, chips, bread, etc.) substantially raises the risk for depression.

So, if you live with depression, you may find some relief simply by improving your diet. Recommendations typically include eating more vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, fish, healthy fats like olive oil, and other minimally processed foods (the “Mediterranean diet”).

Try This: As a starting point, choose one daily meal for a healthy makeover. So, maybe it’s swapping your sugary cereal for a healthier breakfast, like scrambled eggs with spinach or oatmeal topped with nuts and fresh berries.

Being inactive

Our bodies thrive when we move them throughout the day, but as adults we often spend entire days sitting: at meals, at work, in front of the TV. But the more inactive you are, the more likely you are to experience anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and other negative effects.

Try This: Find one fun movement activity to start doing once per week, like playing tennis or walking with a friend.

Staying inside all the time

Just as it’s easy to sit all the time, we can also spend entire days without setting foot outside. But being outdoors—especially in natural environments like parks—is linked with improvements in mental health. It can also be an effective way to calm your nervous system, and to enjoy socializing with the people you run into.

Try This: Take a short walk outside after lunch. Focus on the experience as you take in the sights and smells and feel your body move.

Living in a constant state of stress

Some amount of stress is an unavoidable part of being alive, and isn’t necessarily bad for you. But chronic stresses, like ongoing financial concerns or repeated relationship conflict, can take a toll on your body and mind.

Over time, you’ll not only become more irritable, but you’ll also be more likely to experience conditions like anxiety and depression.

Try This: Spend a few minutes at the end of the day decompressing through progressive muscle relaxation (here’s a guide to get you started).

Being tied to your phone

So many things require us to spend time on screens: work, hotel reservations, online shopping, the list goes on. And of course, there are infinite reasons for us to be on our phones – texting, checking social media, playing games, reading the news…

What’s the cost of constant screen time? Burnout, relationship conflict, and sleep problems, just to name a few. And greater use of social media is linked to lowered life satisfaction over time.

Try This: Go for a walk with a family member and leave your phone at home.

To stay well mentally and emotionally, you have to be tuned into what you need. Ask yourself what you need today: What would fuel your body? What would refresh your mind? What would nourish your spirit?

Source: https://blogs.webmd.com/mental-health/20180824/5-habits-that-could-be-harming-your-mental-health

Bulimia Nervosa Symptoms, Causes & Complications

Bulimia (boo-LEE-me-uh) nervosa, commonly called bulimia, is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder. People with bulimia may secretly binge — eating large amounts of food with a loss of control over the eating — and then purge, trying to get rid of the extra calories in an unhealthy way.

To get rid of calories and prevent weight gain, people with bulimia may use different methods. For example, you may regularly self-induce vomiting or misuse laxatives, weight-loss supplements, diuretics or enemas after bingeing.

Or you may use other ways to rid yourself of calories and prevent weight gain, such as fasting, strict dieting or excessive exercise.

If you have bulimia, you’re probably preoccupied with your weight and body shape. You may judge yourself severely and harshly for your self-perceived flaws. Because it’s related to self-image — and not just about food — bulimia can be hard to overcome. But effective treatment can help you feel better about yourself, adopt healthier eating patterns and reverse serious complications.

Symptoms
Bulimia signs and symptoms may include:

  • Being preoccupied with your body shape and weight
  • Living in fear of gaining weight
  • Repeated episodes of eating abnormally large amounts of food in one sitting
  • Feeling a loss of control during bingeing — like you can’t stop eating or can’t control what you eat
  • Forcing yourself to vomit or exercising too much to keep from gaining weight after bingeing
  • Using laxatives, diuretics or enemas after eating when they’re not needed
  • Fasting, restricting calories or avoiding certain foods between binges
  • Using dietary supplements or herbal products excessively for weight loss

The severity of bulimia is determined by the number of times a week that you purge, usually at least once a week for at least three months.

When to see a doctor
If you have any bulimia symptoms, seek medical help as soon as possible. If left untreated, bulimia can severely impact your health.

Talk to your primary care provider or a mental health professional about your bulimia symptoms and feelings. If you’re reluctant to seek treatment, confide in someone about what you’re going through, whether it’s a friend or loved one, a teacher, a faith leader, or someone else you trust. He or she can help you take the first steps to get successful bulimia treatment.

