Do I Have a Drinking Problem? 10 Signs You Might Be Suffering From Alcoholism

do i have a drinking problem

Your friends invite you out for drinks after a long, exhausting work week before the holidays. You hesitate – palms sweaty knowing that you had two drinks in the morning…and two more during your lunch break. Now you’re wondering, do I have a drinking problem? 

Every day, 261 Americans die as a result of excessive alcohol use. Most American adults consume alcohol at least once in their lifetime. In a Johns Hopkins-University of Maryland-Baltimore survey, 60.1% of participants reported drinking more alcohol after March 1, 2020. Among them, 6.7% will develop alcohol use disorder. 25.8% of people aged 18 years and older report binge drinking in the past 30 days. 

10 Signs That You Might Be Struggling With Alcoholism:

  1. Lack of control – This refers to how much and how often you drink each day. When do you start drinking and at what point do you stop?
  2. Craving – Do you have a strong craving for alcoholic drinks?
  3. Loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed –  Have you noticed that you do not engage in any activities that do not involve drinking alcohol?
  4. Alcohol-seeking behavior – Do you find that alcohol has become something that you need just to get through the day or stay sane?
  5. Change in weight or appetite – While some people may lose their appetites when they are drinking, others may eat more to “drown” their sorrows.
  6. Having an intense fear of losing control over your drinking habits – Have you become afraid that even one drink will lead to uncontrollable, binge-like drinking?
  7. Can’t stop drinking despite having problems with work, school, family, relationships, health, etc.?
  8. Do people tell me that they are concerned with my alcohol consumption?
  9. Have you found that your peers make jokes about you being intoxicated constantly?
  10. Do you find yourself increasingly engaging in risky behaviors or recovering from alcohol-related accidents?

If the things most important to you do no longer matter because of alcohol use, do speak up! According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 34.1% report binge drinking at least once; 7.0% report extreme binge drinking. 45.7% report increased stress as a reason for their increased drinking. Other reasons for increased drinking include increased alcohol availability (34.4%) and boredom (30.1%).

What’s the Difference Between Alcohol Dependence and Alcohol Addiction?

Do you drink alcohol every day? How do you feel when you do? What do your family or friends think about it? If those questions make you nervous, it may be time to take a look at whether your drinking problem needs professional help.

Many people have a few drinks during the week, and some even enjoy a cocktail on their way home from work. But there are also many thousands of Americans – including teenagers – who struggle with alcoholism. It’s important to understand the difference between being a casual drinker and being an alcoholic.

Alcohol dependence can be described as when a person participates in alcohol consumption but does not develop the symptoms of an alcohol use disorder. These individuals can drink, sometimes in large amounts, yet don’t need alcohol to continue to function. Alcohol addiction is the next phase when the person can’t attain normalcy without a drink. They may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms without the presence of alcohol in their systems.

Worldwide, up to 3.3 million people die every year as a result of alcohol abuse. Alcohol-related deaths account for at least 5.3% (some estimate as high as 6.0%) of the world’s deaths. Alcohol causes 13.5% of deaths among 20- to 39-year-olds. Men are 3 times as likely as women to die as a consequence of alcohol abuse.

What are the Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Addiction?

The long-term effects of alcohol addiction on the body do not end with death. While alcohol addiction is considered a mental illness, there are many physical symptoms of the disease that manifest themselves over time.

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that can impact a user’s health through various internal systems such as the liver. Alcohol can cause damage to brain cells, alter how the digestive system works, and impact various other parts of the body leading to complications.

The impairment in cognitive function is referred to as progressive neurodegenerative disorder (or PND). Alcohol addiction destroys brain cells at a rapid rate starting during adolescence when individuals do not have fully developed brains yet.

PND has been associated with:

  • Memory loss
  • Poor concentration skills
  • Poor attention span
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Impaired judgment
  • Mood disorders including depression and anxiety

Signs That a Person Is Dealing With an Alcohol Use Disorder

Signs that indicate alcoholism include:

  • Drinking before noon
  • Inability to stop after one drink
  • Increased tolerance to alcohol
  • Withdrawal when not drinking
  • Attempting to stop drinking unsuccessfully
  • Difficulty managing daily responsibilities at work or home
  • Engaging in dangerous activities while under the influence of alcohol

Treatment Options for Alcoholism

Despite the challenges you face with alcohol, there are treatment options available. Seeking treatment is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Professionals will evaluate your drinking habits and help you create a plan to achieve sobriety, including tips on how to avoid triggers that may cause relapse.

They will also provide counseling sessions for family members who are dealing with an alcoholic loved one. You do not have to face alcoholism alone. If you or someone you love struggles with alcohol use disorder, please do not hesitate to seek professional help.

