In the UK, there is a big drinking culture. Because of this, a lot of harmful behaviour and alcohol abuse are ignored as drinking excessively is normalised.
Many people live with an alcohol dependency or alcohol addiction but don’t realise it because they only drink excessively on weekends and special occasions. This may sound normal and harmless, but it can be just as dangerous as other forms of alcoholism.
A weekend alcoholic can still cause significant damage to your wellbeing – see the signs you are a weekend alcoholic below.
What Is Weekend Alcoholism?
Weekend alcoholism is binge drinking when you are not at work or school, usually on the weekend. This often involves spending a lot of time at clubs or pubs, but it can also be done at home. A weekend alcoholic is not a diagnostic term. Instead, it is more a way to describe a pattern of behaviour involving alcohol abuse which occurs at the weekend.
So what exactly is a weekend alcoholic?
Well, the difference between normal drinking and alcoholism comes from the amount, the frequency and the reason behind it. Weekend alcoholism often involves drinking as much as possible over a few days. This can be the deal with the rest of the week or because it is the only time they can do this. This often results in blackouts and maybe even alcohol poisoning.
Drinking every so often is not a bad thing. But drinking to excess every single weekend can result in a variety of health problems and a number of other risks. Especially when it is something you are focusing on all week. Using weekend binge drinking as an escape from your life is not good – what you may think is a fun weekend activity is a very serious alcohol addiction that you need help with. Find out some of the signs you are a weekend alcoholic below.
Signs and Symptoms of a Weekend Alcoholic
Now that you know what weekend alcoholism is, it’s also important you learn how to spot it, whether within yourself or in others.
There are a few signs of weekend alcoholism that you can be aware of. They include:
- Consistently drinking heavily on weekends: Engaging in excessive alcohol consumption, specifically on weekends, often leads to intoxication or binge drinking.
- Neglecting responsibilities: Prioritising alcohol use over important obligations such as work, family commitments, or personal responsibilities.
- Preoccupation with drinking: Constantly thinking about alcohol, planning drinking sessions in advance, or becoming restless or anxious when unable to consume alcohol on weekends.
- Loss of control: Inability to stop or moderate drinking once started, often leading to consuming more alcohol than intended.
- Neglecting hobbies and social activities: Losing interest or disengaging from previously enjoyed activities or social interactions due to alcohol use.
- Tolerance development: Needing to drink larger quantities of alcohol to achieve the desired effect or experiencing a diminished response to the same amount of alcohol over time.
- Withdrawal symptoms: Experiencing physical or psychological symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, or insomnia when not drinking alcohol after heavy weekend drinking.
- Attempts to cut down or quit unsuccessfully: Expressing a desire to drink less or stop drinking altogether but being unable to maintain abstinence or reduce alcohol intake.
The failure to stop alone is a big sign that something is wrong. A fun thing you do every weekend would not cause you to feel anxious or ill if you missed a week or two.
A bad habit can easily become an addiction if you’re not careful. And it can start without you even noticing.
Causes of Weekend Alcoholism
Addiction isn’t something that happens. It is, instead, a complex medical and psychological condition that can be formed due to many different factors. The factors are:
- Stress: Living or working in a high-stress environment can make you want to relax and use alcohol, making your brain dependent on it.
- Social pressure: It is difficult not to drink when surrounded by others. Often peer pressure can lead to binge drinking.
- Mental health: Many people use alcohol to deal with anxiety and be sociable when out with people. This self-medication is dangerous.
- Genetics: Some people are genetically more likely able to form an addiction than other people. If a family member had some addiction, then the odds are they will too.
These factors can easily lead to an addiction taking hold. Addiction is a life-altering condition that will stay with you for the rest of your life. If you don’t learn how to manage it safely, it will rule your life and potentially ruin it.
Impact of Addiction on Health and Relationships
If you binge drink every weekend, you still seriously damage your body. Alcoholism can easily lead to many of the following long-term health conditions.
- Liver failure
- Loss of fertility
- Loss of teeth
- Kidney failure
- Heart failure
Alcoholism can kill you, but it can also kill your relationships.
Addiction is difficult for your friends and family. It can cause a person to act aggressively, leading to loved ones dealing with many of the following:
- Having their things stolen
- Domestic abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Children acting as carers
- Partners acting as carers
It can rip apart families and leave you alone. Addiction is hard to deal with, but it doesn’t just impact you. You are part of a family and a community that can be destroyed if you don’t look after yourself.
Getting Help for Weekend Alcoholism
There is hope. Overcoming an addiction is difficult, but it’s not impossible. You need to be ready to commit to a new lifestyle.
You can find help through local support groups provided by Alcoholics Anonymous. See their meeting times and locations  here.
Support groups are a great way to talk with like-minded people and get help but alcoholism is a physical addiction, so you will need to detox to make real progress. This will allow you to go without alcohol safely. The best way to do that is to find an alcohol rehab centre near you.
An alcohol rehab centre will be able to provide you with everything you need to overcome an addiction. From medication to therapy, it will be able to help you. The best first step you can take is to ask your regular alcohol providers to cut you off – there is no shame in asking for help. You would be surprised by how many people are ready and willing to help you.
-  meeting times and locations - https://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/aa-meetings/find-a-meeting