Helping a loved one with bulimia symptoms
If you think a loved one may have symptoms of bulimia, have an open and honest discussion about your concerns. You can’t force someone to seek professional care, but you can offer encouragement and support.

You can also help find a qualified doctor or mental health professional, make an appointment, and even offer to go along.

Because most people with bulimia are usually normal weight or slightly overweight, it may not be apparent to others that something is wrong. Red flags that family and friends may notice include:

  • Constantly worrying or complaining about being fat
  • Having a distorted, excessively negative body image
  • Repeatedly eating unusually large quantities of food in one sitting, especially foods the person would normally avoid
  • Strict dieting or fasting after binge eating
  • Not wanting to eat in public or in front of others
  • Going to the bathroom right after eating, during meals or for long periods of time
  • Exercising too much
  • Having sores, scars or calluses on the knuckles or hands
  • Having damaged teeth and gums
  • Changing weight
  • Swelling in the hands and feet
  • Facial and cheek swelling from enlarged glands

Causes
The exact cause of bulimia is unknown. Many factors could play a role in the development of eating disorders, including genetics, biology, emotional health, societal expectations and other issues.

Risk factors
Girls and women are more likely to have bulimia than boys and men are. Bulimia often begins in the late teens or early adulthood.

Factors that increase your risk of bulimia may include:

  • Biology. People with first-degree relatives (siblings, parents or children) with an eating disorder may be more likely to develop an eating disorder, suggesting a possible genetic link. Being overweight as a child or teen may increase the risk.
  • Psychological and emotional issues. Psychological and emotional problems, such as depression, anxiety disorders or substance use disorders are closely linked with eating disorders. People with bulimia may feel negatively about themselves. In some cases, traumatic events and environmental stress may be contributing factors.
  • Dieting. People who diet are at higher risk of developing eating disorders. Many people with bulimia severely restrict calories between binge episodes, which may trigger an urge to again binge eat and then purge. Other triggers for bingeing can include stress, poor body self-image, food and boredom.

Complications
Bulimia may cause numerous serious and even life-threatening complications. Possible complications include:

  • Negative self-esteem and problems with relationships and social functioning
  • Dehydration, which can lead to major medical problems, such as kidney failure
  • Heart problems, such as an irregular heartbeat or heart failure
  • Severe tooth decay and gum disease
  • Absent or irregular periods in females
  • Digestive problems
  • Anxiety, depression, personality disorders or bipolar disorder
  • Misuse of alcohol or drugs
  • Self-injury, suicidal thoughts or suicide

Prevention
Although there’s no sure way to prevent bulimia, you can steer someone toward healthier behavior or professional treatment before the situation worsens. Here’s how you can help:

  • Foster and reinforce a healthy body image in your children, no matter what their size or shape. Help them build confidence in ways other than their appearance.
  • Have regular, enjoyable family meals.
  • Avoid talking about weight at home. Focus instead on having a healthy lifestyle.
  • Discourage dieting, especially when it involves unhealthy weight-control behaviors, such as fasting, using weight-loss supplements or laxatives, or self-induced vomiting.
  • Talk with your primary care provider. He or she may be in a good position to identify early indicators of an eating disorder and help prevent its development.
  • If you notice a relative or friend who seems to have food issues that could lead to or indicate an eating disorder, consider supportively talking to the person about these issues and ask how you can help.

Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bulimia/symptoms-causes/syc-20353615

Crohn’s Disease Management: How to Calm Down an Angry Stomach

Treating or managing Crohn’s disease doesn’t involve a one-size-fits-all approach. You likely need to try out different solutions to find what works best for you. Always speak with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter drugs or beginning a new exercise program.

Take an anti-diarrheal medication
Diarrhea can be one of the most inconvenient symptoms to deal with as you try to live a normal life with Crohn’s disease. And it can also lead to further health consequences if not treated.

Several over-the-counter medications can help ease symptoms of diarrhea, gas, or bloating:

  • loperamide (Imodium A-D)
  • bismuth-subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol)
  • psyllium (Metamucil)
  • methylcellulose (Citrucel)

Before you take an over-the-counter medication to calm down your stomach, check in with your doctor. Your symptoms may suggest a worsening of your inflammation. Your doctor may want to make a change to your prescription medication.

