Alcohol abuse, alcohol addiction, alcohol dependency—with so many terms referencing an alcohol use disorder it may make the actual definition of alcoholism seem murky and confusing. In reality, alcoholism is a complex substance use disorder with various features that help define the severity of the problem, or whether the alcohol use, although excessive, even reaches the clinical definition of the disease.
According to the definition of alcoholism by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, alcoholism is:
- Continued excessive or compulsive use of alcoholic drinks
- a. Chronic, progressive, potentially fatal disorder marked by excessive and usually compulsive drinking leading to psychological and physical dependence or addiction
- Acute alcohol poisoning resulting from the usually rapid consumption of excessive alcoholic beverages
Well, this serves as a starting point in understanding the nuances of alcoholism, but still allows for different interpretations of what exactly constitutes alcoholism. If you are asking yourself “Am I an alcoholic” or “Do I need addiction treatment” then this blog may offer some helpful information.
What Exactly is Alcoholism?
It is difficult to know whether someone is an alcoholic or just
a problem drinker. Some people can abuse alcohol for years without developing alcohol dependence. Others may be high-functioning alcoholics, able to be successful at a career and fulfilling family obligations even though they consume high amounts of alcohol. Eventually, however, abusing alcohol for an extended time period will take a toll one way or another. Health will be impacted, cognitive decline occurs, or there might be a DUI arrest that creates legal headaches—even if the individual never became alcoholic in the classical sense.
Risk Factors For Alcoholism
So why is it that some heavy drinkers become alcoholics and others do not? There are some risk factors for alcoholism that can predispose an individual to become an alcoholic. The genetic component is one such factor. If someone has a strong family history of alcoholism there is a much higher probability that they could also become an alcoholic. A co-occurring mental health disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or generalized anxiety can also result in alcohol dependence, as the individual seeks to numb emotional pain or symptoms of anxiety.
A series of difficult life events, such as losing a loved one, divorce, losing a job, or experiencing or witnessing trauma can all contribute to depending on alcohol to soothe the emotional symptoms that are experienced as a result of the negative events.
So, Am I an Alcoholic?
There are behavioral symptoms that an addiction is forming that can serve as warning signs. These might include:
- Obsessing over when you can drink next or how to obtain the alcohol
- Trying to quit drinking and cannot
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Loss of interest in the activities once enjoyed
- Drinking more and more alcohol as tolerance increases
- Mood swings
- Losing interest in maintaining personal appearance and hygiene
- Concentration problems
- Sleep disturbances
- Alcohol cravings
- When an attempt to quit drinking withdrawal symptoms emerge
10 Signs that Help Answer the Question, “Am I an Alcoholic?”
There are some universal signs that someone has crossed into alcoholism. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) has an online questionnaire that can help you determine if you have a problem with alcohol. Among the points the NCADD includes are:
- You avoid friends and family while drinking
- You consume higher quantities of alcohol as time goes on
- You drink in response to stress, sadness, anger, or disappointment
- You have hand tremors in the morning
- You cannot remember things you said or did the night before
- You are experiencing financial, legal, career, or family problems due to drinking
- Your doctor advised you to cut down on alcohol
- You lie about how much alcohol you drink
- You are preoccupied during the day with drinking or crave alcohol
- You get drunk several days in a row
Treatment for Alcoholism
Getting treatment for an alcohol use disorder is life changing. After completing detox, you will enter into an extended period of active treatment during which you will immerse yourself in a variety of therapeutic activities that all work together to help you overcome the alcoholism. This will include individual talk therapy with a clinical psychotherapist who will guide you in examining any past traumas or emotional pain that might be driving the need to drink. Group therapy sessions allow a peer support system to develop where clients can help each other and share experiences. Medications, such as naltrexone, can be used for the early phase of recovery to help reduce alcohol cravings. Recreational therapies, such as yoga, hiking, exercise sessions, golf, tennis, or surfing can take some pressure off and infuse some social activities during treatment.
Golf Drug Rehab Provides Superior Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment in Southern California
Golf Drug Rehab is a luxury drug and alcohol addiction treatment program in California. The expert and compassionate clinical staff at Golf Drug Rehab is highly trained in detox and addiction treatment for individuals in need of help for an alcohol use disorder. Offering the very latest treatment modalities and three amazing golf courses to help clients enjoy some recreational therapy, Golf Drug Rehab provides the perfect blend of therapy and golf. If you are wondering “Am I an alcoholic?” or have questions about our program, call Golf Drug Rehab today at [phone_number].