How Do I Know If I Have an Addiction to Alcohol?
It can feel like there is a big grey area between casual social drinking and alcoholism. Afterall, many people are able to have a few drinks every now and then without it negatively impacting their relationships, careers and daily life. Rarely is it clear what constitutes a negative impact, though.
If you’ve asked yourself “am I addicted to alcohol?” Finding a definitive answer can be tricky. In this article we’ll look at some comprehensive ways to know if you are struggling with alcohol addiction, and what to do about it.
What is alcoholism?
Alcohol use disorder is a condition characterized by abnormal and uncontrollable drinking patterns. It is also called alcoholism or alcohol addiction, and requires professional treatment.
If you’ve ever struggled with problematic drinking, you might be curious how many drinks a day it takes to be addicted to alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests that if someone chooses to drink, having two or fewer drinks a day for men and one or fewer drinks a day for women is advised. Three or more drinks for women and four or more for men is considered heavy drinking.
While it may be easier to determine an addiction by quantifying behaviors, an addiction can develop whenever a person’s drinking makes normal functioning impossible. Several factors can also impact the way a single drink affects someone, including age, weight, metabolism, liver health, the type of alcohol, the amount of time over which the drink was consumed and so on.
Signs of alcohol addiction
There are numerous signs of alcoholism. While some of them are easy to see, others may be more difficult to pinpoint. Symptoms will look different for each individual and a person may experience signs not listed here.
- Inability to stop drinking
- An increased tolerance to the effects of alcohol
- Drinking more than you plan to
- Attempting to stop drinking and being unable to
- Having cravings to drink
- Struggling to perform at work or school
- Having financial difficulties due to drinking
- Needing to borrow or steal money to drink
- Missing commitments to drink
- Making excuses for or trying to hide drinking
- Needing to drink to feel happy or have fun
- Feeling abnormal when you don’t drink
- Experiencing damage to relationships
- Downplaying or justifying drinking
- Continuing to drink even when it makes work difficult, or causes injury
- Experiencing withdrawal
Generally, for those who are dealing with an alcohol addiction, stopping drinking will result in withdrawal symptoms. Signs of withdrawal can include anxiety, shaking, sweating, headaches, nausea and insomnia.
Risk factors for alcohol addiction
There are many things that can influence someone’s decision to drink heavily. Here are risk factors that may increase your chances of struggling with alcohol use disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Increased drinking over time
- Beginning heavy drinking at an earlier age
- A family history of alcoholism
- Mental illness
- Past trauma
- Environmental factors (like neighborhood and social situation)
What to do if you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism
If you notice that someone is struggling with substance abuse, it can be hard to know where to turn. You might even notice an addiction before the person does, which can make intervention especially difficult. While getting treatment can be a scary first step to take when you or a loved one is struggling with problematic drinking, professional help could save a life.
No one should go on the journey to recovery alone, so the first step in working to reverse alcohol addiction is to get a professional opinion. Once you get started with an addiction specialist, you’ll automatically be connected to the most appropriate services for your needs. Whether you start an inpatient program, rehab or outpatient services, you’ll know you’re getting what you need when you reach out for help from certified and licensed professionals.
A hopeful outlook
While alcoholism doesn’t have a miracle cure, there is hope for healing and recovery. Once you get a professional opinion on the severity of your alcohol use, you can access therapy, medication and lifestyle support to get your freedom back.
If you think you might be struggling with alcohol addiction, find hope and healing with Freedom Detox. Conveniently located near Charlotte, North Carolina, Freedom Detox has all the amenities and professional support you need to feel comfortable in your recovery. Call today to start your journey at 800-475-2312.