Am I An Alcoholic?

Published on November 2nd, 2018

Updated on January 3rd, 2024

Am I An Alcoholic?

It is scary to think that you may be an alcoholic. Being able to accept that you are struggling is the first step to understanding your condition. Alcoholism is challenging, and if left untreated can have devastating consequences on your life. Knowing the signs and causes of alcoholism can help you know if you need professional help. 

When a person hears the term “alcoholic” they think of a person who drinks every day or night. The typical definition of an alcoholic is someone who needs to be drinking to feel okay. While alcoholics can have this trait, it is not the only way a person experiences alcoholism.

An alcoholic is someone who is addicted to alcohol. This addiction can manifest at varying degrees. Some alcoholics can even go weeks or months without drinking anything. The key indicator of an alcoholic is when their ability to function is impaired by drinking.

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If your life has been significantly impacted by drinking, then you may be an alcoholic. The following are symptoms of alcoholism:

Symptoms Of An Alcoholic

There are several symptoms that an alcoholic may exhibit. The symptoms of an alcoholic depend on their circumstances and alcohol use patterns.

An alcoholic may exhibit any or all of the following symptoms:

Drunk Man Passed Out On Floor

Causes and Risk Factors of Alcoholism

Several factors contribute to a person becoming an alcoholic. In summary, an alcoholic will use alcohol to serve a purpose. Sometimes that purpose is to numb or alleviate emotional pain. The purpose can also be to cope with stress, anxiety, or social pressure. In severe cases, alcoholics may drink to ease symptoms of withdrawal.

An alcoholic will become both physically and psychologically addicted to alcohol. Physical addiction occurs when the body becomes physically dependent on alcohol. The body begins to need alcohol to function, and without it, goes into a state of withdrawal. Physical addiction also causes cravings, impaired motor function, and chemical dependence on alcohol. 

Psychological addiction refers to the need for alcohol to cope with emotions. Alcoholics may use alcohol to cope with stress, excitement, anxiety, and depressed mood. It is possible to be psychologically addicted to alcohol without being physically addicted.

Several risk factors will predispose a person to develop alcoholism. These factors create an increased risk for alcoholism. If you feel you may be an alcoholic and these factors apply to you, it may be helpful to consult with a medical professional about your condition.

Risk factors for alcoholism include:

Treatment for Alcoholism

Treatment and recovery are possible for an alcoholic. The sooner an alcoholic seeks treatment, the more likely they are to recover from the condition. Getting treated for alcoholism can prevent more consequences in the long term. Such consequences include loss of career, medical issues, and failed relationships.

The goal of alcoholism treatment is abstinence from all substances. Once a person reaches the point of addiction, any alcohol use or drug use becomes problematic for their overall health. Complete sobriety is ideal for people who suffer from alcoholism and addiction.

Typically, a person will need extensive treatment for recovery. Most people will be in treatment for years and may require different forms of treatment, including:

A person is never considered “cured” of alcoholism. Like all mental health disorders, recovery from alcoholism requires lifetime commitment and diligence.

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