Signs of Alcoholism: How to Tell if Someone is Addicted
It seems like there is always an occasion to have a drink. A dinner party with friends, a stressful week at work, or a relaxing afternoon in the sun are all events we commonly associate with having a beer or glass of wine. But how much alcohol is too much? Could one of these scenarios be signs of alcoholism?
With how normalized regularly drinking alcohol is, it can be difficult to tell if someone has alcohol addiction, or simply indulges on occasion. It’s important to remember that alcohol addiction is not always obvious. Even people who suffer from an addiction to alcohol can seem happy and can function normally while actually suffering from depression, health issues, and problems in their marriage. By recognizing the signs of alcoholism, and reaching out for treatment, you or a loved one can be successful in overcoming alcohol addiction.
Alcohol Abuse Facts
Drinking excessively is a common problem among many Americans. Over 14 million adults suffered from Alcohol Use Disorder in 20181. With alcohol being so prevalent, it is no surprise that it is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Let’s take a look at a few other facts about alcohol use that may surprise you.
- 14 is the average age of when adolescents have their first drink.2
- According to the NIH2, over 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year. This makes it the third cause of preventable death in the United States.
- 26% of people over 18 reported binge drinking in the last month3.
- Less than 8% of adults who suffer from AUD received treatment3.
- Nearly ⅓ of liver transplants in 2009 were caused by alcohol-related liver disease3.
Residents of California suffer from AUD at a higher rate than the national average. In fact, 6% of Californians4 reported meeting the criteria for alcohol use disorder. Even more surprising, alcohol was the cause of more emergency room visits in California than all other drugs combined.
Drinking alcohol in moderation is a common social activity, but when moderation becomes “not moderation,” it can prove to be extremely harmful. When drinking is a central part of your life or social activities, it may be hard to distinguish between alcoholism or an occasional overindulgence.
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Signs of Alcoholism
Many people believe they have an idea of what alcoholism looks like. We often think of someone who’s lost their job, maybe their home, and is obviously in poor health. But that is not always the case. The National Institute of Health reports that about 20% of people with alcohol use disorder5 are well educated, hold stable jobs, and lead a normal family life. So how do you know when someone is suffering from alcoholism?
Men who frequently consume more than 4 alcoholic drinks6 in one day, or more than 14 over one week, are considered to have an alcohol use disorder. For women, the amount is lower; more than 3 drinks in the same day, or more than 7 drinks throughout a week. The following counts as a single drink:
- One 12-ounce beer
- One 5-ounce glass of wine
- One 1.5-ounce shot of liquor
Additionally, the following are signs of alcoholism, according to the NIH1:
- Not being able to reduce alcohol consumption, even if you want to.
- Drinking more and for longer than you intended.
- You frequently put yourself in dangerous situations when under the influence.
- You continue to drink despite consequences, such as losing your job, or spouse.
- If you have cravings or a strong desire to drink and cannot control it.
- Developing symptoms of withdrawal when efforts are made to stop using alcohol.
- Spending a lot of time obtaining, drinking, and recovering from the effects of alcohol.
- Choosing to drink alcohol instead of other work, social, or family-related obligations.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Seeking treatment for alcohol addiction is an important step for someone who is struggling with addiction. Anyone who has used alcohol for extended periods of time can suffer dangerous withdrawal symptoms, so detoxing under the care of a medical professional is important. Additionally, treating alcohol addiction requires individual and group counseling so that you can learn healthy coping mechanisms and how to manage cravings. With the help of experienced addiction counselors, you can live an addiction-free life.
If you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol use disorder, seek treatment today. Clear Life Recovery offers detox and treatment plans to fit your specific needs. Through safe, medical detox, individualized therapy, and a holistic approach to healing, you can overcome your addiction for good. Our experienced and compassionate counselors will help give you the tools you need to live a healthy, happy life, free from addiction. Contact Clear Life Recovery today to get started.