What Is An Alcoholic
Lets learn more about what an alcoholic is, what causes alcoholism, the difference between casual drinking and alcoholism and the warning signs of an alcohol addiction. Once we go through all that, you may have a better idea of why you fell into the addictions trap. On the other hand, if you find out you do have an addiction, you can contact our ARIA treatment team for help.
Am I addicted to alcohol? Well, the first thing you need to understand is what an alcoholic actually is like.
An alcoholic is someone that drinks beyond their ability to have control. Some other things you should know about an alcoholic include:
- Cant quit drinking voluntarily
- Intoxicated often
- Drinks a lot whenever they start drinking
- Drinks more than most everyone else they are hanging out with
- Has cravings for alcohol
- Develops a co-occurring disorder with alcohol addiction
If you or someone you know is an alcoholic or believes you are, dont hesitate to reach out to our team for addiction treatment today. We are able to start helping you right away.
Is Alcohol Considered A Drug
Although alcohol is legal and isnt classified as a controlled substance, its still considered a drug. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and slows down activity in the brain, causes mild to severe intoxication/impairment, and can lead to addiction if abused over time.
To learn more, read Is Alcohol A Drug?
A Biopsychosocialspiritual Understanding Of Addiction
While regarded biomedically as a neuropsychological disorder, addiction is multi-layered, with biological, psychological, social, cultural and spiritual elements. A biopsychosocialspiritual approach fosters the crossing of disciplinary boundaries, and promotes holistic considerations of addiction. A biopsychosocialspiritual approach considers, for example, how physical environments influence experiences, habits, and patterns of addiction.
Ethnographic engagements and developments in fields of knowledge have contributed to biopsychosocialspiritual understandings of addiction, including the work of Philippe Bourgois, whose fieldwork with street-level drug dealers in East Harlem highlights correlations between drug use and structural oppression in the United States. Prior models that have informed the prevailing biopsychosocialspiritual consideration of addiction include:
The cultural model
The cultural model did face criticism by SociologistRobin Room and others, who felt anthropologists could downgrade the severity of the problem.Merrill Singer found it notable that the ethnographers working within the prominence of the cultural model were part of the wet generation: while not blind to the disruptive, dysfunctional and debilitating effects of alcohol consumption, they were products socialized to view alcohol consumption as normal.
The Subcultural Model
The Critical Medical Anthropology Model
1. The social production of suffering
3. The political economy
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The Addictive Factors In Alcohol And Why It Prompts Alcohol And Drug Rehab
Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in America today, but exactly what makes alcohol addictive? According to the NCADD, 17.6 million people in the United States suffer from alcohol dependence or chronic alcohol abuse. Thats about one in twelve adults, with many more engaging in unhealthy binge drinking habits that can develop into alcoholism.
If you have witnessed someone deal with alcohol use disorder, you know finding a way to help can be challenging. The truth is, people drink for different reasons, so there is not one single solution treatment that works for one patient may not work for another. Ultimately, both physical and psychological addictive factors come into play when overcoming addiction.
What Makes Alcohol Addictive: Physical vs Psychological Factors
Drinking alcohol stimulates the release of dopamine and endorphins within the brain. These are the chemicals that produce feelings of pleasure and satisfaction and act as a natural painkiller. Studies have shown that genetic factors come into play when determining how alcohol reacts in the brains of different people. Specifically, some peoples brains released more pleasure chemicals in response to alcohol, making them more susceptible to physical dependency.
People who are addicted to alcohol and suddenly stop drinking undergo a detoxification process that can have a number of physical and psychological symptoms. These include:
Clients Can Find Fulfilment Without Alcohol
Alcohol treatment centers deliver a wide range of therapies and addiction treatment programs to clients. These can all be helpful because each individual client needs to create their own route to recovery. Part of this process is finding fulfillment that stems from something other than alcohol. In treatment, clients will find joy and purpose in unexpected places.
Some clients, for example, may struggle to socialize without alcohol. In group therapy and in social activities during rehab, they can relearn how to communicate while sober. Through games and activities, it is possible to find joy and happiness in these environments.
Other clients might want to re-enter the professional world. Alcohol addiction can be a stumbling block, but it doesnt necessarily prevent you from having a successful career again or for the first time. During treatment, counselors can help you plan for the future and discover what your purpose is in life. Finding this purpose can motivate clients to get healthy for all the right reasons.
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What Causes Alcohol Addiction
What is the root cause of alcohol addiction? There is no easy answer. But certain factors can raise your risk.
Like other addictions, alcoholismâalso called alcohol use disorder âappeals to the pleasure centers of the brain. When you drink alcohol regularly, your brain begins to associate the drinks with sensations like euphoria, relaxation, and loss of inhibitions. This, along with other predisposing factors, can result in cravings and dependency. Read on for the answers to six key questions about the causes of AUD.
Alcohol Rehab Near Me
Alcohol addiction is a condition that can cause major health problems, such as an overdose. We Level Up NJ rehab treatment & detox center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from this with professional and safe treatment. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition and clarify issues like alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.
