May 13

‘One for the road…’ – pretty much everyone of us has said that at certain occations, like with friends in a cozy round or during a party.

If the ‘one’ is followed by another, however, maybe even on a regular basis, a problem exists. Living in a holiday destination, too, I know just as well how hard it can be to pass the countless offers of ‘Happy Hours’ or invitations of friends to join … but not being able to say ‘no’ can quickly develop into a serious drinking problem. Just too many people already empty their first beer before noon, any even more are drinking behind closed doors. The most expensive bill for this behavior will have to be paid by one’s body and psyche: alcohol is a personality changing drug, and often its abuse is marginalized for years – to the point where a doctor will have to diagnose permanent physical damage (the most common of which are liver damage, heart attacks, damages to skin, blood vessels and nerves).

From a psychological point of view, alcoholism is almost always associated with psychological stress – stress can be repressed with alcohol, so even for relatives it can take long to get fully aware of the full significance of the problem. The initial symptoms are looking out for drinking opportunities, increased demand to achieve the same effect, secret or very rapid drinking. If you are interested, check yourself doing the Alcoholism / Alcohol addiction self test on my English website.

(This short article is part of a weekly series dealing with psychological expat problems and general mental health issues and was published in various newspapers and magazines in Thailand, 2010)

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