Alcohol seems to saturate our culture. Drinking is one of the most commonly accepted drugs by a widespread margin. That’s why it’s not always easy to tell when your own, or a loved one’s, drinking has crossed the line from being a social and moderate drinker, into having a problem. You want to be able to honestly answer the question, am I an alcoholic?
It’s important to be able to understand what alcoholism entails, so you can recognize it in yourself or a loved one. Below we highlight the symptoms and signs of alcoholism, what it means to be a high-functioning alcoholic, questions to assess your alcohol dependence, and when you should seek out treatment.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism
Alcoholism is the most severe and dangerous forms of alcohol abuse. Alcoholism has all of the same signs of alcohol abuse, but it means you also have a physical addiction to alcohol. If you need to drink just to get through the day or feel a physical compulsion to drink, then that means you’re an alcoholic.
Common physical withdrawal symptoms include:
In severe cases alcohol withdrawal can even lead to hallucinations, seizures, fever, and even death. Since alcohol/drug detox can be extremely dangerous it’s important to speak with a doctor or other qualified medical professional.
What is a High-Functioning Alcoholic?
One of the most common hurdles you’ll have to get over when it comes to alcoholism is denial. When you’re in a state of denial you deny even having a problem whatsoever. A high-functioning alcoholic might assume they don’t have a problem with alcohol, because, their life is seemingly together.
For instance, a high-functioning alcoholic will still be able to have a great job, friends, family and a social life. This can lead to denying they have a problem since it’s not negatively affecting their life.
However, long-term drinking does pose a number of dangerous health risks, and can lead to increased likelihood of developing cancer and other health problems.
The following are common signs that you or a loved one needs help:
- Need alcohol in order to relax
- Use alcohol as a social lubricant to feel confident
- Getting drunk on a regular basis
- Blacking out when drinking
- Causing loved ones to worry about your drinking
- Denying drinking, or hiding alcohol consumption
- Getting angry when confronted about drinking
The treatment for a high-functioning alcoholic will be the same as the other forms of treatment highlighted below.
Self-assessment tests can be difficult, especially because admitting you have a problem with alcohol can be a very difficult first step. Below we include a few questions for those people who are ready to honestly examine if they have a troubling relationship with alcohol.
- Do you hide your drinking from friends and loved ones?
- Do you always need to drink following a stressful situation?
- Is drinking causing any negative consequences throughout your life?
- Is it difficult to function without having a drink?
- Have you broken promises to yourself about drinking less?
The National Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence offers a more in-depth self-assessment test.
When Should I Seek Out Alcohol Abuse Treatment?
If you’re ready to admit that you have a problem with your drinking, then you’ve already completed the first step. Depending on how severe your alcoholism it’s recommended to seek out a treatment center. Their experienced medical staff will be able to assist you through the often painful alcohol detox and withdrawal process, and help you build a new life of sobriety.
Having the assistance of a community of people who are dedicated to your success will greatly reduce your chances of relapse. In order to continue to live an alcohol-free life, you’ll also need to get treatment for any co-occurring disorders that may be enabling your alcoholism, including depression, unresolved trauma, or other mental health disorders.
Reach out to Palmer Lake Recovery if you’re serious about ending your addiction to alcohol once and for all.