Alcoholism, also called alcohol use disorder, is a serious problem in America. It’s a chronic disease that takes a tremendous toll on everyone involved — the alcoholic as well as their family, friends, co-workers and others. An estimated 17 million adults and 855,000 adolescents in the U.S. are affected by alcoholism, with problems that can range from mild to severe.
Maybe you’ve noticed that your loved one, child or even yourself has perhaps experienced multiple legal entanglements caused by being intoxicated. Once you know the signs and symptoms of alcoholism, you may be prompted to seek help for you or your loved one to get into treatment.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism?
A person showing two of the following signs and symptoms may have a mild problem with drinking, while having four or five may mean a moderate drinking problem. The presence of six or more may be an indication of severe alcoholism:
- Drinking large amounts of alcohol repeatedly over a long period of time
- Unsuccessful attempts to quit drinking or to cut down on the amount and/or frequency of drinking
- Cravings for alcohol
- Missing or failing to live up to responsibilities at work, home or school
- Continuing to drink despite relationship problems that occur
- Spending a lot of time obtaining, drinking and recovering from (sobering up) drinking too much alcohol and then starting the process all over again
- Building up a tolerance to alcohol that requires the consumption of more alcohol to achieve the desired effect
- Giving up enjoyable or pleasurable activities to continue to drink or hide drinking behavior
- Regularly drinking alcohol during dangerous activities or operations — such as driving, operating machinery, piloting or riding as a passenger in a boat — where such action poses a danger to the drinker and/or others
- Ignoring the psychological and physiological effects of continued alcohol use
- Experiencing symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and/or trying to hide them from others
Who’s at Risk for Alcoholism?
Some people can drink responsibly, while others can’t stop until they’re intoxicated, repeating the pattern of drinking, sobering up and drinking again until they advance into clinically diagnosed alcoholism. Why is there a difference? What are the risk factors that may determine who becomes or has the likelihood of becoming an alcoholic and who doesn’t? According to research, there are several risk factors for alcoholism. These include:
- Having a close family member who’s an alcoholic. Research has shown a genetic link to alcoholism.
- Beginning drinking early in adolescence or teenage years
- Requiring a lot of alcohol in order to get intoxicated. This is known as tolerance, requiring more alcohol to achieve the desired “buzz.”
- Drinking heavily and/or daily
- Men are statistically more likely to become alcoholics than women are.
Getting Help: You’re in the Right Place
You don’t need to live with this problem and resign yourself to a steady decline due to alcoholism. There’s help for you to overcome the disease, learn healthier coping habits, how to cope with cravings, and what to do when you experience triggers.
At The Right Step treatment center, we’ll be with you every step of the way, first with medically supervised detoxification to rid your body of the substance, and then with a comprehensive, integrated and individually tailored treatment program best suited to your personal needs.
You can move beyond alcoholism and live a rich, full, productive and happy life. Contact us to learn how: 844-877-1781.