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Who Gets to Decide Whether I am an Alcoholic or Not?

Who Gets to Decide Whether I am an Alcoholic or Not?

There are many questions and opinions about alcohol and addiction. Sometimes people are confused about consumption guidelines and wonder if they fall into the category of being a problem drinker who struggles with alcoholism. There are some clues and cues as to whether a person has a drinking problem.

Drinking Habits Versus Addiction

When a person goes out on weekends to have drinks with friends at dinner, there is a fine line between having too much to drink and just enjoying an evening out. It depends on each individual person but also how much is consumed in what period of time. Having a drink with friends can be fun, promote social interaction, or be a distraction from daily stresses of life. Sometimes regular drinking habits fall into the trap of addiction before the person even realizes it has happened. It can help to evaluate drinking habits to see if there is a problem that needs addressing. If drinking causes problems, abuse, or dependency, there may be additional support and services needed to regain control of the person’s life.

Signs of Abuse

No one person gets to decide if a person has problem with alcohol; it comes down to evaluating drinking behaviors to see what comes up over a period of time. Typically, alcohol abuse is said to exist if at least one of the following four points applies over a one year period:

  • Increasingly neglect responsibilities at home, school, or work due to drinking behavior including late arrival, absences, bad job performance, school suspension, and neglecting the home
  • Drinking in situations where it is dangerous like driving a car or operating machinery
  • Having more than one brush with the law due to drinking
  • Continue drinking in spite of consequences or worsening behavior involving drinking

Signs of Addiction

Many people argue about what constitutes addiction. An individual is considered dependent or addicted to alcohol if three or more of the following have taken place over the course of a year:

  • Tolerance
  • Drink more and more to get the same effect
  • Withdrawal
  • Have at least two withdrawal symptoms when drinking stops
  • Sweating or increased heart rate
  • Shaky hands
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Seeing things that aren’t there
  • Epileptic seizures
  • Anxiety
  • Drink more or for longer than planned
  • Have tried to quit but can’t
  • Find there are fewer or no social contacts and life is generally less enjoyable unless drinking is involved

These are only some of the signs of addiction to alcohol. The best way to tell if addiction is a problem is to ask loved ones. Check in with friends and family to see what they think about your behavior, evaluate it, then come up with a plan to get help for problem drinking such as detox, rehab, and recovery programs.

Serenity provides a safe space to recover from addiction to alcohol and other substances. It is a difficult journey to take alone, which is why we are here to help you. Let us help you recover from addiction and seek the resources you need to keep you clean and sober. Call us 24/7 at our toll-free number: 866-294-9401