Questionnaire: Are You a Stress-Related Drinker?
Stressed drinkers consume alcohol because they believe it will help them calm down and give them tools to regain control of their lives.
Who Are Stress-Related Drinkers?A stress-related drinker will typically be middle-class and have, or believe they have, a stressful home life or pressurised job. Their circumstances give them a feeling of being burdened with responsibility and they drink because they value the feeling of ease and relief that alcohol gives them.
Executive Pressures And Perfect ParentsThe middle rank executive or the small business man or woman may feel that the pressure on them is both upwards and downwards: upwards from their team or employees and downwards from senior executives or the demands of competition in the marketplace. For some this kind of stress is beneficial, giving them the adrenaline charge to perform better, but for others it’s draining and alcohol puts the pressure into a more relaxed perspective. This kind of drinking can become a habit.
On the other hand, tired mothers (and increasingly, stay at home fathers) have begun to employ the phrase, ‘Use wine time to handle whine time’ and increasingly parents collecting children from their friends’ houses or sharing childcare responsibilities will do so with alcohol as a supporting player. In 2010, the magazine ‘Working Mother’ concluded that the number of female alcohol abusers aged 30 and 40 in the USA has doubled in a decade.
A. Does the number of alcoholic drinks you have in a day increase when you are under stress?
- Yes, but only at really difficult times like exams or family get-togethers
- Yes, on a regular basis such as when the credit card bill is due, the end of the month at work, when dealing with new customers, or during weekends and school holidays.
B. How often do you have six or more drinks on one occasion?
- Never On special occasions like birthdays and family festivals
- A couple of times a week.
C. How often have do you find that you can’t stop drinking once you start?
- Sometimes, when things are particularly good or bad
- Quite often, whenever stress creeps into the picture.
D. Do you have feelings of guilt or remorse after drinking?
- Only rarely and if I’ve done something really stupid or got a terrible hangover
- Less often than monthly
- Very often, usually when I’ve felt stress or frustration that led me to drink in the first place.
E. Has a relative, family member or friend suggested you cut down on your drinking in the past six months?
- Yes, but only in a jokey way
- Yes, more than once or more than one person has suggested this.
Scoring The QuestionsMainly 1s – you have good attitudes to stress and drinking.
Mainly 2s – At present you are not succumbing to stress-related drinking but it has the potential to overwhelm your normal drinking habits. Consider trying a different route to manage stress such as meditation, exercise, calling a good friend for a chat or watching a funny TV programme or film to change your mood.
Mainly 3s – you are likely to already be a stress-related drinker and this could spill over into severe alcohol abuse if left untreated. Talk to a health professional about how much you drink or, if you are in a union, talk to a union rep about workplace issues that are causing stress.
If you are a parent at home with children, talk to your GP about the amount you drink to see if it is cause for concern and then try to change some of the circumstances that cause you to drink so that you break the pattern of drinking when stressed.