How Do You Know If Your A Alcoholic – The term “alcoholism” is commonly used in American society, but it is a non-clinical descriptor. Unlike the general public, researchers, doctors, therapists, and many other professionals need to agree on what the different levels of alcohol use are. The

, a publication of the American Psychiatric Association, provides mental health professionals with an indispensable diagnostic tool to help them identify a variety of mental health disorders, including alcohol use disorders.

How Do You Know If Your A Alcoholic

How Do You Know If Your A Alcoholic

The stages of alcoholism include the initial stage, the chronic stage, and the end stages where users go from occasional drinking to daily drinking and addiction.

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According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 2012, approximately 7.2 percent of American adults age 18 and older, an estimated 17 million people, had a diagnosable alcohol use disorder. Men have almost twice as many alcohol use disorders as women; Of the estimated 17 million affected adults, 11.2 million were men and 5.7 million were women.

Adolescent children are not immune. In 2012, approximately 855,000 youth aged 12–17 years had the disorder.

No two people who abuse alcohol are the same; However, the DSM-5 provides clinicians with a set of 11 factors that can guide them in diagnosing alcohol use disorder and its severity range.

Briefly, a person is considered to have an alcohol use disorder if they have experienced at least two of the 11 factors (or symptoms) in the past year. The presence of two or three symptoms is consistent with a diagnosis of mild alcohol use disorder, while four to five symptoms are considered moderate and six or more are considered severe.

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Ready to get help? Take a short questionnaire of DSM-5 criteria to assess the severity of your alcohol use.

Overall, the 11 items address both the physical and psychological components of alcohol use disorder. It is important to understand the difference between physical dependence and psychological addiction. As the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, physical dependence is a component of addiction, but it is not synonymous with addiction. In other words, a person can be physically dependent on alcohol or another drug of abuse without being psychologically dependent.

There are two main symptoms of physical dependence. First, the body will develop tolerance, which is a natural process. As tolerance develops, a person using alcohol requires greater amounts to experience the familiar effects. Second, the body withdraws when the familiar drug is stopped or the usual amount is significantly reduced. When a chronic alcohol abuser stops drinking alcohol, withdrawal symptoms appear. They may continue to drink to avoid such symptoms.

How Do You Know If Your A Alcoholic

Individuals with alcohol use disorder (alcoholism) are likely to experience symptoms of physical dependence as well as psychological consequences.

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The psychological component of addiction does not refer to the effects of alcohol on one’s mental state, such as disordered thinking. Rather, it refers to how a person’s thoughts and actions are directed toward obtaining and consuming alcohol, even to the exclusion of important responsibilities.

In terms of DSM-5, new alcohol users may exhibit 0-2 of the 11 symptoms discussed. The problem is that it is never known whether social or occasional drinking will lead to the development of an alcohol use disorder. In the early stages of alcohol abuse, a person will usually be exposed to different types of alcohol and will experiment with different forms of alcohol.

Often, the individuals performing these experiments are either high school students or young adults, such as college students. Drinking is usually a social event among this younger set, and they drink together as a way to party. They may not be regular drinkers, but drinking alone puts them at risk for developing an alcohol use disorder. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking occurs when a person’s blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 or higher within two hours. For women, this usually requires four drinks, depending on body weight, and for men, five drinks within 2 hours. However, many drinkers will exceed four or five drinks and experience high levels of BAC as well as debilitating physical and psychological side effects.

Some drinkers or party drinkers will never progress beyond the experimental stage to regular drinking. People who drink heavily or regularly may do so because they are environmentally or genetically predisposed to do so. For example, children of people with alcohol use disorders are four times more likely to develop the disorder. Further, research suggests that certain factors in a child’s home life may predispose them to alcohol abuse, such as a parent abusing alcohol or other drugs, or exposure to parental depression or family conflict/violence. Additionally, some people have an existing mental health disorder and may graduate from social drinking to more frequent drinking because they feel it relieves some of their mental symptoms.

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Environmental and genetic factors aside, the amount of alcohol people drink over a period of time can put them at risk for developing an alcohol use disorder. Women who drink more than three drinks per day or more than seven drinks per week are considered at risk. Men, because of their physical differences from women, are considered at risk if they consume more than four drinks a day or 14 a week.

Moderate use of alcohol is associated with frequency of use as well as intention to drink. A person who has an emotional or psychological attachment to alcohol is at a higher risk of developing alcoholism than someone who regularly drinks a glass of wine with a meal.

Generally, problem drinking is associated with a loss of control over one’s alcohol consumption and/or exhibits signs that alcoholism is interfering with one’s normal life activities. In such cases, with respect to the DSM-5 factors discussed, the individual may exhibit more symptoms, possibly 3-5. At this stage, a person may or may not be physically dependent on alcohol. In other words, stopping drinking will lead to withdrawal symptoms.

How Do You Know If Your A Alcoholic

However, if a person has an addiction to drinking, such as relying on it to “have a good time,” they may develop problematic drinking habits and eventually develop AUD. If alcohol dependence develops, it becomes more difficult to stop drinking because of withdrawal symptoms and possibly alcohol cravings.

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Most addiction professionals agree that home detox or “going cold turkey” is never advised. Best practice would be to talk to an addiction counselor or mental health professional about safe alternatives to alcohol withdrawal.

The need for medically supervised detox depends, in part, on the duration of alcohol abuse and habitual use. In some cases, alcohol withdrawal can increase the risk and even lead to death. Individuals who are at risk of withdrawal effects require supervised medical detox. As a result, it is recommended that anyone looking to detox from alcohol consult a medical professional first.

A review of the 11 factors listed in the DSM-5 associated with severe alcohol use disorder (ie, the presence of six or more factors) provides additional insight into this condition. Having six or more alcohol use disorder symptoms indicates the need for treatment intervention to address addiction.

Before discussing the negative consequences associated with alcohol (ie, its potentially devastating effects on one’s life, including poor health, relationship conflicts, financial difficulties, and precarious employment status), consider the category of heavy drinkers known as “high functioning.” A high-functioning person who abuses alcohol will be able to perform daily tasks, exceed expectations, and meet all necessary financial obligations.

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Approximately 20 percent of individuals who abuse alcohol can be classified as high functioning. However, constant drinking is essentially a ticking time bomb. Despite appearances to the contrary, a high-functioning individual is not immune to the negative consequences associated with chronic alcoholism.

Development of negative health conditions and diseases is a major concern surrounding alcohol abuse. Health problems can range in severity, but long-term, heavy alcohol consumption can manifest as the following health conditions and diseases:

In some cases, alcohol abuse can exacerbate conditions but not cause them. In other cases, alcohol may be a contributing factor to a condition and may be exacerbated by continued alcohol use. For example, alcohol abuse can be a factor in gout and worsen the condition.

How Do You Know If Your A Alcoholic

Alcohol has been found to be directly associated with certain diseases and conditions, such as oral cancer in individuals with a history of heavy drinking. In the unfortunate event that a chronic drinker develops a serious health condition or disease, the treating physician can clarify whether alcohol is the direct cause or a contributing factor. The attending physician can also explain how to proceed

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