Ask your doctor about pain relievers
Your doctor may recommend taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) if your stomach pain comes along with joint pain.

Don’t take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for stomach pain. This includes ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn). While NSAIDs might help relieve some joint pain, they can irritate your gastrointestinal tract, worsening your symptoms.

Avoid certain foods
You may have to give up some of your favorite foods in order to stay healthy. Certain foods and beverages can worsen your symptoms. While there’s no concrete evidence that a particular food is responsible for the inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease, you know your body best.

If you haven’t started one already, consider creating a food diary to keep track of which foods aggravate your symptoms. A few foods in particular you’ll want to pay attention to. If you find out that these types of food make your stomach angry, it’s probably best to avoid them altogether:

  • dairy products
  • fatty foods
  • high-fiber foods, such as beans, popcorn, nuts
  • raw fruits and vegetables (have them cooked instead)
  • spicy foods
  • alcohol
  • caffeine

Stick to bland foods
If you’re experiencing stomach pain, stick to bland foods, such as the following:

  • dry toast
  • rice
  • eggs
  • bananas
  • applesauce
  • boiled, skinless chicken

Eat small, frequent meals
Eat five or six small meals throughout the day rather than two or three large ones. This ensures that your body gets enough nutrients and calories for the day without putting unnecessary strain on your stomach.

Try an herbal remedy
Certain herbs may help calm your stomach. While there isn’t a lot of evidence for the efficacy of these herbs in treating Crohn’s disease, they have been used traditionally to lessen inflammation inside the digestive tract.

Herbs and herbal teas may have side effects, and some herbs interact with others. Speak with your doctor about taking herbs and supplements.

Ginger
The rhizome of the ginger plant is commonly used in cooking. But it’s also a dietary supplement to treat nausea and vomiting. Ginger is also believed to be an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agentTrusted Source. It’s available in many forms, including fresh, dried, pickled, preserved, crystallized, candied, and powdered.

Turmeric
Turmeric is a spice related to ginger. A compound found in turmeric called curcumin is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties and may be useful in treating Crohn’s disease. Small clinical studies of people with Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory conditions have shown promising results, but additional studies are needed.

You can find fresh turmeric in your grocery store. It’s also available as a powder that you can add to your meals, or in capsule form.

Peppermint
Peppermint calms the muscles of your stomach and has shown evidence of soothing inflammatory pain in the gastrointestinal tract. Peppermint is easy to find in tea or capsule form.

Slippery elm
The bark of the slippery elm tree is a demulcent — a substance that protects inflamed tissues. When the bark is mixed with water, it turns into a sticky material known as mucilage. Mucilage coats and soothes your stomach and intestines. One study found that slippery elm had an antioxidant effect in people with Crohn’s disease.

To make tea from powdered slippery elm bark, pour 2 cups of boiling water over roughly 2 tablespoons of the powder and steep for a few minutes. Slippery elm is also available as a lozenge or in capsule form.

Marshmallow
Marshmallow (the herb, not the sticky sweet confection) has been studied for its ability to protect and soothe tissues in the stomach and reduce inflammation and stomach acids. To make a tea, steep 2 to 5 grams of dried leaf or 5 grams of dried root in 1 cup of hot water.

Boswellia
The acids produced by the Boswellia genus of trees are thought to have therapeutic capabilities. In a small studyTrusted Source in people with ulcerative colitis, 14 of 20 participants who received boswellia gum resin achieved remission of their disease. Another studyTrusted Source, conducted in 2001, found that boswellia was just as effective as mesalazine, a standard Crohn’s disease treatment, in treating 102 participants with Crohn’s disease.

Consider juicing
If solid foods aggravate your stomach, juicing is a great way to get the nutrients and calories your body needs without adding stress to the digestive process. You can combine herbal remedies, like ginger, with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Start with a simple recipe of just one apple, one carrot, and a small piece of ginger. Because the juicing process removes fiber, the nutrients can be easily absorbed.

A Balanced Belly has some tips and tricks for juicing as well as a range of healthy juice recipes for people with Crohn’s disease.

