How Do You Know if You Have a Drinking Problem?

It’s not always easy to tell if you’re drinking too much or simply more than you want to be. After all, “normal” drinking behavior for one person isn’t necessarily the same for another. Casual drinking is someone who doesn’t have more than a few drinks with friends and family. Casual drinkers don’t obsess over their next drink. They don’t have a second thought of leaving glass of wine half-drunk at dinner table. So, how will you know if you have a drinking problem? If you feel that your drinking behavior exceeds the basic definition of “casual,” it’s probably time to take a hard look at what role alcohol currently plays in your life. If “casual drinking” is at one end of the spectrum, “excessive drinking” is at the opposite side. The two types of excessive drinking are heavy drinking and binge drinking.

For men under 65, the general rule of thumb is that if you regularly drink four (or more) drinks a day, or more than 14 drinks in any given week, you qualify as a heavy drinker. Over the age of 65, both men and women qualify as heavy drinkers if they have more than three drinks per day—or seven drinks in a week. Binge drinking is an entirely different beast, though. This is when someone consumes a large amount of alcohol in a very short period of time. Typically for men, it’s five or more drinks in under two hours. For women, it’s four or more drinks in that same period of time.

Indications of Alcoholism

Drinking ProblemIt is important to bear in mind that a drinking problem isn’t always measured in the number of drinks someone consumes. For some people, an occasional night of binge drinking doesn’t automatically mean they have a chronic alcohol problem. There are, however, other signs to keep an eye out for. A major indication that you might have an alcohol problem is if you’re starting to neglect all the basic responsibilities in your life, be it school commitments, work tasks, or family obligations. Another sign is engaging in risky behavior such as driving while under the influence of alcohol. Another risky behaviors are mixing booze with prescription pills, or engaging in inappropriate relationships.

Rewarding yourself with a drink after a difficult day at work, for example, can quickly turn into an unhealthy habit. There isn’t a fine line between someone with a “drinking problem” and alcoholism, the physical and mental dependence on alcohol.

After all, alcoholics oftentimes don’t look like they do in the movies. They aren’t always homeless, jobless, or carrying around a DUI on their legal record. If you find yourself craving alcohol, if you’re drinking alone or in secret, or if you’re unable to control how much you drink—these are all clear signs that you may have a problem with the bottle. Another huge sign that you might have a drinking problem is if you start losing interest in activities or hobbies that used to bring you pleasure. People with drinking problems can have a problem with the bottle and never even fully understand it. Pay close attention to your behavior. Chances are if you have drinking problem, your behavior isn’t just negatively affecting you—it’s affecting all people around you, too.

Does Drug or Alcohol Rehab Work?

There are plenty of successful recovery stories that testify that drug and centers can work well for many addicts. However, this success really hinges on matching the right kind of treatment with the specifics of the addiction and the addict’s personality. Not every treatment for addiction is the same, just as not every addict is the same. In fact, there’s no official way to measure the success of a rehab program. It all depends on how the addict defines success. If the goal is just to reduce consumption, then this might be easier to achieve than addressing some of the underlying issues that might prevent someone from entering recovery completely.

Some people who abuse drugs or alcohol do manage to quit on their own. However, one might argue that if an addict can decide on his or her own to change their behavior, then maybe their dependence wasn’t to the level of addiction. This is where rehabilitation centers come in. Some addicts have such bad withdrawal symptoms vomiting, physical shakes that resemble seizures—that they need around-the clock medical care. This type of care is known as in-patient or residential care, depending on how long the addict stays in the facility. In-patient services are usually shorter, about a month, while residential programs tend to be longer. An alternative treatment plan would be an outpatient program that relies on counseling and mentoring.

Rehab Programs

RehabMany in-patient and residential programs are very costly. However, this might make an addict take them more seriously. If you know that you are committing a large sum of money to your health, you tend to value the process more. Also, you can weigh the cost of rehabilitation against the cost of fines and lawyer fees resulting from addictive behaviours. You might get into jail when caught in the possession of illegal narcotics.

