Alcohol Addiction is Real
April is Alcohol Awareness month, a public health program created by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence as a way to bring more attention to the causes and effects of alcoholism as well as how to help educate families and communities dealing with drinking problems.
If you or a loved one is dealing with alcohol addiction, finding a place to start the road to recovery can seem overwhelming. How do you know for sure that the person is addicted? Maybe they are just a social drinker? Questions like this can create hesitation, which may hinder you from starting an important conversation with them – or yourself.
Signs of alcohol addiction or dependency
There are resources out there that can help you feel more comfortable about taking the first steps of evaluating the situation. According to Alcohol.org, some general questions that you can ask yourself, or the individual, to gauge their reactions are:
- “Have you ever felt you should cut back on drinking?” – A question like this requires a lot of honesty, which they might not be ready to face. So, if they answer “yes”, then that is a good sign that they are opening up to you.
- “Have you ever gotten annoyed by others criticizing your drinking habits?” – If asking a question like this create upset and anger, then there is a good chance the person is a problem drinker.
- Some drinkers keep these feelings to themselves, and then you won't be able to use this sign to determine if they really have a problem. However, if a drinker expresses guilt, apologizes every time they drink or makes promises to you to stop drinking and then continues to drink, that drinker is probably a problem drinker.
In addition to these questions, you can look for several signs that may be indicators of alcohol use disorder (AUD). While alcohol dependence and AUD are not the same condition, those who struggle with AUD can become compulsive drinkers and their condition can escalate rapidly.
- Drinking more alcohol, or for longer than intended.
- Trying to cut down or stop drinking but being unsuccessful.
- Spending a lot of time drinking or feeling sick form a hangover or other aftereffects.
- Experiencing interference in daily life and relationships because of drinking.
- Having cravings for alcohol.
- Continuing to drink even though it is hurting relationships with friends and family.
- Cutting back on, or giving up, hobbies to consume more alcohol.
- Repeatedly being in situations where alcohol put one at risk of harm.
- Having to consume more alcohol to experience the desired effects.
- Consuming alcohol even though it worsens a health condition, including anxiety or depression.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when alcohol’s effects begin to wear off.
You’re Not Alone
It is important to know that if you or a loved one are dependent or addicted to alcohol, it’s ok, you are not alone. There are people available who want to help you – and who genuinely care about your well-being, you can get better.
Recognizing and admitting that you have a problem is a big first step. Or, if you are confident that a loved one is struggling and they are open to talking about it, help them by getting them connected to the right assistance.
Firelands Regional Medical Center’s Counseling and Recovery Services offers inpatient and outpatient alcohol treatment to those in our community. When you turn to us for help, a licensed professional will guide you or your loved one through a complete assessment to help identify the most challenging problems and then work with you to create an individualized treatment plan to work through those problems.
Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services is the only 24/7/365 crisis and mental health hotline handling calls for mental health and substance abuse in a 7 county region in partnership with the Mental Health Boards in those counties. You can call the mental health hotline (800-826-1306) at any time.