Alcohol is one of the most commonly used substances in the United States. You might consider yourself a casual drinker or view your alcohol use as normal, depending upon your social circle or cultural expectations. However, if you begin to notice issues and negative consequences related to your drinking, you might start to ask yourself, â€œAm I an alcoholic?â€
What is Alcoholism or Alcohol Use Disorder?
Alcoholism and alcohol use disorder (AUD) refer to alcohol addiction or abuse. You might have an addiction when you continue to use alcohol despite negative consequences. Some people are more susceptible to developing an addiction than others due to certain genetic and environmental factors.
Risk factors for developing AUD include:
- History of trauma
- Mental health issues, like anxiety and depression
- Family history of alcohol or drug abuse
- Cultural acceptance of alcohol use
- Drinking habits that begin in adolescence
Alcoholism is defined as drinking that continues regardless of adverse effects related to alcohol use. Some of the effects of alcohol can be short-term, like a hangover or fatigue, which affects you for only a day or two. However, when you feel these effects daily or a few times a week, they could negatively impact your ability to engage in everyday life fully.
Long-term consequences of alcohol abuse can include conflicts in relationships, legal troubles, physical health issues, and poor academic or work performance. You can also develop a mental health condition or worsen a pre-existing one with long-term alcohol use.
Sign To Help Answer ” Am I An Alcoholic” ?
You might recognize the signs of alcohol use disorder in yourself or a loved one, including:
- Unable to limit your intake of alcohol
- Unsuccessful attempts at cutting back on your drinking
- Spending much of your free time drinking or recovering from alcohol use
- Cravings and urges for alcohol throughout the day
- Alcohol use gets in the way of your responsibilities
- Need to drink more alcohol to get the same effects
- Drinking alcohol to deal with stress or mental health symptoms
- Loss of interest in activities and hobbies
- Neglecting personal hygiene or a sloppy appearance
- Withdrawal symptoms occur when you stop drinking
- Continuing to drink despite negative consequences
If you or a loved one have some of these signs, you might have an issue with alcohol. Generally, an alcoholic is considered a person who needs treatment for drinking. However, many people think of themselves as â€œheavy drinkersâ€ who don’t need help.
What is the Difference Between a â€˜Heavy Drinker’ and an â€˜Alcoholic’?
Not everyone who drinks alcohol will develop an addiction; however, some drinking behaviors can put you at a higher risk of becoming an alcoholic. Binge drinking can put you at risk of developing a drinking disorder, and many heavy drinkers also binge drink. Binge drinking occurs when you consume about four to five drinks within two hours.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines heavy drinking as men who consume â€œmore than 4 drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks per weekâ€ and women who consume â€œmore than 3 drinks on any day or more than 7 drinks per week.â€ The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) considers heavy drinking as binge drinking that occurs five or more times in the past month.
There is no significant difference between a heavy drinker and an alcoholic regarding how much alcohol is consumed. Heavy drinking is common among younger people or college students, who don’t have as many responsibilities or health issues related to their behaviors as older adults.
However, heavy drinking can lead to alcoholism, as you develop a high tolerance for alcohol, and your body might struggle to function properly when you don’t drink. You might have withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop drinking after months or years of heavy drinking. Withdrawal from alcohol can be physically painful, emotionally draining, and even life-threatening.
Medical Detox for Withdrawal Symptoms
Medical detox can help you safely rid yourself of the harmful toxins adversely affecting your brain and body due to long-term alcohol consumpton. Detox is a critical first step toward getting treatment for an AUD. If you attempt to detox on your own after long-term drinking, you are at a high risk of having severe withdrawal or relapsing to avoid these symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol abuse include:
- Shakiness or tremors
- Agitation and irritability
- Restlessness and sleep disturbances
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
Most of these symptoms will peak within a few days after you stop drinking. Detoxing from alcohol should take about one to two weeks; however, you are still at a high risk of relapse if you don’t get into alcohol rehab.
Detoxing at a rehab facility can help you safely manage withdrawal symptoms and transition into long-term treatment. You might use medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to help you stay sober during early recovery. Treatment centers can also help you understand the underlying causes of your drinking and help you make a full recovery from AUD.
Get Treament If Your Asking “Am I An Alcoholic” in Nashville, TN
If you or your loved one are wondering, â€œam I an alcoholic?â€ then you might have concerns about harmful drinking behaviors. Usually, if you ask this question, you have already experienced adverse consequences of alcohol use and are considering steps forward to better your life. Brentwood Springs Detox in Nashville, TN, is here to help you get back to a life you love. Call us or visit our admissions page today to learn more.