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If you are drinking in the morning before work, it may be a sign of an alcohol use disorder. This practice is common in people attempting to soothe withdrawal symptoms after a night of heavy drinking. If this is a regular practice, it is a warning sign you should not ignore.
Why Does Someone Drink in the Morning Before Work?
There is an old phrase, “Hair of the dog” that refers to drinking first thing in the morning. Following a night of partying with alcohol in the morning is thought to be an effective way to soften hangovers. But what if this practice of drinking in the morning before work becomes a daily habit? Well, that would imply that the person has developed an alcohol problem. There is no other explanation for drinking in the morning on a regular basis. If anything, it is a warning sign that alcohol abuse is present, or worse, alcoholism.
How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?
Alcohol affects each person in a unique way. In the same way, each person’s chemical makeup manages ethyl alcohol slightly differently. When you consume alcohol it is absorbed into the bloodstream through the stomach, and then to the major organs. The liver breaks down the alcohol but is only capable of metabolizing a certain amount per hour. This amount equates to about one standard drink per hour for men or two hours for a woman. About 20% of the alcohol passes through the stomach, which, if empty, sends it straight to the intestines. This is why having a meal before consuming alcohol is advised. The enzymes in the stomach can help metabolize some of the alcohol before it enters the intestines. Drinking in the morning a la “Hair of the Dog” may help relieve or delay the effect of the hangover. This effect, though, lasts just a little while. The alcohol interacts with the brain’s reward system and causes a short-lived pleasure response. But once that wears off, the hangover ensues.
Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder
If you find yourself needing to drink in the morning to find relief, you should pay attention. This is your body trying to tell you something. It is displaying the effects of the toxins caused by alcohol. You might find you can no longer control your drinking, and cannot stop once you start. These are just two signs of an alcohol use disorder (AUD). AUD signs and symptoms include:
- Obsess when you can drink next and how to obtain the alcohol.
- Can’t stop drinking even if you want to.
- Withdrawing from family or friends.
- Find yourself drinking more and more alcohol to get the buzz.
- Have blackouts.
- Lying about how much you drink.
- Hiding alcohol around the house.
- Lose interest in the things you used to enjoy.
- Have mood swings.
- Stop caring for your appearance and hygiene.
- You drink when you’re sad or stressed.
- Feeling irritated or annoyed.
- Can’t concentrate.
- Have sleep problems.
- You keep drinking even though it is causing major problems
- You have alcohol cravings.
- You engage in heavy drinking for a few days in a row.
- You have withdrawal symptoms.
Risks of Drinking in the Morning Before Work
Drinking before work is not a wise practice. Some of the risks of morning drinking include:
- Increased risk of accidents. Because your body is still processing the alcohol from the night before. So, if you drink in the morning you could become impaired and risk getting in a car accident.
- Increased risk of DUI. If you drink in the morning the blood alcohol level (BAC) is bound to build upon what is still in your system. This might lead to a BAC that exceeds legal limits.
- Impacts productivity. Alcohol slows down your thought processes and impairs attention and decision making, which affects work performance when you are going to work drunk.
What Does Treatment for Alcoholism Look Like?
When it becomes clear that you need some help with your drinking problem, you will benefit from an addiction recovery program. There are outpatient or residential treatment options available. Rehab programs combine various treatment elements that help you to manage the disease and begin a new sober lifestyle. Treatment involves the following elements:
- Detox. Step one is to complete detox. Trained detox experts closely monitor withdrawal symptoms as they emerge, and then provide support to help ease discomfort. Detox and withdrawal take about one week on average.
- Psychotherapy. After detox, you begin the treatment phase of recovery. Evidence-based therapies are central to effective rehab programs. CBT is just such a therapy that can help you change the thought and behavior patterns that led to dependence.
- Group therapy. Group sessions led by clinicians help the group practice new coping skills while providing a safe and supportive setting.
- Psychosocial. Recovery tools are taught during treatment. This equips you with new coping skills and better communication techniques to use when you encounter challenges in recovery.
- Holistic activities. Stress is a trigger for relapse. For this reason, most rehabs now include holistic activities in the program. These are methods that teach you how to better manage stress and promote a calm, relaxed state of mind. They include yoga, massage therapy, mindfulness training, art therapy, journaling, and regular exercise.
Benefits of Living in Sobriety
Living a sober lifestyle offers multiple benefits. Not only is your body now free from the toxic effects of alcohol, but your whole demeanor is better. Consider some of the ways you will benefit by living a sober lifestyle:
- Health and wellness. Creating new healthy habits, such as a nutritious diet, getting daily exercise, and getting enough sleep, helps restore wellness.
- Better mental health. Sobriety brings emotional stability. This equates to a more positive mindset and a stable mood state.
- Better financial health. Because you will not be wasting money on alcohol, you will be better off financially. Also, your work performance improves, which helps secure your job.
- Healthier relationships. Making amends with those you have harmed while in alcohol addiction helps to restore and mend relationships.