Am I An Alcoholic?

Am I An Alcoholic

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is an addiction to alcohol. While this explanation sounds simple enough, it can still cause a lot of confusion.

There are different types, levels, and experiences that alcoholics experience. 

It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re not an alcoholic if you haven’t experienced financial or relationship troubles, lost your license, or been in an accident while intoxicated.

Alcoholism isn’t always this straightforward. 

So, how do you know if you have a problem if it doesn’t look like our overgeneralized idea of what alcoholism is?

We’ll break down the answer to this question throughout the rest of this article. 

Am I An Alcoholic?

At some point, many binge drinkers ask themselves: do I have a drinking problem?

Generally, when your drinking reaches the point that you have to ask yourself this, the answer is likely yes.

But we will help you further evaluate and understand this complex concern. 

Use, Abuse, Dependence, and Alcoholism

Use, Abuse, Dependence, and Alcoholism

Addictions to alcohol are exceedingly unique for a few different reasons.

First, alcohol is an entirely legal substance, and therefore, generally goes unregulated for those over 21. Second, it is normalized enough to be a staple in most gatherings and celebrations. 

When was the last time you attended an office party, holiday gathering, or birthday party where no one had even one drink?

Third, it can be confusing and upsetting to try to understand why some people become addicted and others do not. 

So, how do we distinguish normal, healthy alcohol use from abuse, dependence, and alcoholism?

Nearly 18 million American adults have an alcohol use disorder. Every one of these disorders is unique.

They range from mild to severe and are never one-size-fits-all. 

But what separates normal use from abuse is the frequency.

What separates abuse from dependence is compulsive use.

Dependence is a key factor in alcoholism, as well. As your body builds a tolerance and dependence, you crave alcohol more. 

And you experience additional withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop drinking, too. Withdrawal symptoms are some of the most common red flags. 

Alcoholic Stereotypes: What If I Don’t Fit the Mold?

For many years, the media has perpetuated alcoholic stereotypes that aren’t always entirely accurate.

On TV shows and in movies, they all tend to resemble each other.

They’re down on their luck, broke or alone, got fired from their job, or changed course after an accident. 

While these situations surely exist, alcoholics come in many other forms that we don’t always acknowledge the way we should.

Addiction is a chronic disease that affects our brain chemistry.

Depending on our medical histories, mental health, and other individual factors, it can affect us in different ways. 

High-functioning alcoholics tend to break all the rules associated with alcoholic stereotypes.

Rather than appearing to be at rock bottom, high functioning alcoholics often live relatively normal lives.

They work, often in high-paying jobs, they’re educated, they have families and spouses, and balance daily responsibilities alongside their drinking. 

Signs of Alcohol Dependence

So, since alcohol use disorders come in different forms and levels, how do you know if you’re an alcoholic?

There are mild, moderate, and severe alcohol use disorders, alcoholism, and binge drinkers.

At the different stages, many of the signs and symptoms may overlap. 

This can cause some confusion. But there are red flags to look for in those with alcohol dependence.

What makes someone an alcoholic is the inability to stop drinking without experiencing cravings and other withdrawal symptoms.

In the next section, we will go over common risk factors for alcohol use disorders. 

Causes and Risk Factors for Alcoholism and other Alcohol Use Disorders

Causes and Risk Factors for Alcoholism and other Alcohol Use Disorders

Addiction develops from several different pathways. Mental health disorders, genetics, and environment are three of the most significant pathways.

Understanding the risk factors for developing alcoholism can help us avoid or overcome it. 

Some of the most common risk factors for alcohol use disorders include: 

  • Having more than 15 drinks per week if you’re male
  • Having more than 12 drinks per week if you’re female 
  • Having one or more parents with an alcohol use disorder 
  • Having pre-existing mental health disorder(s), most commonly depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia 
  • Having a stressful school, work, or home life 
  • Having low self-esteem 
  • Having a social circle that prioritizes drinking over all else or pressures others into participation even if they prefer not to drink 

Getting Answers and Understanding Your Addiction

It is not always easy to determine if we have a problem or not. The list above offers guidance into how alcohol use disorders develop.

But what do the symptoms look like once it has already developed? One of the first signs is personality changes. 

This might mean drinking alone or avoiding daily activities or responsibilities to drink more.

It might mean avoiding gatherings or activities where alcohol is not served, sneaking drinks there or in other inappropriate situations, or hiding your drinking from your loved ones.  

Needing more alcohol to get drunk because your body has built a higher tolerance is another sign of trouble.

Another sign is someone lying or becoming defensive, angry, or violent when their drinking is questioned. 

Lastly, drinking even after problems arise in your work-life, finances, relationships, or health is another sign of trouble.

If you are looking for additional signs or have unanswered questions, you can take a self-assessment quiz.  

