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Do I Have a Drinking Problem?: Alcoholism Risk Factors and Warning Signs

 Alcoholism is a disease that affects nearly 18 million people in the United States.  It tears up families, takes a toll on the health and criminal justice system, and also plays a role in the economy.  Do you question whether you are an alcoholic or not? Has a family member come to you with concern about your drinking? Here is some information that will assist you in determining if you are struggling with alcoholism or not.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, alcoholism in the United States affects almost 18 million people and is the most commonly abused drug. The toll this takes on families, the health care system, and the criminal justice system if quite large. If you’ve ever been affected by an alcoholic in some fashion, then you probably understand the burden caused by the addiction.

Over time, the use of alcohol can disrupt many aspects of one’s life.  There can be many problems that occur, such as:

  • health complications, as alcohol has a negative effect on the organs of the body

  • emotional problems, as alcohol is a depressant

  • relationship problems, as it becomes difficult to foster quality relationship

  • career and financial problems

What is alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a disease of the brain that leads people to continue to drink alcohol even compulsively even when the alcohol is causing the person problems. An alcoholic’s brain is wired a bit differently than a person who is not inclined to alcoholism. His or her brain will be altered due to the alcohol, thus causing the person to crave alcohol much more so than a non-alcoholic.This is one reason why some people can live their lives being a social drinker, while others feel out of control when it comes to drinking.

What causes alcoholism?

Addiction experts assert that alcoholism stems from various avenues having to do with a person’s genes, environment, and mental and emotional states. Some alcoholics arise due to genetics, as research indicates that if a child’s parent is an alcoholic, he or she is more at risk of being an alcoholic. At the same time, a person’s environment plays a role as well. If someone is in an environment where others are drinking all the time, there is verbal or sexual abuse going on, or other deplorable conditions are a factor, that person is more susceptible to alcoholism. Additionally, one’s emotional and mental health can play a role.

Risk drinking

The more you drink, the more at risk you are of becoming an alcoholic.  Health experts state that you are headed for trouble when you:

  • are a male who drinks more than 15 drinks per week

  • are a woman who drinks more than 12 drinks per week

  • you drink five or more drinks at a time once or more per week

Other factors:

  • You may also be headed for alcoholism if you drink and:

  • you suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar, or another mental health disorder

  • you suffer from low self-esteem

  • you are in a toxic relationship

  • you are surrounded by others who drink a lot

  • you have peers that pressure you to drink

  • you are under a lot of stress

Questions to ask yourself to see if you’re an alcoholic:

  1. Do you drink in order to decrease stress?

  2. Do you drink because you feel depressed?

  3. Have you missed work on account of drinking?

  4. Is your drinking affecting your relationship negatively?

  5. Do you drink because you are shy around others?

  6. Has drinking caused you financial difficulty?

  7. Have you encountered trouble with the law on account of drinking?

  8. Do you crave alcohol almost daily?

  9. Are your family or friends concerned about your drinking?

  10. Do you drink alone?

  11. Do you drink to try to numb or kill the inner pain you’re experiencing?

  12. Have you tried to quit over and over to no avail?

  13. Have you increased your drinking over time?

  14. Do you drink the next morning in order to curb a hangover?

  15. Do you experience blackouts?

  16. Have you stopped doing things you used to enjoy?

  17. Do you hang out with a certain crowd that tends to drink a lot?

  18. Have you given up friends who don’t drink?

  19. Have you been hospitalized due to drinking?

  20. Have you ever drank at work?

  21. Do you hide alcohol at home?

  22. Do you lie to others about how much you really drink?

If you’ve answered yes to two or more of these, you are at risk for alcoholism

Consider consulting with a substance abuse professional on the matter. Alcoholism is a cunning disease that can slyly infiltrate your life over time and before you know it, you are a full blown alcoholic without control over your drinking habits.

If you would like to stop drinking, it is time to reach out for help via a counselor at Pat Moore Foundation or an alcohol rehab center. You do not have to face alcoholism alone, so be sure to make a call today in order to start your new, beautiful life of sobriety.