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Perhaps you are not the type who drinks a lot. You may even be able to go for a prolonged time without drinking alcohol or you could be the type who would only drink beer or wine in social events. Even in these seemingly non-alcoholic behaviors, you may still be at risk of alcohol dependency and alcohol abuse.

Not everyone who abuses alcohol are in fact alcoholics.

People who abuse alcohol put themselves at a risk for becoming dependent or even addicted to alcohol. There are people who may develop alcoholism gradually, taking years before these individuals become diagnosed alcoholics. Then again there are those who with one major stress factor like a loss of a job, death of a loved one, or even a breakup can quickly escalate from alcohol abuse to alcohol addiction.

Binge drinking is a sign of alcohol abuse.

If you are able to consume 4-5 or even more alcoholic drinks in just 2 hours or even less, then you are binge drinking. While this is more common in young adults aged 18-34 years old, binge drinking can also be found in other age groups. Recent studies have even shown that adults 65+ binge drink more frequently.  

Emotional & physical self-destructive behaviors are signs.

DIU or drinking while intoxicated, aggressive behavior, undermining relationships, en bloc blackouts, and neglecting family responsibilities may be under this category.

Alcohol abusers begin with a reliance on alcohol as a way to de-stress.

This can escalate when alcohol is used to cope with depression and anxiety. Some also combine alcohol with prescription medication, which is usually against medical advice.

Tolerance and withdrawal are characteristic signs of alcohol dependency.

Just as with other addictive substances, the tendency is that you may no longer experience the effects of the substance from the initial intake. Thus, you may feel compelled to take in more than you usually do just to reach the same effects from the beginning. This is a warning sign that you are becoming physically dependent on alcohol. Moreover, you may experience withdrawal symptoms during detoxes such as nausea, insomnia, headaches, sweating, shaking, fever and even hallucinations. Other physical manifestations are stomach pain, redness of cheeks and nose and weight loss.

Several alcoholics are unable to control how much alcohol they consume.

There are many who cannot quit even after repeated attempts. There are also those who recognize that their alcoholic habits are already causing problems in school, at work, or in their relationships but they still cannot stop drinking. They usually find an excuse to justify their habits or they can feel shame and guilt over their consumption.

Indeed alcoholism can take away much of our time and resources.

Oftentimes, alcoholics realize that their activities are already revolving around alcohol. Hobbies, social responsibilities, and relationships are all surrendered to alcoholism. Most of one’s time and efforts are already focused on the consumption of alcohol.

The CDC confirms that more than 50 percent of American adults are regular drinkers.

This means these people typically consume 12+ alcoholic drinks over the year. Moreover, around 30 percent are at risk for alcohol dependency or abuse. Some of the risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Family background
  • Social class
  • Social circles
  • Education
  • Mental and emotional health

Some of these may be well beyond the control of an individual. However, the decision to drink in a responsible way is up to each one of us. We need not redirect the blame towards other people or even our circumstances in life as to why we lose control over our drinking habits. If you really want to take back your control over your choices and your life, it is important that you honestly assess your own drinking habits, your risks, your health, and future.

Alcoholism requires medical professionals for treatment.

Many alcoholics turn to inpatient treatment, which can provide 24-hour supervision to help mitigate the withdrawal symptoms and avoid relapse. You can gain comfort as well as support during these times from those who identifies with what you’re going through. We are social creatures. Thus, we depend on each other for help and there’s no shame in having to ask for or accept help.


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