You can recover from alcohol addiction with a strong medical detox program and the right support, including family support structures like systemic family interventions and group therapy. Help is available.
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What Are Common Alcoholism Risk Factors
These risk factors can make you more likely to become addicted to alcohol:
- Genetics and family history. If you have a parent or a close relative with alcohol addiction, your risk goes up. Research shows that genes are responsible for about half of the risk for AUD, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
- Underage drinking. If you start drinking before youâre 15 years old, you may be four times likelier to develop alcohol dependence later in life, the NIAAA says.
- Frequent drinking. The Mayo Clinic says that drinking alcohol too often or engaging in binge drinking can lead to addiction.
- Mental health conditions. According to a 2019 review in Lancet Psychiatry, illnesses like depression or bipolar disorder can predispose you to alcohol addiction, especially if you use alcohol to self-medicate.
- Trauma history. Traumatic experiences in the past, including childhood abuse, are strongly linked to developing alcoholism later in life, the NIAAA says.
- Male gender. Men are more likely than women to become addicted to alcohol. The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found 9.2 million men and 5.3 million women in the U.S. had an alcohol use disorder.
- Social factors. Social and family customs, culture, poor parental support, and peer pressure can play roles in alcohol addiction, the Mayo Clinic says.
Alcohol Addiction Research By The Recovery Village
To support this choice towards recovery and an alcohol-free life, The Recovery Village dedicates itself to understanding the why and how of alcohol addiction. In a recent study by The Recovery Village, we asked over two thousand people about their alcohol use.
When asked about their reasons for drinking alcohol:
- 65% used alcohol to cope with stress
- 44% used alcohol to cope with mental health symptoms like anxiety or depression
- 62% used alcohol recreationally or socially
- 38% used alcohol out of boredom
When asked if any health issues they had were related to their alcohol use:
- More than 1 in 3 reported depression
- Nearly 1 in 3 reported high blood pressure
- 1 in 6 reported liver disease
- 1 in 10 reported cirrhosis
- 1 in 10 reported cardiovascular disease
- 1 in 7 reported a weakened immune system
- 1 in 10 reported nerve damage
- 1 in 12 reported pancreatitis
- 1 in 11 reported seizures
- 1 in 13 reported cancer
About 47% of respondents qualified as heavy drinkers, which significantly increases their chance of developing an alcohol use disorder if they didnt already have one. Consistently, heavy drinkers reported every health complication more often than average and significantly more than moderate or light alcohol users. Heavy drinkers in our study had more than doubled their risk for having a health issue. They were :
They were also at higher risk for other common health complications compared to moderate or light drinkers. Heavy drinkers were:
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What Are The Different Types Of Alcohol
There are three different types of alcohol: methanol , isopropanol , and ethanol . Ethanol is the only type of alcohol that humans can drink.
The main types of alcoholic drinks are beer, wine, and liquor. Beer and wine are undistilled, while liquor is distilled. That means that when liquor is made, the alcohol is separated from the water used to make the drink. This process increases the drinks alcohol content.
The most popular types of liquor include brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, and whiskey.
Learn more about the Types Of Alcohol
How Common Is Alcoholism
Alcohol use disorders are more common than may be imagined. Notes Psychology Today, studies have revealed that 29.1 percent of the US population has experienced an alcohol use disorder at some point in their lifetime. Within a 12-month period, approximately 13.9 percent of the US population experiences an alcohol use disorder. About 19.8 percent of the adults who have experienced an alcohol use disorder in their lifetime seek treatment or ask for help at some point.
As Psychology Today points out, about 75 percent of the alcohol that Americans drink occurs in the form of binge drinking. The symptoms of binge drinking include blackouts and memory lapses. Over time, a chronic binge drinker can develop serious liver damage and/or brain damage.
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Physical Signs Of Alcohol Abuse
Many signs of alcohol abuse can appear in the short term, including:
- Drinking larger amounts of alcohol than previously consumed
- Spending more time, money and energy working on getting and using alcohol
- Spending more time being hungover and recovering from alcohols effects
- Frequently showing signs of intoxication, like slurred speech, poor coordination and walking problems
- Increased injuries from falling or engaging in risky behaviors
- Smelling of alcohol or having many empty bottles around the house
- Significant weight changes
Other physical signs of alcohol abuse require prolonged use and include:
- Cardiac issues, like high blood pressure, stroke and irregular heartbeat
- Liver problems, like fatty liver, hepatitis, fibrosis and cirrhosis
- Weakened immune system
How Alcohol Dependence Develops
Alcohol dependence can happen quite quickly. But it often happens after many years of heavy drinking.
Sometimes social drinking gradually becomes more frequent. Drinking more, until you can no longer control your drinking.
You might use alcohol to cope with problems or difficult times, until you can’t manage without it.
Not everyone who abuses alcohol is dependent on alcohol. Abusing alcohol can also affect your health and relationships.
