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Alcohol Addiction and Alcoholism Guide

Alcoholism and Alcohol Addiction Guide

It is our hope that this alcoholism and alcohol addiction guide offers you some insight into this dreadful disease. So many people suffer from alcoholism in the United States. Many of them do so unknowingly.

It is our goal to shed some light upon alcoholism and inform you about the dangers of continuing to drink. If you’re an alcoholic, it’s important for you to be aware of that. You also need to know how important it is for you to get help as soon as possible.

Alcoholism is such a dangerous condition. It is something that can begin at any moment, once you start abusing alcohol. The more you know about alcoholism, the better. You may find that your alcohol use is problematic, and if this is the case, getting help is the solution.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand what alcoholism is. You also need to learn the definition of an alcoholic, and what that might mean for you going forward.

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What is the Alcoholism Definition?

It is so important to know and understand the alcoholism definition. Only then will you be able to determine whether or not it applies to you.

Alcoholism is also called alcohol use disorder, or AUD. It refers to the consumption of alcohol that results in serious physical, mental or social problems. Alcoholism exists when two or more of the following are present:

  • You drink large amounts of alcoholic drinks over a long period of time
  • You have a hard time cutting down on how much you drink
  • Obtaining alcohol and drinking alcohol take up a lot of your time
  • You have a strong desire for alcohol
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages results in you not taking care of your responsibilities
  • Using alcohol causes you social issues
  • Using alcohol causes you physical problems
  • Using alcohol causes you to find yourself in risky situations
  • Alcohol withdrawal symptoms occur when you stop drinking
  • You develop a tolerance to alcohol the longer you use it

Most alcoholics actually find that they identify with more than two of the above. You may agree with that statement. Take a look at the above defining characteristics of alcoholism again. Can you see yourself in any of them?

Alcohol and Alcoholism Guide

Binge Drinking and Heavy Drinking Explained

Alcoholics may frequently think that binge drinking and heavy drinking don’t indicate alcoholism. This actually isn’t true at all. More often than not, these two types of drinking are hallmark characteristics of alcoholism.

Binge drinking refers to the consumption of large amounts of alcohol in short periods of time. This style of drinking is quite popular, worldwide. Binge drinking is usually done in groups, which makes it a well-loved activity among college students.

Most people don’t realize that one doesn’t have to consume a large number of drinks to binge drink. For women, binge drinking involves drinking 4 or more drinks in 2 hours. For men, it involves drinking 5 or more drinks in two hours.

Heavy drinking is also known as at-risk drinking. For men, more than 4 drinks in one day, or more than 14 per week is considered heavy drinking. For women, more than 3 drinks per day or more than 7 per week is heavy drinking.

Both binge drinking and heavy drinking contribute to alcoholism.

Alcoholism Facts and Statistics in the U.S.

Alcoholism has been prevalent in the United States for decades. Each year, the problem seems to only get worse.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:

  • In 2015, more than 86% of people who were ages 18 and older reported drinking alcohol at least once.
  • More than 70% of these individuals admitted to drinking alcohol during the last year.
  • About 56% admitted to drinking alcohol during the last month.
  • Close to 27% of people admitted to binge drinking in the last month.
  • 7% admitted to heavy drinking during the last month.
  • In 2015, more than 15 million adults had an alcohol use disorder.
  • This includes 9.8 million men and 5.3 million women.
  • Only 1.3 million adults received professional treatment for an alcohol use disorder in 2015.
  • Drinking among young people is more prevalent than ever in the United States.
  • In 2015, about 623,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 had an alcohol use disorder.
  • Only 37,000 adolescents received professional treatment for an alcohol use disorder in 2015.

Are you among these statistics? If you are an alcoholic, you very well could be.

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Understanding Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction are commonly used in place of each other. They are actually different terms. If you regularly drink alcohol, you should know what the definition of alcohol abuse is.

Alcohol abuse refers to a pattern of drinking too much alcohol too often. However, for those who abuse alcohol, it has yet to interfere much with their daily lives. Alcohol abusers may participate in binge drinking or heavy drinking on occasion, or even quite often.

The difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism is that with alcohol abuse, the compulsion to drink is absent. Someone who abuses alcohol may even enjoy drinking regularly. However, that person doesn’t feel as though it is needed. In fact, an alcohol abuser may stop drinking abruptly without suffering from any ill effects.

Alcoholism Symptoms Explained and Defined

Sometimes people know when they are suffering from alcoholism. However, people often are not aware of it. You may be one of these individuals. It can be quite helpful to you to know the different signs and symptoms of alcoholism.

Some common alcoholism symptoms include:

  • Not being able to stop drinking
  • Being unable to control how much or how often you drink
  • Having the need to drink more alcohol to get the same effects
  • Going through alcohol withdrawal when you stop drinking
  • Spending a lot of time drinking or recovering from drinking episodes
  • Giving up activities that you once loved so that you can drink
  • Continuing to drink even though it’s harming your relationships
  • Continuing to drink even though it’s causing you health problems
  • Drinking in the mornings
  • Staying drunk for long periods of time
  • Drinking when you’re alone
  • Trying to change what you drink to keep yourself from getting drunk

If you notice any of the above, but you’re not sure you’re an alcoholic, you may be in denial. It’s important to come to terms with alcoholism in your own life. Doing so is the only way you will be able to get help.