Self-Assessment Quizzes

There are three free and confidential online screening tests you can take to better understand your drinking habits: 

The CAGE quiz is a good first step in determining whether your habits have become a cause for concern.

Developed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, this four-question quiz is an easy starting point. 

The MAST test is 22 questions with a simple scoring system at the end.

A score of six or higher indicates hazardous drinking habits or alcohol dependence.

The experts who created the test at the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence recommend calling a healthcare professional if you score above a six. 

The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) is a simple, effective alcohol consumption screening.

This is the most widely used, as it is based on data from a multinational World Health Organization (WHO) study. 

Choosing the Right Treatment for Alcoholism

Choosing the Right Treatment for Alcoholism

In the same way that there are different types and levels of alcoholism, there are also different types and levels of treatment for it.

What works for one person may not work for another.

That’s why we personalize our treatment programs based on the needs of the individual rather than the needs of the majority. 

Pathfinders: A Full Continuum of Care Options

Someone with severe dependence or withdrawal symptoms, little support at home, and a history of relapse might be better suited for an inpatient or residential program.

This gives you 24-hour access to the care, guidance, and support of our expert teams. 

In the comfort and safety of our luxury-level facilities, you will work toward your goals through a variety of proven treatment methods.

A few of the most common treatment methods include behavioral therapies, support groups, and holistic remedies. 

Someone with a milder addiction, support at home, or full-time work and family obligations that prevent a full-time stay might be better suited for an intensive outpatient program or another option.

But we do not expect our clients to have all the answers before they come to us. 

We will work with you to determine which course of action will best fit your addiction and needs.

Because one-size-fits-all solutions are ineffective. We treat each of our clients on an individual basis.

That is the Pathfinders difference. Call us today at (866) 263-1820 to learn more.

Alcohol Rehab Centers Near Me

Alcohol Rehab Centers Near Me Pathfinders Recovery Center - A woman is depressed as her husband chugs a beer and she thinks about mentioning looking into alcohol rehab centers near me to see if her husband will get treatment.

What are Alcohol Rehab Centers?

For most people, five standard drinks are metabolized in about five hours.

Alcohol does not affect everyone the same way. It can vary depending on how much you weigh, how often you drink, how fast you drink, your gender, and many other factors.

For people who have a drinking problem, five standard drinks are metabolized faster.

This means they need to drink more to feel the alcohol’s effects.

An increase in the amount you drink can lead to serious health issues, including alcoholism, which is a serious, chronic disease.

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Understanding “Alcohol Rehab Centers Near Me”

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to treat an alcohol use disorder. That is why when you search “alcohol rehab centers near me,” you are provided a range of treatment options.

At Pathfinders Recovery Center, this means we are able to custom-tailor treatments to suit every client that comes to us for help. Our programs include detox, residential rehab, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient rehab, and dual diagnosis care.

If you are looking for inpatient alcohol rehab centers near you, we have exactly the program you need. Our inpatient alcohol rehab treatment allows you to complete your treatment at our facility without the distractions and temptations of the outside world.

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The Physical Effects of Alcohol Abuse

While five standard drinks are metabolized in about five hours, their effects on your health can last a lifetime.

Alcohol abuse can cause serious damage to various parts of the body. It can cause damage to your heart muscles. This can lead to an irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

Alcohol abuse also causes many different issues with your liver. This can include cirrhosis, fibrosis, a fatty liver, and alcoholic hepatitis.

Alcoholic hepatitis has many side effects, including bloating and yellow skin or eyes. The long-term damage these issues cause can lead to serious liver damage, and even require a liver transplant.

One of the biggest risks of alcohol abuse is the risk of developing certain kinds of cancer. People who abuse alcohol are at a higher risk of having esophageal, liver, breast, and colon cancer.

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Mental Illness and Alcohol Abuse

Another issue frequently seen at local alcohol rehab centers is mental health illnesses that often simultaneously occur with addiction issues. This is known as a dual diagnosis.

For example, some people had mental health issues before they began drinking and tried to use alcohol to treat their symptoms. Others developed them after their alcohol abuse worsened.

Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it slows down your nervous system. When someone drinks occasionally, alcohol can make them feel relaxed and more confident. When someone abuses alcohol, their brain begins to rely on alcohol to transmit these so-called “feel good” chemicals. This makes your brain crave alcohol in order to make you feel good. The longer you abuse alcohol, the worse this issue becomes. You may begin to experience serious depression, anxiety, or anger issues when you are not drinking.

This is what leads to an addiction to alcohol. With the help of simply searching for “alcohol rehab centers near me,” you are on your way to learning how to manage and treat your mental health issues in a healthy way. This means you will no longer attempt to self-medicate with alcohol and can overcome your addiction

Alcohol Rehab Centers Near Me Pathfinders Recovery Center - A middle-aged man search for "alcohol rehab centers near me" and is meeting with an addiction specialist to determine whether or not he has a problem with his drinking.

