Do I Have a Drinking Problem?

Feb 2020 Do I Have a Drinking Problem?

Asking yourself, “Do I have a drinking problem?” often means you already know you do but are scared to face the issue. At any rate, if you are tired of coping with a life of being addicted to alcohol, Phoenix Rising can help. We can help you complete the detox process and necessary treatment designed to help you live an alcohol-free life.

What Are the Signs of Having a Drinking Problem?

While many people try to make excuses for how much they drink or hide the evidence from others, many signs of an alcohol problem exist.

Signs of a drinking problem include:

  • Unable to reduce or stop drinking on your own
  • Drinking past the point of the average person’s alcohol consumption
  • A negative impact on your family, home, and/or school life caused by alcohol consumption
  • Breakups or frequent battles in your romantic relationships related to your drinking
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you don’t drink for an extended period of time
  • Increasing the amount you drink in order to get the same effect
  • Having hangovers
  • Isolating from others and avoiding previous pastimes and hobbies in order to drink
  • Using alcohol to combat mental health emotions such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Continuing to drink, despite the negative impact it has on your life
  • Engaging in risky behavior while drinking, such as driving while intoxicated or having unsafe sex

If you said yes to 2 or more of these examples, it may be time to realize the answer to “Do I have a drinking problem?” is “Yes”.

The Difference Between Casual Drinking and Alcohol Abuse

Understanding the difference between casual drinking and alcohol abuse starts with knowing the definitions of a drink. The following measurements are considered 1 serving:

  • Beer: 12 ounces
  • Malt Liquor: 8-9 ounces
  • Wine: 5 ounces
  • Hard liquor: 1.5 ounces

It is recommended that men limit their drinks to 4 per day and no more than 14 per week. Women should limit their drinks to 3 per day and no more than 7 per week. The differences between casual drinking and alcohol abuse include the following:

Casual Drinking: Can take or leave having a drink in a social setting.
Alcohol Abuse: Can’t enjoy a social event without drinking alcohol.

Casual Drinking: Only takes alcohol to an event outside their home for special occasions.
Alcohol Abuse: Always takes alcohol with them to make sure they have something to drink readily available.

Casual Drinking: Rarely or never experiences a hangover.
Alcohol Abuse: Has hangovers on multiple occasions.

Casual Drinking: Can go weeks or months without drinking without any physical or emotional cravings.
Alcohol Abuse: Experiences withdrawal symptoms when not drinking for even short periods of time.

The Difference Between Heavy Drinking and Binge Drinking

Heavy drinking and binge drinking consist of similarities and both provide huge health risks for the person who engages in them. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines heavy drinking for men as consuming more than 4 drinks a day or more than 14 drinks per week. For women, it’s consuming more than 3 drinks per day or more than 7 drinks per week. Thus, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines heavy drinking as binge drinking on 5 or more days per month.

NIAAA defines binge drinking as consuming enough alcohol to raise a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08% or higher. Furthermore, for men, this corresponds to approximately 5 or more drinks. Additionally, for women, it means 4 or more drinks. The number of drinks must be consumed in 2 hours or less. Lastly, SAMHSA further adds the definition includes binge drinking at least 1 day per month.     

Why Do I Have a Drinking Problem?

A stereotype continues to pervade society that excessive alcohol consumption is a sign of someone being lazy or who can “just stop” if they try. Why people develop an alcohol use disorder is a complex question and the same answer doesn’t apply to everyone. For instance, some people begin experimenting with alcohol, often at a young age. Then, they become addicted over time. In contrast, others have a genetic predisposition in their family that makes them more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder.

For many, the beginning of their alcohol addiction can be classified as situation-specific. As such, they may have experienced trauma in the past or remain caught in an ongoing traumatic situation that led them to use alcohol to cope. Additionally, they might have gone through a trying situation, such as a divorce, loss of a job, or the death of a loved one. While turning to drinking might have felt like a stop-gap approach, it then became an addiction they could not quit. The person might use alcohol to help cope with symptoms of mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or PTSD.

Treatment Options for Alcohol Abuse

When a person realizes that the answer to, “Do I have a drinking problem” is “Yes”, they wonder how to take the next step. Fortunately, many options for the treatment of an alcohol use disorder exist. The first step in treatment consists of going to a detox rehab program. Here, a trained staff of addiction experts will analyze each patient to determine the extent of their addiction and what programs will best suit their recovery goals.

Some people transition from detox into a residential program, others go on to a sober living home, and some take advantage of outpatient programs. These types of programs can include regular outpatient, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization. Nevertheless, each step of treatment provides the individual with guidance in understanding the source of their addiction and ways to keep from relapsing.

Many programs offer specific approaches proven to assist those struggling with alcoholism. These include:

  • Trauma-informed care
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Equine therapy
  • Psychodrama therapy program
  • Neuro and biofeedback therapy

Once a person completes formal treatment, they often engage in some type of aftercare. This can include continuing individual therapy, going to group therapy, or attending 12-Step type support groups. Moreover, this type of care helps them continue to use their newly-developed healthy coping skills and provides them with a support system for challenging times.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Palm Springs

If you have been wondering, “Do I have a drinking problem?”, the answer may very likely be “Yes”. Coming to terms with having an alcohol use disorder isn’t simple, but professional help is available to you.

Our compassionate medical and therapeutic staff understand your struggles and know how to help you achieve lifelong sobriety. Visit our admissions page for more information and get started on an exciting, healthy new chapter of your life.