Are You Suffering From Alcoholism? Take a Quiz to Get More Information

It could be that you do notice many of the above alcoholism symptoms. However, you still might not be convinced that you’re an alcoholic. It’s normal to need more information. You also want to be sure you have a problem before you seek help, or stop drinking.

You may find it very helpful to take an alcohol addiction quiz. This quiz will ask you some more detailed questions about your alcohol use. You’ll even be able to get your results right away once you’re finished.

Once you have your results, you’ll have a much better idea about your relationship with alcohol.

Alcohol Addiction Quiz

Three Stages

The Three Stages of Alcoholism

Alcoholism isn’t something that happens to most people overnight. It’s actually a condition that occurs in three stages. Even so, please keep in mind that once you are in the first stage of alcoholism, you need treatment.

Common Alcohol Health Issues

The Health Issues Alcoholics Commonly Face

Alcoholics frequently suffer from social consequences because of their alcohol use. However, many of them fail to realize the health complications that can accompany alcoholism.

There are many different health problems that alcoholics frequently face during the course of their lives. Some of these health issues can be reversed when alcohol is stopped. For others, they may have to deal with the ramifications of them for the rest of their lives.

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Co-Occurring Disorders and Alcohol Addiction Often Go Hand in Hand

As you have learned, people suffering from mental health conditions are more at risk for alcoholism. These mental health conditions are called co-occurring disorders when they happen alongside addictions.

There are many different types of co-occurring disorders that would make someone more susceptible to alcoholism. It is so important for you to find out if you suffer from one of them. In order to recover successfully, the co-occurring disorder must be treated at the same time as your alcohol addiction. Otherwise, both conditions are likely to persist.

Is Alcoholism a Disease?

Do Alcoholics Have a Disease?

This is a question that gets asked all the time. People frequently want to know if alcohol addiction is a disease. The answer is that yes, it is.

Any type of addiction is a primary disease of brain reward, motivation and memory. An alcohol addiction is a chronic and relapsing condition that never fully goes away. However, that does not mean that you must suffer from the active addiction for the rest of your life.

Continuing to get treatment for alcoholism in some form may allow you to remain in remission or recovery. Of course, the risk for relapse will still remain. However, that doesn’t mean you have to give in and drink.

It’s probably easier to liken alcohol addiction to another disease, such as diabetes. Someone with diabetes must continually receive treatment for their condition. This involves taking their blood sugar levels daily, visiting the doctor and using certain medications. When any of these ceases, the individual is at risk for a relapse. It is similar with alcoholism.

Ways to Recover from Alcoholism

It’s possible that you have seen yourself in a lot of the information we’ve gone over so far. Maybe you feel that you might be suffering from some type of undiagnosed co-occurring disorder. Or, it’s possible that you can now recognize many of the symptoms of alcoholism in your own life.

What you may not realize is that there are a number of ways that you can recover from alcoholism. Not every method will work well for every person. It’s important for you to find the method that is right for you.

Professional Alcohol Addiction Treatment Options

The best way to recover from alcoholism is to get professional treatment at an alcohol rehab. Alcohol treatment centers are available to help in a number of different ways. Also, there are different forms of alcohol treatment you may want to consider.

You might be someone who would benefit from any of the following:

  • Inpatient alcohol treatment
  • Outpatient alcohol treatment
  • Intensive outpatient treatment for alcoholism
  • Long-term rehab for alcoholics
  • Alcohol detox treatment

You should know that alcohol detox is considered by most to be a requirement when stopping the use of alcohol. This is because of the dangers associated with alcohol withdrawal. You want to be sure you’re stopping your alcohol use appropriately.

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Help and Assistance For Families of Alcoholics

It’s very difficult to cope when you have an alcoholic in your immediate family. This is such a source of stress for so many families. You are probably very worried about your loved one, and yet, you don’t know what you can do.

It’s important for you to know that there are ways for you to help him or her. You may not know how to proceed, or what to say, but we can help you.

Is Alcohol Overdose Possible?

It is possible to overdose on alcohol, and this is usually referred to as alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning can be deadly, and it requires immediate medical intervention.

Sometimes when people relapse back into drinking, they will drink too much at one time. They may be consuming the amount of alcohol that they once used to drink. What they don’t realize is that their bodies can no longer handle that much at once. In situations like these, alcohol poisoning is often the result.

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning might include:

  • Becoming very confused
  • Experiencing a drop in body temperature
  • Having pale skin, or skin that is tinted blue
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Problems with breathing
  • Vomiting and the potential of aspiration

In some cases, it’s possible for the individual to suffer from a heart attack after alcohol poisoning. The person may also become dehydrated or suffer from a drop in blood sugar levels.

Getting Help for Alcoholism Right Away

If you are an alcoholic, you could be suffering needlessly. Maybe you’re in a situation where you don’t know what to do. You might not have realized that there were different ways for you to get help. Regardless of what your situation is, it’s important for you to know that alcohol treatment is available.

Alcoholism treatment will address your unique needs, no matter what they may be. If you are suffering from a co-occurring disorder and alcoholism, the right treatment can allow you to recover. You’ll find that alcohol rehab is one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. You’ll learn everything you need to learn to get sober and remain sober.

Do you have questions about alcoholism or alcohol addiction? If you do, we’d love to answer them for you. Please contact us today. 

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