Alcohol consumption has become a fixture of American social life. Entire movies are focused on drinking in excess; some are even produced around just a momentary aspect of drinking (The Hangover) or the rehab and recovery process. TV shows such as Mom focus on the past alcoholism of a cast that is a part of Alcoholics Anonymous, usually glamorizing some of the tales that would be frightening in reality. Commercials make it clear that drinking is just something that you do in conjunction with anything at any time. But, how can you tell “Am I just a social drinker or am I an alcoholic?” First, it’s important to know what makes an addiction different from enjoying drinking alcohol.
Find help for any addiction with drug and alcohol detox programs in South Florida.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is when someone can no longer control their use of alcohol, despite the negative consequences. They also often experience emotional distress and physical symptoms when discontinuing use.
In order to be provided a solid “Yes” to “Am I an alcoholic?”, you must meet any two of the following criteria within a 12-month period:
- Drinking larger quantities of alcohol, or for a longer duration, than intended
- Not being able to abstain despite the desire to do so
- Spending a lot of time using and recovering from alcohol
- Strong cravings
- Being unable to fulfill major obligations in your home, work, or academic life for alcohol-related reasons
- Giving up on enjoyable recreation due to alcohol use
- Continuing to abuse alcohol though it is affecting personal and social relationships
- Continuing to drink though it is likely causing physical or psychological problems
- Drinking while engaged in a dangerous activity, such as driving
- Having a high tolerance
- Developing withdrawal symptoms when without alcohol for hours
If you’ve answered yes to the above criteria, reach out to an alcohol detox center for help. For those who haven’t gotten to the part of experiencing major problems in life, yet, due to alcohol consumption are considered at low risk if within the following amounts:
- Women: 3 drinks on a single day and no more than 7 per week
- Men: 4 drinks on a single day and no more than 14 per week
What Can Alcoholism Lead To?
Alcohol can affect each system in the body. Heavy alcohol consumption over the long haul will impact the body, alcoholic or not. Though, addiction will almost certainly be formed if consumed regularly in large quantities. Heavy drinking is quite detrimental to physical and psychological health and the fourth leading preventable cause of death. The most common maladies caused by alcohol include:
- Liver disease
- Cancer, especially of the stomach, liver, mouth, colon, and rectum
- Ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems
- Immune system dysfunction
- Brain damage
- Heart disease
Though not medical conditions, alcoholism can also lead to criminal records, loss of driving privileges, and divorce.
Am I An Alcoholic?
Not many can accurately answer that question for you. Alcoholism is a self-diagnosed disease that you can’t treat unless you acknowledge what is there. Sometimes, it can be tough to know that someone is an alcoholic due to the signs being kept under control. High-functioning alcoholics are very common. Since the signs listed, above, can seem almost so volatile that they would be near impossible to miss, someone with a great photograph life can slip through the cracks. Signs to look for include:
- Joking about being a raging alcoholic at parties
- Denying the quantity of alcohol consumption to others
- Morning drinking, or a lot of solo drinking
- Loved ones are making excuses for your drinking
A litmus test that some use is if you are drinking so much that you are seriously asking yourself “Am I an alcoholic?”, then you may already be.
What Do I Do?
If you are concerned that this may describe you or someone you love, contact Summit Detox to learn more about alcohol addiction and treatment right now. If you would like to get help for substance abuse, call us at 866.341.0638.