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Symptoms Of Alcohol Addiction
There are 12 signs set by DSM-IV and DSM-5 to tell if you have AUD.4 You might have AUD if you struggle with at least 2 of the following criteria:
Excessive Drinking & Binge Drinking Definitions
Binge drinking is the most common form of excessive drinking.
The NIAAA defines it as a pattern of drinking that raises your blood alcohol concentration levels to 0.08% in a short amount of time.5
In most U.S. states, a person with a BAC of 0.08% is intoxicated. To reach this level of alcohol intoxication, it usually takes drinking 4 or more drinks and 5 or more drinks within two hours.5
Heavy drinking is when you binge drink for 5 or more days in a month. This is based on the definition of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration .7
NIAAA defines heavy drinking as the consumption of 4 or more drinks a day or at least 15 drinks per week in men, or 3 or more drinks a day or at least 8 drinks per week in women.5
Unhealthy drinking patterns such as heavy drinking and binge drinking may be signs of alcoholism.
People who start drinking in their mid-teen years are at higher risk for alcoholism. However, most individuals who develop alcohol-related problems do so in their late 30s.
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Understanding Alcohol Use Disorders And Their Treatment
People with alcohol use disorders drink to excess, endangering both themselves and others. This question-and-answer fact sheet explains alcohol problems and how psychologists can help people recover.
Understanding alcohol use disorders and their treatment.
For many people, drinking alcohol is nothing more than a pleasant way to relax. People with alcohol use disorders, however, drink to excess, endangering both themselves and others. This question-and-answer fact sheet explains alcohol problems and how psychologists can help people recover.
How Is Alcohol Abuse Diagnosed
Physicians and mental health experts use a combination of visual assessment and interview skills to accurately diagnose alcohol issues, including abuse, addiction and dependence. In some cases, a physical exam could be used to identify intoxication or withdrawal.
The formal diagnosis for someone with a problematic relationship with alcohol is alcohol use disorder. To diagnose this condition, a professional would investigate the most important factors like:
- Drinking more often and in larger amounts than intended
- Inability to follow through on intentions to stop drinking
- A large amount of time spent drinking or being hungover
- Strong cravings to continue alcohol use
- Neglect of normal activities
- Drinking alcohol even though it is causing physical or mental health problems
- Drinking in a situation where there is great danger, like while driving
- Increased physical tolerance to alcohol
- The presence of withdrawal symptoms when alcohol use is stopped
A person only needs two of these signs and symptoms to receive an alcohol use disorder diagnosis. Having more symptoms could indicate a more serious condition.
While these factors may be used to diagnose alcohol abuse, an accurate diagnosis depends upon your honesty with your treatment provider. Being honest with a doctor is vital to understanding if alcohol abuse is something that should be diagnosed.
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Getting Help For Alcoholism
If you suspect that you or someone you care about has an AUD, it may be time to seek professional help. Alcohol.org is a subsidiary of American Addiction Centers , a nationwide provider of addiction treatment facilities.
As a leading provider of addiction treatment services, we offer a combination of proven therapies and services to meet your individual needs. Our admissions navigators are available 24/7 to discuss your treatment options today and tell you more about what to expect. Call our Alcohol Detox Hotline at all calls are 100% confidential.
- Resources about addiction and recovery
- Information about our treatment process
Stage : The Early Stage
The earliest stage of alcoholism often begins with an increased pattern of drinking. This can mean drinking more frequently, as well as drinking larger quantities of alcohol. Binge drinking, which involves having multiple drinks within a small window, is a common initial sign of a drinking problem.
The early stage of alcoholism begins when the individuals increase their patterns of drinking. This can be defined as drinking more than usual as well as in larger quantities.
This can often be seen with binge drinking. Binge-drinking is characterized by having multiple drinks at a time within a small window. It is common to see this act as an initial sign of a drinking problem.
Binge drinking is different for both men and women. It is considered binge drinking of men when they consume more than five drinks in a two-hour window. While women have to have four drinks in a two-hour window.
It is common among younger adults and teenagers to experiment with alcohol. While this is a key indicator of AUD it is not the only one. Other signs that indicate a problem can also include:
- Drinking out of boredom
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When Should Someone Seek Help
Individuals often hide their drinking or deny they have a problem. How can you tell if you or someone you know is in trouble? Signs of a possible problem include having friends or relatives express concern, being annoyed when people criticize your drinking, feeling guilty about your drinking and thinking that you should cut down but finding yourself unable to do so, or needing a morning drink to steady your nerves or relieve a hangover.
Some people with drinking problems work hard to resolve them. With the support of family members or friends, these individuals are often able to recover on their own. However, those with alcohol dependence usually can’t stop drinking through willpower alone. Many need outside help. They may need medically supervised detoxification to avoid potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures. Once people are stabilized, they may need help resolving psychological issues associated with problem drinking.
There are several approaches available for treating alcohol problems. No one approach is best for all individuals.