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FAQ: Am I an Alcoholic?

Am I an alcoholic? This is a question that so many people wrestle with. You may have actually found this page because you’re wondering the same thing. This is a question you need to get an answer to.

If you do have a problem with alcohol, getting treatment needs to be your top priority. The right kind of alcohol rehab program can give you the tools you need to quit drinking successfully. However, the first step is to get your questions answered about alcoholism.

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What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a condition that is diagnosed when someone has become dependent upon alcohol.

It is a disease that is characterized by:

  • A loss of control over alcohol
  • Cravings and a strong desire to drink
  • Physical withdrawal symptoms when not drinking
  • The need to drink larger amounts in order to feel the same effects
  • An obsession with consuming alcohol

When someone suffers from alcoholism, they’re said to have an alcohol use disorder. This is a condition that affects about 18 million adults in the United States. For these individuals, drinking excessively has caused them a lot of harm. It affects every aspect of their lives in some way.

Alcoholism will never go away on its own. It’s not possible for alcoholics to simply put down the drink and walk away. It is a condition that requires alcohol addiction treatment in order for recovery to be effective.

What is an Alcoholic?

An alcoholic is an individual who chronically obsesses over drinking. They consume large amounts of alcohol in each sitting. However, the problem is about so much more than just how much they drink.

Am I an Alcoholic?

An alcoholic has an extremely unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

It’s hard for them to think about anything else. Drinking is a huge part of their life, and it permeates everything. Alcoholics may:

  • Drink when they wake up in the morning
  • Hide it from their loved ones
  • Lie about how much or how often they drink
  • Avoid events where drinking isn’t allowed
  • Consume it prior to going anywhere whether alcohol will be served or not

Once you’re an alcoholic, there really is no turning back. Quitting drinking is very difficult to do on your own, and most people can’t manage it. It’s a problem that requires an alcohol rehab program before it will improve.

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Are All Types of Drinking a Problem?

No, not all types of drinking are a problem. In fact, most people are able to drink occasionally without any incident. Sometimes people may get carried away when they’re drinking, and accidentally consume too much. Even this is usually OK. The only problem is that a hangover may result.

In these types of situations, alcohol use isn’t really a problem at all. It becomes a problem once it becomes an obsession. Let’s talk about some of the different forms of drinking in more detail.

According to the CDC, for some people, there is no safe level of alcohol consumption. Anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer or liver disease should not drink. Also, some studies have shown that moderate use may have some health benefits. It’s possible that it can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Even so, many of these studies have been inconclusive. Most people are able to consume a small amount without a problem. There are people who enjoy a glass of wine for dinner or a beer after work. In these cases, moderate drinking isn’t harmful at all. It’s when this gets out of hand that there becomes a cause for concern.

Unfortunately, not everyone drinks moderately. Some people regularly participate in heavy drinking. The CDC defines this type of alcohol use as consuming 15 or more drinks per week for men. For women, it is considered drinking more than 8 drinks per week.

Most people who drink heavily don’t meet the criteria for alcoholism. However, that doesn’t mean that their drinking patterns won’t progress. They can, and in many people, they do. Heavy drinking can also be dangerous in the short-term. People who drink too much at risk for injuring themselves or someone else. They may drink and drive, which could result in a fatal accident or an arrest.

Most people don’t consider binge drinking to be a problem at all. This type of alcohol use is typically associated with younger people, and it’s popular on college campuses. The goal with binge drinking is to become heavily intoxicated in a very short time.

Binge drinking is usually done in groups, and it’s popular at parties. Binges can last several hours, or even more than one day. It is defined as consuming 5 or more drinks within two hours for men, and 4 or more drinks for women.

Contrary to popular belief, binge drinking is a serious public health problem. It is associated with serious medical issues, such as:

  • Heart problems
  • Digestion issues
  • Blood disorders
  • Immune system deficiency
  • Neurological problems

Binge drinking can also lead to certain psychiatric disorders over time. Anxiety and depression are common in those who regularly binge on alcohol.