How to Tell if you Need an Alcohol Rehab Center Near You

If you are looking for an outpatient or inpatient alcohol center near you, chances are that you are already aware you have a drinking problem. You may not be sure, or you may be looking up this information for someone else.

Alcoholism has many different symptoms you can look for in yourself and in others.

These symptoms can include:

  • Do you end up drinking more than you meant to or for longer periods of time?
  • Have you tried to cut down or stop your drinking but found that you could not?
  • Do you spend a lot of time buying alcohol or recovering from hangovers?
  • Do you feel a strong, irresistible urge to drink when you are sober?
  • Does your drinking interfere with your ability to do your job or go to school?
  • Is your drinking causing issues in your family life or with your friends?
  • Have you given up activities or hobbies you used to enjoy so that you can drink instead?
  • Have you ever participated in risky activities while drinking, such as driving while under the influence or having unsafe sex?
  • Do you keep drinking even though it makes you feel depressed or anxious?
  • Do you know that drinking is causing problems with your health but still cannot stop?
  • Are you finding that you have to drink more and more in order to feel drunk or relaxed?
  • Do you experience withdrawal symptoms, like insomnia, shakiness, depression, nausea, or sweating, when you are not drinking?

If you respond “yes” to two or more of these questions, there is a good chance that you are abusing alcohol. Now is the time to consider contacting one of the local alcohol rehab centers in your area.

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Treatment Options at Alcohol Rehab Centers near you

When it comes to getting treatment for your alcohol addiction, the first step is finding alcohol rehab centers near you.

If your local alcohol rehab center is Pathfinders Recovery Center, we urge you to contact us as soon as possible. We have many different scientifically-backed treatment options available to help each of our clients find lasting recovery from their alcohol addiction.

We offer both medical and behavioral treatments to treat alcoholism.

Our medical treatment program uses approved medicines that help treat alcoholism. Disulfiram makes you feel nauseous if you drink, which can make it easier for you to avoid alcohol. Naltrexone blocks the effects of alcohol so you can no longer get drunk, and helps to reduce cravings. Acamprostate also helps reduce cravings and is a good option for clients when they first stop drinking.

The other part of your recovery plan will be behavioral treatment. This includes both individual and group therapy sessions. Through therapy, we will be able to help you to identify the thoughts and behaviors that lead to your alcohol abuse.

Then we will give you the tools to help you avoid the things that trigger your drinking.

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Get the Help You Need by Searching for “Alcohol Rehab Centers Near Me”

An addiction to alcohol can cause serious problems in your life.

But, you do not have to keep living with this debilitating disease.

At Pathfinders Recovery Center, we know what it takes to get your life back to normal after addiction.

We do our very best to ensure your recovery success by using only scientifically-researched, cutting-edge, and personalized effective drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs.

We have over 25 years of experience in helping people with addictions and co-occurring disorders to overcome their addictions.

Many of our clients wonder whether or not they will be able to take advantage of their health insurance benefits to help cover their treatment.

That is why we offer free insurance verification when you call our Admissions Department.

You can trust us to communicate with your insurance provider to make sure you receive every benefit you are entitled to.

If you are looking for an alcohol rehab center near you, let us use our years of experience to help you get on the path to a meaningful and lasting recovery.

Contact us today, and see the difference our rehab programs can make in getting your life back on track.

The 5 Types of Alcoholics

Not All Alcoholics Are the Same

When we think of the term “alcoholics,” we think of individuals addicted to drinking alcohol.

For this reason, it is easy to lump everyone who is affected by alcohol addiction into a single group.

However, this kind of catch-all approach does not reflect the reality of alcohol addiction.

Current research shows there are five subgroups of people dealing with alcoholism.

No matter which of these groups you belong to, you will likely need help to recover your sobriety.

Additionally, it’s important to know that not everyone with serious drinking problems faces the same situation.

This kind of awareness gives doctors the ability to tailor treatment plans surrounding their specific needs and situation.

The 5 Types of Alcoholics Pathfinders - A man sits with an addiction therapist as part of an initial assessment for rehab to discuss the different types of alcoholics and which type he falls under to determine the right treatment plan to get him on the path to recovery and long-term sobriety.

How Is Alcoholism Defined?

Before breaking down the sub-types of alcoholism, it helps to clarify what alcoholism itself means. Today, experts view alcoholism as part of an illness called alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Symptoms that point to an alcohol addiction include:

  • Regularly consuming more alcohol than you initially planned
  • Repeated lack of success when you try multiple times to stop drinking
  • Making drinking and drinking-related activities the focus of your day
  • Needing more and more alcohol to feel like its effects on you
  • Not quitting drinking after seeing its negative impact on your health
  • Feeling a strong pull toward drinking when not consuming alcohol
  • Experiencing withdrawal if you take a break from drinking or try to quit

You can be diagnosed with AUD if you have experienced two of these symptoms. You can also be diagnosed if you have just one symptom of alcoholism and one symptom of non-addicted alcohol abuse. The most severely affected drinkers typically experience six to 11 alcohol-related symptoms.

