Do You Have a Drinking Problem? Alcohol Use Disorder and You
It seems to be a common notion that there are only two types of people: alcoholics and non-alcoholics. Like just about every issue in life, the issue of problem drinking is more complicated than just black and white. This type of thinking ignores the subtleties that are present with any issue that involves complex human emotion.
It’s also very important to realize that all people are different, therefore issues with alcohol are all relative. Some of this is strictly based on biology. Some people are inherently larger than others and metabolize alcohol differently. Some people’s liver can’t handle alcohol at all, and they may get intoxicated after drinking a fraction of what someone else drank.
It’s important to contextualize these ideas when trying to determine whether you or a loved one may be suffering from an alcohol use disorder. In this blog, we will ask some tough questions and discuss some signs or ways of thinking that might suggest that treatment for alcohol use disorder could be beneficial.
Drinking Alcohol in Context
It is not always so easy to determine whether you or a loved one may be suffering from a negative relationship with alcohol. Many times, these issues with alcohol can be justified or seem “normal” in context.
For example, college can be a period of culturally-acceptable heavy drinking for many people. In this context, it may be commonplace for peers and friends to discuss the idea of “blacking out” or getting “so wasted” in an almost romantic reverence. This extremely unhealthy behavior cycle of binge-drinking can feel normal in this context.
While the majority of people grow out of this behavior by the time they finish college, some people hold on to those habits. When you enter the real world, you soon realize that things like blacking out, intense hangovers, and other consequences can’t be justified as something that everyone experiences.
If you’ve ever had the thought that you may have a drinking problem, even for just a moment, it could be beneficial to dig a little deeper into that issue by seeking the advice of a licensed medical professional at a treatment center.
Feel Terrible the Day After Drinking?
Everybody has had a friend that claims that they never experience hangovers. While this may indeed be true, it could come down to biology—or something more sinister. As the body acclimates to alcohol, hangovers may seem less intense. People who are actually physically dependent on alcohol typically consume more when they wake up in order to avoid any withdrawal symptoms.
It is important to be aware that even if you don’t experience the typical symptoms of a hangover the day after drinking, alcohol may still be taking its toll on your body. If you experience symptoms such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, stomach pains, headache, or regret over things you may have done while under the influence, it may be time to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol. People who drink in moderation do not typically experience these symptoms.
Has Alcohol Use Disorder Negatively Affected Your Life?
The negative effects on a person’s life from alcohol use disorder can be a direct result of hangover symptoms discussed above. Drinking alcohol may make you so sick the next day that you are unable to be a normal, functioning member of society. This may lead to missing work, school, or other important engagements.
In some cases, this can lead to what is known as a “negative feedback loop.” In this context, a negative feedback loop can be explained as when one decision has a rippling effect that has negative consequences for your whole life. For example, you go out drinking one night and are so hungover the next day that you miss class, negatively affecting your grade. Because you missed that class once, you’re hesitant to attend the class the next day for fear of being called out by the professor or being lost in the material. This leads to you missing class again, digging deeper into the hole of negativity. The ripple effect from the decision to drink one night can start a chain of events that has much larger consequences further down the line.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, it may be time to seek treatment for alcohol use disorder.
Other Signs of Alcohol Misuse and Determining If You Have a Drinking Problem
While we’ve discussed three common signs that point to a negative relationship with alcohol, there are many other factors that can come into play. Research from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has determined that anyone who meets two of the 11 following criteria within a 12-month period may be diagnosed with alcoholism or an alcohol use disorder.
In order to accurately assess whether you or a loved one may be suffering from a problem with alcohol, here are some questions to consider. In the past year, have you
- had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
- more than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
- spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
- experienced craving, a strong need, or urge, to drink?
- found that drinking, or being sick from drinking, often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
- continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
- given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
- continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
- had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
- found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not actually there?
If any of these symptoms are things that you or a loved one have experienced, your drinking habits may already be cause for concern. The more symptoms you’ve experienced, the more urgent your need for treatment may be. Don’t worry, Serenity Lane is here to help.
Alcohol Rehab at Serenity Lane Can Help Give You the Best Chance of Recovery. We Care About Your Health.
Serenity Lane is proud to be one of the top quality alcoholism treatment programs in the Northwestern United States. We’ve been part of the community since 1973, and we draw upon our decades of experience to give you the best quality care possible.
Detox Program for Alcohol Use Disorder
We currently provide a cutting-edge medically-supported withdrawal program (also known as detox) at our inpatient treatment facility in Coburg, Oregon. The first step in recovery from alcohol use disorder is detox.
Our team of medical professionals uses a standardized protocol that is designed to be the most effective way to achieve long-term recovery from dependence on alcohol. They are prepared and qualified to handle all aspects of detox, including withdrawal symptoms and mental health issues that may occur.
Residential Treatment Program
Our residential inpatient treatment program at Serenity Lane is designed to help you establish a solid foundation in your recovery from alcohol use disorder. We achieve this by removing you from a potential crisis situation and putting you into a setting where you receive around-the-clock medical supervision and stability. Once mental and physical stability has been achieved, recovery can truly begin.
Group therapy is the primary form of treatment for substance use disorder and is used extensively in our residential program. However, individual therapy is available to patients on an “as needed” basis during the treatment period. On weekdays, the group will meet each morning and afternoon to explore problems, feelings, challenges, and conflicts that come up in the treatment process. Patients will be oriented to the group and assigned a “buddy.” This is someone who is further along in treatment and can help explain rules and ease the transition into the group environment.
Recovery is Possible at Serenity Lane
If you’ve determined that alcohol use has started to become a problem in your life, it may be time to seek treatment.
When choosing a treatment center for alcohol use disorder, it is important to choose one that understands the disease of addiction and the best ways to help promote strong, lasting change. With centers all around Oregon, Serenity Lane makes your physical and mental health our number one priority.
You’re stronger than you may think, and we’re here to help. Call us today at 800-543-9905 for a no-cost consultation from one of our mental health professionals.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much do you have to drink to be considered an alcoholic?
The NIAAA has determined that 14 drinks a week for men and 7 drinks a week for women may point to alcoholism. Issues with drinking are all relative and specific to your biology and situation. If drinking has negatively impacted your life in a significant way, it may be time to seek treatment.
Do I have a drinking problem if I drink every day?
The NIAAA defines heavy alcohol use as more than 4 drinks a day for men and 3 drinks a day for women. If your drinking has had negative consequences on your life, relationships, or career, it may be time to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol.
What constitutes a drinking problem?
When drinking begins to negatively impact your life in significant ways, it may be becoming a problem. If drinking causes you to miss work, school, or personal engagements due to being intoxicated or hungover, it has become a problem.
How do you know you have a drinking problem?
Problems with drinking can be relative, but if alcohol has become a problem it will begin to affect every aspect of a person’s life in a negative way. Intense hangovers, headache, fatigue, and depression may all be signs that alcohol use has become a problem.