And then, of course, there’s the old adage “you get what you pay for.” Rehab programs are often staffed by knowledgeable medical staff with graduate degrees in their fields. The national boards often evaluated the centers. However, a treatment plan is only as good as the commitment a patient makes to it. If an addict does not truly want to recover, then it won’t happen. Mere completion of program doesn’t indicate success, as patients can revert back to their old habits after finishing the treatment. So much of recovery from addiction has to happen through changes in the outlook of the person suffering from addiction.

Bear in mind that a relapse isn’t an indication that treatment hasn’t been successful. Neither is it a judgment about the personal failing of the addict. In fact, it’s merely just a pretty normal step in the process of recovery. Addicts often relapse few times before they realize the severity of addiction and the need to avoid from mood-altering substances. In many ways, the most important “work” rehabs  accomplish is to introduce addicts to the basic tenets of 12-step programs, healthy routines and habits, and what it takes to achieve long-term sobriety.


What are the Health Problems Caused by Alcoholism?

Health Problems Caused by Alcoholism

Given the increasing opioid epidemic that’s currently plaguing the millennial generation, it’s important to remember the negative consequences of alcoholism. While opioid use often manifests with visible physical symptoms even in its early stages, alcoholism is called the “silent killer” because its effects are less obvious right away. However, the health problems associated with excess alcohol consumption are nonetheless just as deadly as any other addiction.

One of the most widespread consequences of even moderate alcohol consumption is related to the body’s cardiovascular system. Even people who limit drinking to periods of celebration with friend and family suffer from something doctors call “holiday heart,” where increased alcohol intake triggers heart palpitations and tightness of breath, mimicking the signs of a heart attack. These episodes of holiday heart are not without risk: some types of abnormal heart rhythms can lead to stroke or heart failure, if not treated. In alcoholics who drink to excess regularly, the stress on the body’s cardiovascular system is even more damaging and can lead to early heart disease and other health problems related to a weakened cardiovascular system.

Health Consequences

Health ProblemsOf course, the health consequence most closely associated with alcoholism is cirrhosis of the liver. It is responsible with processing toxins in the blood stream. Any amount of alcohol consumed makes the liver work harder than normal. It creates conditions that often leave fatty deposits, cause liver inflammation, and create a build-up of scar tissue. So, liver becomes less capable of filtering out toxins in the blood, this failure can create stress on other organs.

The body breaks alcohol down into various components during the process of digestion. Some of those components, such as acetaldehyde, have been known to increase risks of cancer. Excessive drinking also leads an addict to use more tobacco products. The risks of cancer double to include those types of cancers inked to smoking, such as mouth and lung cancers.

The process of digesting alcohol can also cause issues in the stomach and intestinal tract. Alcoholics often avoid eating so that the high from drinking is more intense. But, drinking on an empty stomach can result in malnutrition and its many related health problems. Since alcohol dehydrates, drinkers often suffer from ulcers/hemorrhoids, which can be the source of internal bleeding, if left untreated.

Health Risks

One of the overlooked categories of health risks related to alcohol consumption are automobile accidents. Just one drink can dull a driver’s response time so that he or she is incapable of responding to changing traffic patterns in a timely fashion. Additional drinks can cause drivers to drive significantly over or under the speed limit and to swerve in his or her lane, increasing the chances for fatal accidents should they cross over into oncoming traffic. This is just one of the ways that drinking affects the brain negatively by interfering with motor coordination. Other ways is that it can cause sudden shifts in mood and behavior that damage interpersonal relationship, whether personally/professionally. Alcohol is a depressant and can exacerbate existing mental health issues.

Drinking temporarily affects motor coordination, but it can damage the alcoholic’s brain permanently. Heavy alcohol consumption causes memory loss and bring on other signs of dementia because it makes certain part brain atrophy.