 

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The Five Types of Alcoholics

Being addicted to alcohol is just the baseline definition of alcoholism. To understand alcoholism better, researchers have studied the condition in greater detail.

There are a couple of reasons why this is significant. First, this additional information makes it possible for doctors to better understand their patients struggling with alcohol abuse and addiction. Moreover, it allows people affected by the illness to understand themselves better.

With all of this in mind, here are five subgroups of people affected by alcohol addiction.

Drinkers Who Are Young Adults

Young adults are people between the ages of 18 and 25. People in this age range make up a large percentage of all alcohol consumers in the U.S. They also make up a significant percentage of binge drinkers and heavy drinkers.

Roughly one-third of all Americans addicted to alcohol are young adults. People in this category are not as likely to have additional problems often found in heavy drinkers.

These problems include a family history of alcoholism. They also include the presence of other mental health issues, including additional substance addiction. If you belong to this subgroup of drinkers, chances are low that you have sought help for your problems.

Young People With Antisocial Tendencies

People who behave in antisocial ways do things that violate the norms of everyday behavior.

Some of these actions include stealing, invading other people’s personal space, and committing violent or aggressive acts. In some cases, these individuals may have an antisocial personality disorder.

About a fifth of all Americans addicted to alcohol are young adults in their 20s with antisocial tendencies. If you belong to this subgroup, you may also have:

  • An anxiety disorder
  • A bipolar illness
  • Major depression

It is not uncommon for those affected to have an additional addiction to opioids or cocaine. There is also a very good chance that these individuals use marijuana or smoke cigarettes. Interestingly, antisocial problem drinkers often seek treatment. Over 33% of people in this category do so.

“Functional” Alcoholics

Functional alcoholics are addicted to alcohol and manage to maintain much of their daily competence.

For this reason, they may slip through the cracks when it comes to detecting an alcohol-related problem. Roughly one in five problem drinkers fit into this subgroup. These people tend to be in their 40s or 50s. They also tend to have a high level of education and meet their responsibilities at work and home. Many people in this category have parents or grandparents with alcohol problems. Cases of major depression are also relatively common. The same holds true for cigarette use.

Intermediate Familial Drinkers

People in this subgroup are middle-aged adults. About 50% have some diagnosable depression, and about 20% have bipolar disorder. The same holds true for marijuana and cocaine abuse. Close to 20% of all people with alcoholism belong to the intermediate familial subgroup. Unfortunately, one in four of these people are likely to seek treatment for their drinking.

Long-Term, Severe Drinkers

9% of those that struggle with alcoholism belong to this subgroup of long-term, severe drinkers. This group includes those most heavily affected by alcohol use disorder. It also consists of those most heavily affected by other mental health issues, including antisocial personality disorder, bipolar disorders, and major depression.

The vast majority of long-term severe drinkers come from families with alcohol problems. People in this category also frequently suffer from addictions to substances such as:

  • Opioids
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana

It is common for severe alcoholics to seek treatment. This is the only subgroup where more than 50% of those affected seek help.

 

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Not Enough Alcoholics Enter Treatment

One glaring statistic holds true for most problem drinkers: They do not seek help for their alcohol use disorder. This is a truly unfortunate situation. Why? In the 21st century, there are multiple proven treatments for people affected by AUD.

Those treatments options include medication and supportive care that makes it possible to stop drinking. They also include medication and behavioral therapy to help you remain alcohol-free. This does not mean the road to sobriety is easy. Setbacks are common, and you will almost certainly have bad days while in alcohol rehab. Still, lasting sobriety is possible, and rehab programs help people make progress toward their recovery goals each and every day.

 

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Regardless of Your Sub-Type, Seek Help

Today, it is common for health insurance to cover the cost of an alcohol rehab program. Even if your insurance does not cover your treatment, you have a good chance of finding programs that provide alternative flexible payment options. This means that people in all kinds of financial situations can get the assistance they need.

The understanding that you belong to a subgroup of alcoholics does not need to be a negative realization. On the contrary, you can use this knowledge to learn more about your situation. You can also use it to focus on treatments known to have helped many people in similar circumstances. Experienced professionals in your program will help identify these treatments.

The 5 Types of Alcoholics Pathfinders - A group of individuals suffering from alcoholism are in a group therapy session as part of their treatment plan to discuss their stories and experiences as alcoholics, learn healthy coping strategies, and build a strong, sober support system.

For information on how to get the help you need, contact Pathfinders today. Our addiction specialists will answer all of your questions about the available treatments. We also offer treatment services that benefit all types of problem drinkers.

 

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