If your drinking has progressed to a point where you’re asking yourself if you’re an alcoholic, you can easily convince yourself that the answer is “no”. You might have had one or two nights of binge drinking and woke up the next day with little memory of the previous evening, but in your mind those days are the exception and not the rule. Perhaps your Saturday evening drinking leads to a Sunday morning ritual of Bloody Mary’s and aspirin, but that only happens once or twice a month and you are functional during the rest of the week. Still, a nagging voice in your head or the voice of a good friend keeps questioning whether you’re drinking too much. How do you know if you’ve crossed the line?
The boundary between heavy drinking and alcoholism is rarely a bright line. Heavy drinking and alcohol abuse are precursors to alcoholism, and alcoholism is a chronic disease that requires lifelong treatment. Your genetic makeup, family history, and propensity to suffer depression or anxiety disorders can all place you at a higher risk of alcoholism. If you’re concerned over these risks, try paying attention to some of the common warning signs of alcohol abuse. For example, are you hiding your drinking from other people? Does your drinking cause you to neglect schoolwork, your job, or your family? Have you driven a car after a bout of drinking, even though you are well aware of the risks of drinking and driving? None of these actions means that you are an alcoholic, but they are common early warning signs of a developing alcohol problem.
Alcohol dependence and alcoholism starts to show itself when your alcohol tolerance goes up and you need to drink more to get the same physical sensations that you previously achieved with fewer drinks. You will begin to experience physical withdrawal symptoms that are more severe than the crushing hangover you might get after a night of heavy drinking, including seizures, hallucinations, anxiety attacks, elevated body temperature, pulse and blood pressure. You might be a strong person that has always had the greatest control over your life, but suddenly you find that cannot control your drinking. You will obsess over getting your next drink and alcohol will become the focus of your life and activities to the exclusion of everyone and everything else.
Young people who are the top of their games and who have a high sense of self-esteem may be more likely to deny their alcoholism because they cannot fathom their loss of control over their drinking. They may have faced and beaten risks and challenges in academics, athletics and careers, leading to a sense that they can control a chemical dependency on alcohol. Alcoholism is a disease that cannot be treated through denial. You would not treat any other serious illness by denying it, and alcoholism is no different.
You can find tens, if not hundreds of articles, pamphlets, and self-diagnosis tools to help you answer the question of whether you’re an alcoholic. If you have lapsed into serious alcohol abuse and are on a path toward alcoholism, you will be tempted to ignore or deny those articles, mush as you are denying your problem. The LEAD treatment counselors can help you to take an objective look at your use of and relationship with alcohol. If you have or are developing a problem, you deserve the best treatment for that problem as soon as the symptoms develop. LEAD treatment is determined to help you and your family recover from your alcohol problems. For questions, concerns and inquiries call 800-380-0012.