Alcohol is the most widely consumed chemical substance in the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2018 it was found that around 52.8 percent of Americans over the age of 18 consumed alcohol regularly. Of course, not everyone who consumes alcohol on a regular (even daily) basis will meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines alcohol use disorder as, “A medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.” Those who struggle with alcoholism continue to drink despite the fact that alcohol is wreaking havoc in their lives.
If you or someone you know has been questioning their relationship with alcohol, there is a chance that professional treatment has become necessary. Once a person transitions from alcohol misuse to alcohol dependence, they will have an extremely difficult time quitting on their own. Fortunately, there are numerous treatment options available, and making a full recovery is entirely possible regardless of how severe an alcohol use disorder has become. To learn more about the treatment options available to you, contact us today.
Social Drinking VS Alcohol Misuse
Alcohol consumption is deeply rooted in American culture. Not only is it uncommon to come across an American adult who has never consumed alcohol in any capacity, but it seems fairly uncommon to meet a person who doesn’t drink regularly. For most, alcohol consumption is merely a part of life — one that doesn’t cause any issues, and one that can be successfully managed. Most people fall into the category of “social drinker,” meaning they drink socially and take care of business the remainder of the time. This might look like having a few drinks at an event, like a birthday party, football game, or work function. It might look like enjoying a nice glass of wine with dinner or hitting up happy hour after work with colleagues once a week. Social drinkers typically don’t face the same issues that a person struggling with an alcohol use disorder might face. They don’t black out, get into fights, struggle to stop drinking, or cause rifts in interpersonal relationships while intoxicated. But then, not every individual who struggles with an alcohol use disorder will do these things, either. How can you tell when help has become necessary?
How Do I Know I’m an Alcoholic?
How do you know whether or not you’re an alcoholic? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (or DSM-V) lists several diagnostic criteria that must be in place before a person is officially diagnosed with alcoholism. If you are still unsure, you are encouraged to reach out to your primary care physician or make an appointment with an addiction specialist for more information.
Diagnostic Criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder
If you answer “yes” to two or more of the questions listed below, there is a good chance you are suffering from a diagnosable substance use disorder.
- Do you often drink more than you intend to?
- Have you tried to cut back or quit entirely with limited or short-term success?
- Does drinking seem to be taking over your life; do you spend a significant amount of time obtaining alcohol, using alcohol, and recovering from its effects?
- Have you been struggling to take care of your basic day-to-day responsibilities because of your alcohol consumption?
- Continuing to drink alcohol despite problems in interpersonal relationships.
- Have you started to neglect activities you previously enjoyed because of your drinking?
- Do you find yourself engaging in risk-taking behavior as a result of your drinking, like driving while intoxicated or going home from a night of drinking with strangers?
- Have you failed to cut back on drinking despite related physical or psychological consequences?
- Have you started to develop a physical tolerance, meaning a larger amount of alcohol needs to be consumed in order for desired effects to be produced.
- Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking suddenly?
Getting Help for Alcoholism
The first step when it comes to getting help for alcoholism is admitting to yourself that your drinking has become an issue. This can be difficult to do, especially if you tend to surround yourself with people who drink like you do. We encourage you to take an honest look at the ways in which drinking has started to affect your life. Have you tried to stop on your own, only to find yourself right back where you started within a matter of weeks, days, or even hours? If so, there is help available. It is important to understand that because alcohol use disorders range in severity, the best treatment option for you might not be the best treatment option for someone else. Fortunately, you have many options to choose from when it comes to overcoming alcohol misuse and dependence. Contact us today to learn more about the treatment options available in your immediate area.
Going to Rehab
Going to inpatient rehab is an ideal option for those who have been suffering from a moderate or severe alcohol use disorder, or who have an alcohol use disorder and co-occurring issue like an underlying mental illness or unresolved trauma.
The 12 Step model of recovery is a great option for those who are ready to come to terms with a drinking problem and who don’t require professional attention, like help with alcohol withdrawal in a designated detox center. In many cases, a person will choose to follow inpatient treatment up with a comprehensive aftercare plan that includes ongoing participation in Alcoholics Anonymous.
It can be difficult to know exactly when professional help has become necessary. If you are still unsure whether or not some degree of professional care is right for you, reach out to us today. You will be put in touch with an experienced addiction specialist who will be able to point you in the right direction. Regardless of which treatment route you decide to take, we are standing by to answer any additional questions you might have. If you or someone you love has been battling alcoholism or drug addiction, the first step on the road to recovery is always reaching out for help. Once you take this initial step you will be put in touch with someone who can offer you advice on how to proceed. Contact us today to learn more.