Is it a Drinking HABIT or a Drinking PROBLEM?

stop drinking messageA lot of alcoholics talk about how they look back and can see that they never knew, never really could predict, when they’d get too drunk, when they’d cross the line from what felt like normal heavy drinking into raging, out-of-control drinking.” ~ Caroline Knapp, Drinking: A Love Story

Alcohol is the most-used intoxicating substance in the world— 86% of US adults have taken a drink at some point in their lives. For many, drinking is a harmless social activity, when done in moderation.

But for others (approximately 15.8 million Americans) uncontrollable drinking is a symptom of their disease of addiction. But where is “the line”? When does a person who enjoys drinking become a person with a drinking problem?

Alcoholism, like all substance abuse disorders, is a progressive disease with multiple stages of severity. Unfortunately, too many people don’t recognize their drinking problem during the early stages and instead live in denial until it’s almost too late.

It STARTS with How Much You Drink

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines “heavy” or “increased risk” drinking as:

Binge-drinking 5 or more times during the past month

  • Men: 5+ drinks within a two-hour period
  • Women: 4+ drinks within a two-hour period

Daily/Weekly drinking

  • Men: More than 4 drinks on any single day or 14 drinks per week
  • Women: More than 3 drinks on any single day or 7 drinks per week

Only 2% of people who drink within these guidelines develop an Alcohol Use Disorder. If your drinking habits put you in either the “heavy” or “increased risk” categories, you are on a slippery slope.

It CONTINUES with Negative Consequences

stop alcohol abuse wordclousA lot of alcoholics talk about how they look back and can see that they never knew, never really could predict, when they’d get too drunk, when they’d cross the line from what felt like normal heavy drinking into raging, out-of-control drinking.” ~ Caroline Knapp, Drinking: A Love Story

Drinking starts to become a problem when other areas of your life are negatively impacted because of it:

  • Legal entanglements – DUIs, Public Intoxication charges, etc.
  • Work/School difficulties – Absenteeism, poor performance/grades, suspension, termination, etc.
  • Relationship issues – Arguments, domestic violence, child abuse, separation, divorce, etc.
  • Health problems – Blackouts, heart/liver damage, cancer, etc.
  • Money troubles – Unemployment, prolonged joblessness, unpaid bills, repossessions, etc.

If any of these difficulties are related to your drinking IN ANY WAY, then your “habit” has started to become a “problem”.

It CONCLUDES as an Addiction

Now, is the moment of truth – if you continue to drink in spite of the negative consequences, then you are exhibiting one of the major symptoms necessary for a medical diagnosis of addiction.

By this time, you may even find yourself unable to stop. When you are in the grip of a full-blown addiction, you no longer have any control over when or how much you drink. Now, without immediate intervention, your disease will only get worse, possibly to the point of permanent damage or death.

How Does Someone Know If They Are An Alcoholic?

Judy Saalinger, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Lasting Recovery discusses how someone knows if they are an alcoholic or has a substance abuse problem.

Lasting Recovery is one of the most-trusted outpatient alcohol rehab programs in San Diego. If you need help for an Alcohol Use Disorder, Lasting Recovery offers evidence-based and wellness-focused treatment protocols that can help restore sobriety and sanity to your life.

Lasting Recovery – “Where Wellness Begins…”

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