Find ways to reduce stress
Your stomach might be feeling angry because you’re under a lot of stress. Try the following techniques to help you relax and reduce your stress levels:

  • yoga
  • meditation
  • tai chi
  • deep breathing exercises

You can set aside a specific time each day to practice, or try these techniques simultaneously while you’re doing something else, like commuting to work.

Exercise is also a great way to lower your stress levels. Even low-intensity exercises, like walking for 30 minutes, can be helpful. However, make sure to ask your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Also remember to drink extra water before and during exercise to prevent dehydration.

See your doctor
Your relationship with your doctor is very important in managing Crohn’s disease. Your doctor will likely want to monitor your symptoms to make sure your treatment is working. It’s very important that you are open and honest with your doctor about your symptoms. If your stomach pain and diarrhea become severe, let your doctor know right away. You might need intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration.

Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/crohns-disease/advancing-crohns/how-to-calm-down-an-angry-stomach

Best Natural Remedies for Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic form of inflammatory arthritis. It can develop in people with psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes patches of red, scaly skin.

There’s no cure, so treating symptoms is a priority. Your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce inflammation and pain. There are also natural remedies and lifestyle changes that may help relieve symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.

Causes of Psoriatic Arthritis
It’s not known for sure what triggers psoriatic arthritis, but it occurs when the immune system starts attacking healthy tissue and cells. This causes inflammation and pain in your joints.

Though it is not known what causes psoriatic arthritis, it is suspected that genetic factors come into play. Infection is also thought to trigger the overactive immune system.

Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis
Without treatment, symptoms of psoriatic arthritis will often get worse over time. Before setting out to find possible remedies, it’s helpful to understand how this condition can affect your body.

Irritated Joints
Joints that are swollen, painful, and warm to the touch are a common symptom.Joints can be affected on both sides of the body, or on only one side. It can affect one joint or multiple types of joints.

Lower Back Pain
The particular type of lower back pain associated with psoriatic arthritis is called spondylitis. This condition causes the vertebrae between your spine and pelvis to become inflamed, resulting in pain.

Swollen Toes or Fingers
Painful, noticeable swelling in the fingers and toes is common. Swelling may be the first symptom for some patients, even before joint pain.

Foot Pain
Many psoriatic arthritis patients feel pain where the ligaments attach to the bones in your feet. These locations are in the back of your heel and the sole of your foot.

There is no cure-all for every possible symptom. However, some natural remedies can help temporarily ease these effects.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The body converts omega-3 fatty acids into anti-inflammatory chemicals. Studies involving people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other inflammatory diseases indicate that fish oils may decrease inflammation and stiffness in joints.

Healthy fish oils are found in salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, halibut, and cod. According to the Arthritis Foundation, pregnant women should avoid king mackerel and eat no more than 8 ounces of albacore tuna each month, due to potentially harmful mercury levels.

Fish oils are also available as a dietary supplement. High levels can interfere with some medications, so talk to your doctor before taking fish oil supplements.

Turmeric
Some patients find that turmeric, an herb in the ginger family, may ease psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis flare-ups. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric are a frequent topic of study. You can add a touch of turmeric to almost any dish. It’s also available as a dietary supplement. Ask your doctor or naturopathic practitioner to advise you about the correct dosage.

Diet and Weight Management
Some of the foods you eat may trigger an inflammatory response. A study reported by the Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition ResearchTrusted Source suggests that plant-based foods can help regulate the inflammatory process. Therefore, a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and whole wheat can reduce inflammation.

A healthy diet can also help you maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight can add stress to your joints and interfere with mobility.

General Joint Care
Use a heating pad or take a soothing warm bath to loosen up stiff joints and muscles. Use ice or a cold pack on your joints and muscles to help relieve pain. Whenever possible, use your entire hand rather than just some of your fingers to push doors and to lift heavier objects. Use assistive devices to open bottles and jars so you don’t strain your fingers and hands.

Exercise
It’s hard to think about exercise when experiencing uncomfortable symptoms, but exercise is important for your health. It can help strengthen muscles and increase flexibility. Exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight so you put less stress on your joints and muscles. If you’re really hurting, try exercising in a pool. The water will help you build strength without stressing your joints and muscles.

If you don’t have time for a daily workout, take several 10-minute breaks to stretch and perform some range of motion exercises. Your doctor, physical therapist, or trainer can recommend specific exercises for your condition.

