How to Identify Alcoholism

Written by Chloe Nicosia

If you’re concerned about your own or someone else’s alcohol use, here are some tips on how to identify alcoholism and alcohol abuse.

Alcoholism and alcohol abuse aren’t the same thing, although alcohol abuse can lead to addiction. Here’s how to identify alcoholism and alcohol abuse.

How to Identify Alcohol Abuse

Understanding how to identify alcohol abuse is a matter of understanding what, exactly, alcohol abuse is.

Alcohol abuse is the act of using alcohol in a way that causes problems in your life. These problems can involve your relationships, your health, your finances, or the law. They can be related to taking risks when you’re under the influence of alcohol.

The most common form of alcohol abuse is binge drinking. Binge drinking is the act of drinking enough alcohol in the space of two hours to bring your blood alcohol level up to .08 percent. For women, this is typically four drinks, and for men, it’s typically five.

Binge drinking often leads to blacking out, and it can lead you to take risks like having unprotected sex or driving while under the influence. Whenever your alcohol use leads to trouble or potential trouble, it’s considered alcohol abuse.

How to Identify Alcoholism

To know how to identify alcoholism, you have to understand what alcoholism is. Alcoholism is an addiction to alcohol. It’s characterized by compulsive alcohol use despite the negative consequences it causes. People who are addicted to alcohol have lost control over their drinking and will continue to drink even though their drinking is causing major problems in their life.

One of the key ways for how to identify alcoholism is to know the alcoholism signs. Common alcoholism signs include:

  • Drinking more than you planned or for a longer period of time than you intended.
  • Wanting to cut down or quit using alcohol but finding that you can’t.
  • Spending a lot of time drinking and recovering from drinking.
  • Experiencing intense cravings for alcohol.
  • Neglecting duties at home, work, or school due to your alcohol use.
  • Continuing to use alcohol even though it’s causing problems with your relationships with friends, family, or co-workers.
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed in favor of drinking or recovering from drinking.
  • Engaging in risky behaviors when you’re under the influence of alcohol.
  • Continuing to drink even though it’s causing physical or mental health problems.

Knowing how to identify alcoholism can help you decide whether you need professional help.

Treatment is Essential for Ending an Alcohol Addiction

Once you know how to identify alcoholism, it’s important to know how alcoholism is treated. The National Institute on Drug Abuse stresses that addiction almost always requires professional help to overcome. That’s because once an addiction develops, changes in brain function and structure occur, and this leads to dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns that promote the compulsive alcohol consumption. In order to end an addiction, it’s essential to identify these behavior and thought patterns and develop healthier ways of thinking and behaving.

Additionally, alcoholism almost always has underlying causes. The most common of these are chronic stress, a history of trauma, and a co-occurring mental illness like anxiety or depression. Getting to the bottom of and resolving these issues is imperative for successful long-term recovery.

A high quality treatment program will use a variety of traditional and complementary therapies to help you address dysfunctional thinking and behaving and resolve underlying issues. Through therapy, you will also:

  • Develop a toolkit of skills and strategies to help you cope with cravings, stress, and other triggers.
  • Address any co-occurring mental illnesses and treat them with medication or therapy.
  • Repair damaged relationships and develop healthier interpersonal skills.
  • Learn to relax and have fun without alcohol.
  • Identify purpose and meaning in a life without alcohol.
  • Restore function to areas of your life affected by your addiction.

Treatment helps countless individuals not only end an addiction for the long-term, but also restore their lives and promote authentic happiness in life. Treatment works, and it can work for you. Better Addiction Care can help you find a high quality, holistic treatment program to help you overcome your addiction once and for all and improve your quality of life and sense of wellbeing for the long-term.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.