It’s no wonder that many Americans ask themselves, “Am I an alcoholic?” Alcohol use disorder is the most common substance addiction. In the United States, nearly twice as many people suffer from alcoholism than all other substance use disorders combined. According to a 2017 national survey, nearly 14.5 million Americans struggle with an alcohol use disorder, compared to 7.8 million who battle addictions to illicit drugs.
A variety of factors place individuals at risk of alcoholism. Genetic predispositions, the environment in which you were raised, history of mental illness and spending time with those who drink heavily can all impact a person’s likelihood of misusing alcohol. Because this substance is legal for adults over the age of 21, it is perceived to be less dangerous; in reality, this could not be further from the truth. It’s vital to identify alcoholism early in order to treat this disease effectively.
Am I an Alcoholic? Self-Test for Alcoholism
This questionnaire is used by many healthcare professionals to diagnose alcohol use disorder. Answer the below questions with a yes or no. If you answer “yes” to more than one question, you may have developed a chemical and psychological dependence on alcohol.
In the past year, have you…
- Tried multiple times to cut back on your drinking, but found that you couldn’t?
- Spent a lot of time drinking or recovering from drinking?
- Felt cravings or strong urges to drink?
- Drank more or for longer than you intended?
- Realized that drinking (or its effects) kept you from upholding personal responsibilities (work, school, family)?
- Continued to drink, even when you experienced social and physical consequences?
- Let other activities fall by the wayside in favor of drinking?
- Found yourself taking unnecessary risks after drinking, such as driving or having unprotected sex?
- Kept drinking even though it made you black out, feel negative emotions or experience negative side effects?
- Developed a tolerance (needing more alcohol to get the same effects)?
- Felt withdrawal symptoms (insomnia, shakiness, racing heart, nausea)?
There are also inventories which provide a more comprehensive picture of one’s substance use. Among these measures is the AUDIT, or The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test. These are usually administered by addiction treatment professionals or primary care providers to assess the severity of one’s addiction. To look over the AUDIT for yourself, click here.
Signs of Alcohol Addiction in a Loved One
Addiction is a disease of isolation, meaning that those who are in its clutches may go to great lengths to conceal their problem from friends and family members. If you notice any of the following signs in a loved one, we encourage you to ask for help today.
- Frequent drinking (every day or multiple times per day)
- Drinking alone or at inappropriate times (in the morning or at work)
- Spending a great deal of time and money on alcohol
- Drinking to the point of intoxication (or blacking out) on a regular basis
- Alcohol use interfering with important responsibilities (work, school, family)
- Acting erratically while drunk (becoming violent or irrational)
- Continuing to drink in spite of significant consequences (DUI or loss of job)
How to Help an Alcoholic
Whether you are worried about yourself or a loved one, it is important to seek professional assistance from an accredited addiction treatment center, before it’s too late. Conduct some research and look for a center that aligns with the needs of your loved one – do they offer the type of treatment and amenities you’d like? Do they take your insurance? Reach out to them and make arrangements for your loved one to be admitted before staging any sort of intervention or confrontation with the alcoholic.
For those whose addiction is severe, medically monitored detox is recommended as a first step. Individuals who have developed long-term dependencies on alcohol are at risk of seizures, nausea and other dangerous side effects while detoxing. By checking into a medically supervised program, the patient is able to flush all traces of alcohol out of their system while clinicians effectively manage withdrawal symptoms.
After this, a residential treatment program is the best step to recovery. For those with significant commitments or inflexible schedules, it is possible to seek treatment on a fully outpatient basis. Both of these programs include rigorous therapies – group and individual sessions that allow patients to explore the factors driving their substance use. Often, trauma or co-occurring issues like anxiety or depression can cause a person to turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism. While in treatment, participants address the core causes of their substance use, while also developing healthy coping mechanisms for the future. With the right amount of guidance and quality aftercare, recovery is possible.
Proven Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Nashville, TN
At Cumberland Heights, we understand that dealing with an alcohol use disorder can be overwhelming. We’re here if you’ve asked yourself, “Am I an alcoholic?” While in our program, you will learn how to disassociate from people who use alcohol, open yourself to self-improvement and actively work to repair personal relationships damaged by alcoholism.
To learn more about our programming, contact Cumberland Heights today.