Regular Rest and Relaxation
Getting a good night’s sleep will help you fight fatigue. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. If you have trouble falling asleep, try taking a soothing warm bath before going to bed.

Also, make some time to rest and relax during your busy day. Need a suggestion? Put your feet up and read or listen to your favorite music for 20 minutes or so.

Naturopathy
A naturopathic doctor is one who concentrates on lifestyle factors and natural therapies to help patients manage illness and chronic diseases. They may help you improve your diet and suggest alternative therapies, as well as discuss therapies that are complementary to conventional treatment.

These may include homeopathy, psychology, and spirituality. Many doctors will work in partnership with naturopathic practitioners to provide you with a whole body approach to health. Trying these natural remedies and lifestyle changes can help with your psoriatic arthritis.

The Takeaway
Although psoriatic arthritis is a chronic condition, natural treatment can help alleviate symptoms. When choosing natural treatment, it’s important to check in with your regular doctor.

If natural treatments aren’t effective, medications like NSAIDs (aspirin and ibuprofen) can be used. Doctors can also prescribe medications like disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to relieve severe symptoms and attempt to slow joint and tissue damage.

You should consult your regular doctor if you’re experiencing joint pain or any swelling of your fingers or toes, especially if you have psoriasis. Since psoriatic arthritis can come on quickly and leave long-term damage, make an appointment and discuss treatment options as soon as you start having symptoms.

Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/psoriatic-arthritis/natural-remedies

Mononucleosis Symptoms, Causes & Complications

Infectious mononucleosis (mono) is often called the kissing disease.

The virus that causes mono is transmitted through saliva, so you can get it through kissing, but you can also be exposed through a cough or sneeze, or by sharing a glass or food utensils with someone who has mono. However, mononucleosis isn’t as contagious as some infections, such as the common cold.

You’re most likely to get mononucleosis with all the signs and symptoms if you’re an adolescent or young adult. Young children usually have few symptoms, and the infection often goes unrecognized.

If you have mononucleosis, it’s important to be careful of certain complications such as an enlarged spleen. Rest and adequate fluids are keys to recovery.

Miscarriage Symptoms, Warning Signs & Types

A miscarriage is defined as the spontaneous loss of a fetus before it is viable, which in the United States is the 20th week of pregnancy.

The medical term for miscarriage is “spontaneous abortion.”
Miscarriage is one of the most common complications associated with early pregnancy. Sadly, around one-quarter of all pregnancies result in miscarriage.

Most miscarriages occur during the first few months of pregnancy. An estimated 85 percent of miscarriages happen before week 12. A woman may have a miscarriage before she knows she is pregnant.

Although miscarriage is relatively common, it can be an extremely traumatic and devastating experience. The aim of treatment following or during a miscarriage is to prevent hemorrhaging (bleeding) and infection. Normally, the body expels the fetal tissue on its own, especially earlier in the pregnancy.

Mini Stroke Symptoms,Causes & More

A ministroke is also known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA). It occurs when part of the brain experiences a temporary lack of blood flow.

This causes stroke-like symptoms that resolve within 24 hours. Unlike a stroke, a ministroke on its own doesn’t cause permanent disabilities. Since ministroke symptoms and stroke symptoms are nearly identical, you should seek immediate emergency attention if you experience any symptoms.

Knowing the signs of a ministroke can help you get the treatment you need as early as possible. Around 1 in 3 people who experience a ministroke later experience a stroke, so early treatment is essential. People with a ministroke may temporarily find themselves unable to speak. After a ministroke, people may tell their doctor that they had difficulty recalling words during the event. Other speech problems may include trouble saying a word or trouble understanding words.

Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms, Causes & Risk Factors

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

Having just one of these conditions doesn’t mean you have metabolic syndrome. But it does mean you have a greater risk of serious disease. And if you develop more of these conditions, your risk of complications, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, rises even higher.

Metabolic syndrome is increasingly common, and up to one-third of U.S. adults have it. If you have metabolic syndrome or any of its components, aggressive lifestyle changes can delay or even prevent the development of serious health problems.

Menopause Symptoms, Causes & More

Menopause is the time that marks the end of your menstrual cycles. It’s diagnosed after you’ve gone 12 months without a menstrual period.

Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States.