Detox

Detox is the process of allowing your body to purify itself of any toxins. Alcohol is a poison, and it will slowly damage you over time if you do not stop drinking. The detoxification process allows your body to rid itself of the harmful chemicals that cause hangovers, make people sick, disrupt their sleep patterns, affect their moods and thought processes, and even lead to death in some cases. 

If you are dealing with an addiction to alcohol, detoxification may be one of the first steps in the treatment process that your doctor recommends for you or someone close to you. It can be difficult for addicts trying to go through detox at home because they do not have access to qualified professionals who can provide emotional support throughout this difficult period.

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment for addiction can help you or your loved one to adjust to life in recovery. The work of therapists, counselors, doctors, and others can help you rebuild your life without the need for alcohol.

It is important that you do not try to go through detoxification alone at home because there are many risks involved. Not only do addicts face withdrawal symptoms that severely affect their physical health, but they also must cope with temptations that may lead them back to substance abuse.

These professionals can help addicts who are struggling with cravings to resist these impulses until they have adjusted to their new way of living. Some methods used by addiction professionals during this period include positive reinforcement techniques like rewarding patients for good behavior and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which helps people recognize the negative thought patterns that lead to compulsive behaviors.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is typically administered to people who do not require extended residential treatment. This kind of treatment is typically administered to people who do not require an inpatient course of rehab for their addiction, and it can be a great choice for those individuals who wish to stay connected with family and work during the process. Some primary components of outpatient treatment are group counseling and individual therapy, with sessions that can occur on a weekly basis.

This type of treatment offers a safe environment where individuals can undergo psychotherapy and other beneficial activities. In most cases, these programs do not require participants to check into a facility overnight at any point during the specified time frame. This means that recovering addicts are free to maintain their normal schedules including going to school or maintaining employment while participating in treatment.

Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis treatment is a critical resource for addicts who do not currently exhibit symptoms of mental illness despite struggling with negative or dangerous behaviors due to alcohol abuse. The majority of alcoholics also do not suffer from any chronic conditions, but it’s important to remember that the substances involved in the addiction may exacerbate several different issues which could be undiscovered at this point.

Alcoholism can be a debilitating disease that affects your ability to function as normal and do several simple things like keep relationships or hold down employment. Unfortunately, many people do not realize that they are gradually slipping into alcoholism until it is too late for them to recover fully.

Support Groups for Alcohol

Support groups for alcohol addiction exist and do wonders in helping individuals overcome their addictions. It is the best approach to alcoholism, particularly if done alongside a therapist or counselor. In these groups, you can find people who have been affected by this disease and find ways to better their lives. Sober living homes typically offer support group sessions for those in recovery.

In order for an alcoholic to be capable of holding down a job, they need to stay sober from everyday use of alcohol, however certain professions do not allow that freedom which makes it impossible for an alcoholic to do that job. The consequences for this vary but can include being fired or losing clients if your profession involves the usage of alcohol on the job site.

Alcohol Addiction Statistics in New Jersey

The state of New Jersey has many drinkers although the trends are shifting. According to New Jersey’s Division on Addiction, 10 percent of that state’s adults are alcoholics. New Jersey has the second-lowest number of alcohol-related deaths per capita after New York.

2,016 annual deaths were attributable to excessive alcohol use. 70.8% of deaths are male.

51.2% of deaths are due to chronic causes, such as alcoholism. 80.0% of deaths are among those 35 years old or older. 3.7% are under 21.

Car accidents in New Jersey are run by people under the influence of drugs or alcohol. And even more disturbing is that consuming large quantities of alcoholic beverages causes damage to brain cells at an alarming rate. The CDC estimates 59,604 years of total potential life lost to alcohol. New Jersey averages one alcohol-related death for every 3,445 adults over 18 or 2.9 deaths for every 10,000 adults.

Do I Have a Drinking Problem? How to Get Help

Life after alcohol addiction treatment may present certain challenges. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get back on track. Eating healthy and staying fit is a large part of recovery. It helps to discourage the alcoholic from returning to old habits. Recovery involves learning several coping mechanisms. These involve mindfulness, meditation, and positive thinking which can all be helpful in maintaining sobriety. Journaling has been proven to be quite effective at channeling recovery. 

Knowing how to handle yourself around people who do drink and do not abstain like yourself will greatly increase your chances of living a sober life successfully. Making new friends who do not involve alcohol in their social lives is one way of doing this. Practice scenarios where someone might influence you to drink.

Having support throughout the process will make recovery easier and more effective as having people around you who do not encourage your drinking will only make things harder down the road. Embrace a new healthy lifestyle through North Jersey Rehabs. If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol addiction, contact one of our facilities today!

 

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