Is Alcohol Abuse a Cause for Concern?

Alcohol is a drug, and this fact should never be ignored. Unfortunately, it’s considered to be safe by most people. It’s legal to drink in the United States unless you’re under the age of 21. It is also widely available at grocery stores, liquor stores and restaurants. To make matters worse, consuming it is socially acceptable, even when people drink too much.

None of these facts mean that alcohol use is safe; especially when drinking excessively. People who abuse it typically think that they can do so without consequences. They feel that alcoholism is something that happens to other people, and it won’t happen to them. Of course, they couldn’t be more wrong.

The truth is that the more you abuse alcohol, the closer you come to becoming an alcoholic. Gender does not matter because both men and women abuse alcohol. It may take a few months, or several years, but unless the abuse is stopped, alcoholism will result.

There is some good news. There are some warning signs you can look for to determine if your abuse of alcohol is a problem. You should probably re-evaluate your drinking habits if you have ever experienced:

  • Blackouts or short-term memory loss after drinking too much
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Feeling as though you need to drink in order to relax or handle your stress
  • Choosing to drink over taking care of your other responsibilities
  • Isolation from your family and friends
  • Feeling as though you needed to keep your use a secret
  • A hangover even when you haven’t been drinking
  • Choosing to spend more time with people who drink so you can too, without feeling judged

If you’ve done any of the above, it’s a sign that you should take a step back. You may only be abusing alcohol at this point. However, that doesn’t mean you can continue. You could be very close to becoming an alcoholic. The best course of action for you at this point is to stop drinking entirely.

Abusing alcohol doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go to rehab. However, it could mean that there are deeper problems that you should address. If you’re someone who drinks to alleviate stress, or even to just feel normal, you should be concerned.

It’s vital for you to address why you drink so much. You might be suffering from anxiety or depression. If you are, these issues need to be treated by a professional. It would benefit you to talk with a counselor who specializes in treating alcohol abuse. By getting counseling, you could potentially head off alcoholism before it has a chance to set in.

10 Signs That You May be an Alcoholic

If you are an alcoholic, you have a much bigger problem to address. Alcoholism is going to require treatment. However, first you need to determine whether or not you’re an alcoholic.

There are 10 major signs that could indicate that you suffer from alcoholism. These signs are:

  1. Trying to cut down on your drinking unsuccessfully.
  2. Feeling annoyed when other people criticize how much or how often you drink.
  3. Feeling guilty about your alcohol use.
  4. Feeling like you need to drink when you wake up in order to steady your nerves.
  5. Continuing to drink even though it’s causing you health problems, or making mental health conditions worse.
  6. Regularly consuming more than you intend to.
  7. Losing interest in your hobbies or other activities since you started using alcohol.
  8. Going through withdrawal when you’re not drinking.
  9. Having cravings for alcohol.
  10. Experiencing problems with the law that can be directly linked to your use of alcohol.

Can you identify with any of the above? You don’t have to have all of the signs of alcoholism to be an alcoholic. Most people don’t. In fact, if you have even one of them, you should be worried. You may want to consider talking with a professional to get his or her opinion. Many alcohol rehab facilities offer free addiction assessments for this reason.

Debunking the Alcohol Addiction Myth

There are several types of addiction treatment options available to pilots who want to stop using drugs or alcohol.

People often assume that alcoholism has to look a certain way. They believe that alcoholics have to be homeless people without jobs and families. They certainly can’t be high-powered executives or professionals. Unfortunately, this myth only perpetuates the problem of alcoholism.

The fact is that anyone can be an alcoholic. Those who work in executive positions are at an even bigger risk for alcoholism in some ways. Alcoholics are:

  • Stay at home moms
  • Lawyers
  • Doctors
  • Pilots
  • Teachers
  • Construction workers

This disease comes in all shapes and sizes, and it can happen to anyone. If you think that you’re immune to becoming an alcoholic, you’re wrong. There are actually five types of alcoholics, and you may fit into one of them.

