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Do I Have a Drinking Problem?

Alcohol is a substance that can be used responsibly and for pleasure, but it is often abused. Alcohol abuse includes alcoholism, binge drinking, and drinking irresponsibly. Many people with a drinking problem are unaware or in denial that they have a problem. Admitting to a problem and doing something about it are the first steps toward ending alcohol abuse.

Am I an Alcoholic?

Alcoholics cannot go more than a few hours or days without drinking. This disease is known for taking over sufferers' lives by consuming their thoughts and actions. Alcoholism can affect any person in any geographic location, but they all have one thing in common, and that is that they cannot stop drinking. It is more than just a craving or a habit; alcoholics are physically dependent on alcohol and don't have the power to stop drinking. If they do try to go a day without alcohol, they experience severe and sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

In order to determine if you are an alcoholic, answer the following questions:

  1. Is my drinking affecting my relationships?
  2. Have I tried unsuccessfully to cut back on my drinking?
  3. Am I spending a lot of time thinking about drinking?
  4. Do I ever feel guilty about my drinking?
  5. Are people complaining to me about my drinking and telling me they think I have a problem?
  6. Have I had a drink in the morning during the past year?
  7. Have I had problems connected with drinking during the past year?
  8. Do I tell myself I can stop drinking anytime I want to, even though I know I keep getting drunk when I don'tneed to?
  9. Have I missed days at work because of drinking?
  10. Do I have blackouts as a result of alcohol?

If you answered yes to more than four of these questions, you may be an alcoholic. Seriously consider seeking professional help to get you through this problem.

Do I Abuse Alcohol?

Many people have a drinking problem without being an alcoholic. Binge drinking, drinking and driving, and irresponsible drinking are all forms of alcohol abuse. Alcohol abusers are not necessarily addicted to alcohol, but their problem is still serious because alcohol abuse can lead to accident, injury, alcohol poisoning, and death. Someone who binge drinks can go for days or weeks without consuming alcohol, but they rely on alcohol to have a good time with friends, to numb emotional pain, or to manage stress. Alcohol abuse can often lead to alcoholism, because over time individuals build up a tolerance for alcohol and require the substance more often and in greater quantities to achieve the desired results.

The good news is that alcohol abuse can usually be managed and cured with a little determination and maturity. College students and young adults often binge drink, and as they get older and more mature they see the danger and harm in alcohol abuse and they are able to stop. Of course, many people continue to abuse alcohol even as they get older, and there is always the risk of becoming an alcoholic, which is a more difficult disease to treat.

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are both dangerous conditions, and individuals with these issues should consider getting professional help. Alcoholism leads to decreased brain function and liver problems, which can lead to death. Alcohol abuse can cause drunken driving, accidents, alcohol poisoning, and death. Both conditions jeopardize an individual's relationships, career, and safety. While one is a habit (alcohol abuse) and the other is an addiction (alcoholism), both should be taken seriously and treated when necessary.