Understanding Alcoholism

It is important to understand that alcohol abuse and alcoholism are different issues, although they can both require alcohol detox or other forms of intervention. Alcohol abusers are often not addicted to alcohol, although they may drink heavily with negative consequences. Usually, this heavy consumption occurs on a weekly basis rather than a daily basis, but many times abusers find them dealing with issues such as alcohol poisoning. Excessive social drinking and those with alcohol addiction take increasingly unsafe risks, such as driving under the influence. 

Alcoholism refers to a dependence on alcohol, both physically and psychologically, that controls an individual’s drinking behaviors. These cravings for alcohol make it difficult, if not impossible, for people to stop drinking. This uncontrolled drinking may remain a problem even when physical harm or social alienation occurs.  Most addicts feel they cannot function without it and often need to drink more as their tolerance increases. These individuals have an alcohol addiction and should be encouraged to seek treatment.

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Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

It can be difficult to remain objective when dealing with personal or loved one’s alcohol addiction issues. Denial can play a big role when attempting to confront and address problem drinking. The fact that there is a very fine line between alcohol abuse and alcoholism can make it even more confusing. There are five important signs to watch for when trying to self-diagnose alcohol addiction. These symptoms often are the hallmark to alcoholism and while not every addict can be identified using these signs, they can be used to clarify the need for treatment.

  • Relationship Strain and Trouble
  • Ignoring Basic Adult Responsibilities
  • Increased Tolerance to Alcohol
  • Inability to Stop Drinking
  • Physical Effects of Alcohol Withdrawal

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High-Functioning Alcoholics

Most have heard and understood the term high-functioning alcoholic.  For those individuals who have not been directly affected by alcoholism, the ability to recognize the symptoms can be difficult. Many times, people that work with high-functioning alcoholics have no idea about the severity of the problem. Their ability to keep up the appearance that their personal and professional lives are not suffering is the main reason they go without treatment.

It may be even more surprising to note that some evidence exists giving credibility to the idea that a high percentage of alcoholics are high-functioning. Often these individuals are well-educated lawyers, doctors, and executives. Only when alcohol-related situations and accompanying consequences happen are many forced to seek help for their addiction.


Do You Need Alcohol Treatment? What to look for…


Having one drink daily isn’t typically a sign of problem drinking. The symptoms are usually much more severe and can create issues in your personal life, your career, and your health. The first way you can diagnose your problem is to watch for symptoms of the disorder. Some of the symptoms to watch for include:

  • If you drink at least once a week more than you want to.
  • If you have attempted to reduce your drinking but have failed.
  • If you continue to drink and drive even though you know the risks.
  • If drinking helps you feel less depressed or anxious.
  • If you have ever experienced a blackout after drinking heavily.
  • If you have become sick while trying to quit drinking. 
  • If friends and family are complaining about your drinking.
  • If you have lost interest in things you used to enjoy in the past.
  • If you feel you must drink more alcohol because the effects are wearing off.
  • If you have suffered from drinking problems affecting your health such as heart murmurs, liver failure, insomnia, nausea, or puking.

After looking over the list above, if you have experienced more than one or two of these, you likely have a drinking disorder or you are getting close to developing one. If that is the case for you, contact us at Coastline Behavioral Health so we can help you get on the road to recovery. Just because you drink doesn’t mean you have a disorder, so knowing the symptoms above can help you understand better if you need help. Everyone is different so just because the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program is right for one it may not be for another. Our experienced and caring team will discuss your personal situation and make recommendations for the most appropriate alcoholic rehab program.

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