While it’s true that the effects of alcohol on the body can vary due to a person’s weight, genetic makeup, gender, and level of fitness, the results of scientific findings are overwhelming in their consensus about the negative effects of alcohol on the body.

Is Addiction a Disease? Why and Why Not?

Is Addiction a Diseas?

There are many schools of thought about whether or not addiction is a disease or a life choice but the American Medical Association (AMA) decreed that alcoholism was an illness in 1956 and a disease in 1966. Those who believe that addiction is a disease subscribe to the notion that sobriety or abstinence doesn’t eradicate the addict label.

DiseaseThe disease, according to those who believe in it, is less about the alcoholic’s behavior. It is more about the thinking which causes the alcoholic or addict to drink or use drugs to excess. The belief is that the addict or alcoholic drinks or uses drugs in order to escape their way thinking. Those who support the disease model believe that alcoholics are born with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism that their behavior then exacerbates and that the cure for the disease is the maintenance of a strong spiritual condition through the practice of attending 12-step meetings and practicing AA’s 12 steps.

These steps focus on cleaning up the past and making amends for bad behavior. Trying to rid oneself of character defects and most significantly developing a relationship with a Higher Power. Those who don’t believe in the disease model say that alcoholics/addicts choose to drink/use drugs in addictive ways. And that couching their behavior as a disease abdicates them of responsibility for the damage their behavior causes. The anti-disease advocates believe that telling alcoholics/addicts that they suffer from disease actually harms them. It is because it prevents them from getting better. Disease advocates argue that by teaching alcoholics and addicts that they have a disease is helpful. Those who are suffering are able to forgive themselves for their egregious behavior and find recovery without shame.

What are Some Signs and Symptoms of Addiction?

In the case of addiction, whether to illegal substances or prescription drugs, abuse usually begins as recreational use and escalates into something much more destructive. With continued use, the addict’s tolerance increases. Thereby necessitating a greater amount of the drug in order to achieve the same high as before. A generally agreed-upon definition of addiction is when one loses control over the quantity and frequency of one’s drug use and when one continues using even when faced with clear evidence that this activity is causing damage to one’s life.

A drug dependency can make the addict feel powerless to stop using because the cravings are so bad. This is because continued drug use alters an addict’s brain, changing the way its pleasure centers work. The telltale effects of addiction can be broken down into three categories: behavioral, physical, and emotional. Not every addict exhibits signs from each of these categories. However, drug users may begin to experience financial trouble. They fail to meet responsibility either at work or home. These are some of the reasons why it is important to seek help for addiction.  Physical signs include sweating, feeling nauseated, or getting the shakes when the drug wears off. Emotionally, addicts often have intense mood swings.

If you have a family member you suspect is suffering from a drug addiction, the following behaviors may offer confirmation of your fears: difficulties keeping a job or staying in school, poor grooming habits, weight loss, different sleeping habits, listlessness, bloodshot eyes, increased secrecy, and stealing.

Drug Addictions

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

Drug addictions don’t only happen to illegal substances sold on the street, either. They can also happen with prescription medicines given to someone by a doctor for a legitimate medical issue. However, if you are faking a medical condition in order to get drugs, go to more than one doctor to get drugs, use someone else medication, or if you fail to use the medication according to the doctor’s directions, then you should likely seek help from a professional who can recommend a proper course of treatment for your addiction. Drug abuse can be a sign that you have an addictive personality, in which case, it would be unlikely that you can break the physical and neurological pattern on your own. In addition, many doctors now realize that drug abuse isn’t only a sign of an addictive personality.

Some addicts fool themselves into thinking their addiction isn’t as bad as it is. If you have begun to feel anxious about making sure you have enough drugs, or if you are making “deals” with yourself, such as only allowing yourself to do drugs on the weekends, it could mean that your brain has already been significantly altered by your drug use so that you are emotionally if not physically dependent on it. If you’ve ever blacked out or suffered from memory loss, then your drug use has moved beyond the social stage. You are possibly into abuse or dependency.