Menopause is a natural biological process. But the physical symptoms, such as hot flashes, and emotional symptoms of menopause may disrupt your sleep, lower your energy or affect emotional health. There are many effective treatments available, from lifestyle adjustments to hormone therapy. Despite irregular periods, pregnancy is possible. If you’ve skipped a period but aren’t sure you’ve started the menopausal transition, consider a pregnancy test.

8 Signs That Alcohol May Have Too Much Power in Your Life

I don’t think I’m an alcoholic. I hear this statement a lot in my therapy office as patients discuss their pattern of drinking. Usually they’re thinking of an alcoholic as someone whose constant drinking leads to missing work, DUIs, losing relationships, and hitting rock bottom.

However, the majority of alcoholics don’t fit this stereotype, and remain largely functional despite their use.

Whatever the definition, I find that it’s not necessarily helpful to reduce our relationship with alcohol to a single black-or-white question, Am I an alcoholic? The implication is that there’s a problem if I am, and no problem if I’m not.

But our relationship with alcohol isn’t that simple. We don’t have to be chugging vodka first thing in the morning, blacking out, or driving while intoxicated for there to be an issue. The better question is:

Is the way I’m drinking a net positive in my life?

Full disclosure: I never had a healthy relationship with alcohol, always feeling that it took up more space in my life than I wanted it to. And while no one ever told me I had a drinking problem, I knew it affected the quality of my relationships and led to countless hangovers and regret.

I chose to give up drinking a little over two years ago and have never regretted it, and my personal experience no doubt influences my views on alcohol. It also opened my eyes to the many signs that our drinking may not be serving us well.

Here are some common indications that alcohol has more power in your life than you might realize:

  • Wondering if you have a problem. The question of “what makes someone an alcoholic?” has crossed your mind (and you’ve clicked on articles like this one), but you’re not sure. Maybe you’ve resolved in the past to stop drinking but then you convinced yourself that you can drink in moderation. This question itself suggests it’s worth taking a closer look.
  • Consistently drinking more than you wish you had. You often have regrets about your drinking the next morning. Even if you’re not getting completely hammered, you might find yourself having three drinks when you meant to have one, or one when you weren’t planning to drink at all. And you might not be truly hung over, but perhaps you didn’t sleep well and you feel a bit anxious throughout the day.
  • Setting a lot of rules around your alcohol use. Do you find yourself carefully measuring your drinks, or making rules like “never be the only person drinking” or “no alcohol Monday through Thursday”? Through these rules you’re trying to prove to yourself you can drink responsibly and keep alcohol in your life.
  • Carefully planning your alcohol consumption in advance. In a similar way, you might find that you’re trying to keep your drinking in check through tricks like having a glass of water after every alcoholic drink, or pacing yourself throughout the night (e.g., only one beer per quarter of the game).
  • Giving a lot of attention to what and how much you’ll drink. When you’re going to an event you might automatically think ahead to whether there will be alcohol, look up the wine or beer list in advance, or even worry about whether you’ll have enough to drink. You might also find yourself “pre-partying” or bringing an extra bottle “just to be safe.”
  • Drinking more than others realize. You don’t have to be hiding a flask of liquor in your desk drawer to be secretive about your drinking. It could mean having stronger drinks so others won’t know you’re drinking more than they are, or trying your best not to seem intoxicated.
  • Being unable to imagine certain events without alcohol. Most people who have a healthy relationship with alcohol could take it or leave it. They might prefer to have a glass of wine with dinner or a beer with the game, but they wouldn’t be upset to go without it. Feeling anxious or irritated when alcohol isn’t available suggests a greater dependence on it.
  • White knuckling through periods of abstinence. Whether it’s waiting till 5:00 PM, the end of the week, or a longer stretch like Dry January, you find yourself pining for the “finish line” so you can finally have a drink.

While none of these factors in and of itself is a definite sign you have a drinking problem, they could mean it’s time to reduce your drinking, or even to let go of alcohol for good.

Keep in mind that you can decide you want to make a change even if your behavior is considered normal in your social circle. Your drinking affects you most directly, and you stand to benefit the most if you need to make a positive change.

Source: https://blogs.webmd.com/mental-health/20190201/8-signs-that-alcohol-may-have-too-much-power-in-your-life