Surveys show that more than half of Americans drink regularly. Depending on the survey, between 51 and 73 percent of Americans drink regularly, and that number may be growing, especially among women and minorities. Somewhere between 10 and 15 percent of regular drinkers will develop a serious alcohol use disorder. With drinking so common, it can be hard to tell when normal social drinking becomes problem drinking. Here are some indications that you have become dependent on alcohol and you should consider slowing down or quitting completely.
You need more alcohol to get drunk.
If three drinks used to get you buzzed, but now you don’t even feel it, you have probably started to build a tolerance. Tolerance and dependence are two sides of the same coin. When you need to drink more to have the same effect, you at least have a physical dependence and probably an addiction as well.
You black out a lot.
Blackouts happen when your blood alcohol level rises quickly. Your hippocampus is one of the areas of your brain most impaired by alcohol, which means you can’t make new memories and you have no idea what happened the night before. The more heavily you drink, the more you are prone to blackouts. Not only are blackouts disturbing in themselves, but you have no idea what you might have done while your judgment was impaired.
You have withdrawal when you don’t drink.
If you’ve started to build a tolerance, you will likely experience withdrawal when you don’t drink. You may have a headache, shaking hands, sweats, nausea, and irritability. Fear of withdrawal often makes people keep drinking when they know they should quit.
You need to drink to feel normal.
Typically, people who drink a lot either want to relieve some emotional pain, or they enjoy the feeling drinking gives them. Some people drink to relieve social anxiety. If you used to drink because you enjoyed it, but then start drinking to feel normal, it’s a pretty good sign you have developed an addiction.
Drinking interferes with more important things.
The other major sign of addiction is that you would rather drink than do more important things. You might blow off school or work obligations. You might neglect family responsibilities or cancel plans with friends. You may even know that you’re making the wrong decision, but you can’t help it.
You’ve tried to quit but couldn’t.
Being unable to quit is perhaps the biggest indicator of addiction. Whether you find the withdrawal too painful, you’re too tempted by friends, or you just change your mind and decide you don’t really have a problem after all, it all amounts to the same thing–you decide to quit but can’t follow through. This is why many people need professional help to quit drinking.
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol addiction or mental illness, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.