You drink throughout the day and may have noticed an increase in your drinking. Sometimes your drinking causes problems at home or work. You’ve tried to stop, but found it difficult because you craved alcohol or had bad symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
If these scenarios apply to you, it may be time to take a closer look at your drinking patterns to determine if you have an alcohol use disorder.
If you’ve ever wondered if you’re an alcoholic, that’s OK. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. The first step is to get rid of the guilt and begin treatment. First, it’s important to know what alcoholism is.
What is alcoholism?
Alcoholism is an outdated term used to refer to the disease of abusing alcohol. This disease is currently referred to as alcohol dependence, alcohol abuse, or alcohol use disorder (AUD). According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol use disorder is a “medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.”
In simpler terms, AUD is when you can’t stop drinking even though it’s causing a low quality of life. AUD covers a number of disorders, including binge drinking and heavy alcohol use.
Signs of an alcohol use disorder
In 2019, over 14 million adults had some type of alcohol use disorder. And unfortunately, many people aren’t aware they have a problem. If you suspect you have an alcohol problem, ask yourself these questions, which come directly from the NIAAA:
- Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer, than you intended?
- More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
- Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over other aftereffects?
- Wanted a drink so badly you couldn’t think of anything else?
- Found that drinking—or being sick from drinking—often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
- Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
- Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
- More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unprotected sex)?
- Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
- Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
- Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, restlessness, nausea, sweating, a racing heart, or a seizure? Or sensed things that were not there?
When to get help for alcohol dependence
If you answered yes to two of the questions above, then you may have a mild alcohol use disorder. If the answer was yes to 4-5 questions, then a moderate problem may be present and it may severe if more than 6 applied to you.
It’s always important to talk to an addiction specialist to see if you have alcohol dependence. Mallard Lake Detox Center, a luxury rehab in Houston, is available 24/7 to assess your situation and determine if one of our treatment programs is right for you. Call 936-800-8025 or complete our contact form to get started.