Know the Warning Signs of Problem Drinking That Can Lead to Alcoholism
A problem drinker is on the road to answering “yes” to the question “Am I an alcoholic?” when symptoms described above begin to cascade into each other. The warning signs are common and they include:
- temporary blackouts or short-term memory lapses
- mood swings involving extreme irritability
- rationalizing drinking with excuses
- making drinking the first choice ahead of important responsibilities
- emotional withdrawal or isolation from friends and family
- drinking alone or secretly
- experiencing hangovers when no drinking
- a change in personal appearance and choice in casual acquaintances
The question: “Am I an Alcoholic?”
You may not be experiencing the foregoing warning signs (yet). But if you have to ask the question, “Am I an alcoholic?” you are probably having a problem with alcohol. Whether you are at the very early stages of the disease or you should be looking into our alcohol rehab program in New Hampshire will depend on how you answer the following questions:
- Do you regularly drink more than you plan to?
- Have you been unsuccessful at stopping drinking previously?
- Has your drinking has interfered with your personal relationships?
- Do you spend a lot of time looking for opportunities to drink or dealing with hangovers?
- Has your drinking and its after-effects have kept you from meeting your responsibilities?
- Does your drinking take priority over activities that you used to enjoy?
- Is your drinking causing health problems, but you continue to drink any way?
- Do you drink in risky situations, e.g., while driving?
- Must drink more to get the same effect?
- Do you often have cravings or urges to drink alcohol?
- When you stop drinking, do you experience mental or physical discomfort?
Am I Only Abusing Or Am I Dependent on Alcohol?
Now compare and blend your answers to the question “Am I an alcoholic” with the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse and dependence:
Alcohol abuse is “a maladaptive pattern of drinking, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress” demonstrated by at least one of the following occurring within a 12-month period:
1. reoccurring alcohol use that results in failure to meet obligations at work, home or school
2. engaging in hazardous activities while under the influence of alcohol, e.g., driving or operating machinery
3. legal troubles brought on by alcohol, e.g., DUIs, disorderly conduct
4. continuing alcohol use despite the problems it causes
Am I an Alcoholic, And Should I Get Help?
Knowing the signs of alcohol dependence is the next step in answering the question “Am I an alcoholic.” According to DSM-IV, alcohol dependence is a more serious matter. Alcohol dependence is “a maladaptive pattern of drinking, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress as manifested by at least three or more of the following occurring at any time in the same 12-month period”:
1. a need for ever-increasing amounts of alcohol to achieve the same effect
2. experiencing alcohol withdrawal effects or drinking to avoid withdrawal
3. drinking more than intended and over a longer period than originally planned
4. a strong desire or at least one unsuccessful effort to control drinking
5. reducing, or giving up completely, important social, occupational, or leisure activities because of drinking
6. spending a great deal of time and effort to procure and use alcohol and recover from the effects of drinking
7. continuing to drink despite knowing that alcohol is causing persistent problems, which are likely to worsen with continued drinking
Often the lines of knowing the difference between problem drinking (alcohol abuse) and full-blown alcoholism are blurry. One of the diabolical symptoms of the disease of alcoholism is the sufferer’s denial and refusal to seek help.
Whether the sufferer must hit rock bottom or be forced into treatment with an intervention, the bottom line is that the alcoholic’s disease encompasses the inability to manage drinking habits. The first step is the admission that the alcoholic is powerless over alcohol and life has become unmanageable.
Granite Recovery Centers Can Help
Don’t let the disease of alcohol addiction take control of your life. Each of our drug and alcohol treatment centers has residential and outpatient treatment, along with sober living and aftercare programs to help you start on the road to recovery and sobriety. Call Granite Recovery Centers today at 855.712.7784 to get the help you deserve!