5 Types of Alcoholics

Alcoholism is not a one-size-fits-all disease. It can look different in everyone. The five different types of alcoholics are:

  • Young Adult Type: These individuals are in their early 20s on average. They typically binge drink, and they drink less often than other alcoholics.
  • Young Antisocial Type: The average age for this group is 26 years old. Most of them suffer from an antisocial personality disorder. They typically start drinking at an early age, and become alcoholics by the age of 18.
  • Functional Type: These individuals are middle-aged. They usually have good jobs and they work hard. They have good families and are educated people.
  • Intermediate Familial Type: Those in this group may have a family history of alcoholism. They may start drinking in their late teens, and eventually become alcoholics.
  • Chronic Severe Type: This group is largely made up of men. It is a rare group, making up only 9% of all alcoholics in the United States. Sometimes they will also be drug addicts.

How to Quit Drinking Safely

By this point, you may have decided that you probably are an alcoholic.

You need to know how to stop drinking safely.

You may desire to stop drinking more than anything in the world. However, in order to do it right, you need to know what to expect, and the steps to take.

Alcohol withdrawal should be expected when you quit drinking. Please understand that withdrawing from alcohol can be dangerous. This is why you should never attempt it on your own.

Some of the more common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Symptoms of anxiety and/or depression
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Chronic headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • A rapid heart rate
  • Becoming pale
  • Problems with sleeping
  • Hand tremors

Sometimes withdrawal becomes severe, and this can happen to anyone. When this occurs, it’s known as delirium tremens, or DTs. Some of the symptoms that can occur include:

  • Extreme agitation
  • Developing a fever
  • Having hallucinations or delusions
  • Becoming severely confused
  • Having seizures

Once you develop DTs, withdrawal becomes a medical emergency. These symptoms can be fatal, so you need to get help right away.

It’s not wise to attempt to stop drinking cold turkey. Unfortunately, many people do, and they’re not prepared for withdrawal. They’re much more likely to develop DTs and require immediate medical help. Also, these withdrawal symptoms are difficult. Cravings can become too much for most people to handle. When this occurs, they will often go back to drinking.

An alcohol treatment facility is fully equipped to provide support for recovering alcoholics. They can help people get through the withdrawal process much easier than quitting on their own. Some people may require medications in order to withdraw without complications.

Additionally, rehab offers counseling and support. These are both the keys to overcoming this disease. Without them, the individual is very likely to continue drinking even after withdrawal has ended.

Yes, alcoholics definitely need to go through detox. Alcohol detox is a process that aids in withdrawal. Symptoms can be controlled through medications or by holistic treatments. Sometimes they can even be completely eliminated.

Detoxification also helps to prevent delirium tremens. This is especially important for someone who is at risk for this type of withdrawal.

How to Avoid Becoming an Alcoholic

The best way to avoid becoming an alcoholic is to stop drinking if you’re abusing it. Evaluate yourself for the signs of alcohol abuse and take action today. Putting it off is only going to allow it to progress even more. Talking with a counselor can help you understand why you’ve come to depend on alcohol.

Where to Turn if You Need Treatment for Alcoholism

If you’re in need of an alcohol rehab facility, we’re here to help you with that. At Northpoint Recovery, we are very experienced with working with alcoholics. We understand the disease of alcoholism, and we know the best ways to treat it successfully.

You’ll find that we’re very attentive to your needs as an individual. We know that everyone is different, and what you need might be different from what someone else needs to recover. We offer our patients the best in detoxification services right here in our facility. Afterwards, you’ll be able to start our alcohol treatment program. This will include counseling and many different forms of therapy.

Alcoholism doesn’t have to continue to consume your life. With the right kind of support, you can stop drinking and recover. We would love to help you every step of the way. 

Do you believe that you may be an alcoholic? Do you need to find out for sure? Please contact us so we can walk you through that process.

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