While alcohol has become a popular mainstay at events like weddings, professional sports games, and college parties, drinking carries the risk of addiction. If you constantly need to drink in order to feel normal or regularly feel guilty about your drinking, you may wonder am I an alcoholic? Alcohol, like other psychoactive substances, can lead to physical and psychological dependence. Alcoholism begins with your first drink. While not everyone who drinks develops a drinking problem, more than 1 out of every 4 Americans ages 12 or older regularly engages in binge drinking.
Binge drinking means consuming four or more drinks in two hours or less if you’re a woman, and five drinks or more in two hours or less if you’re a man. The reason binge drinking is so dangerous is that it can lead to alcohol poisoning and liver damage because your liver is only able to process one serving of alcohol every 90 minutes.
Am I an Alcoholic?
If you ever ask yourself am I an alcoholic, you likely have an alcohol misuse disorder or alcoholism. During alcoholism, you compulsively drink even if you want to stop or deal with serious negative consequences as a result of your drinking. Even when you understand that drinking is causing serious problems in your life, alcoholism makes it hard to control your drinking. Eventually, alcoholism can lead to complete physical dependency.
When you abuse alcohol, your brain chemistry changes because of your pleasure and reward center associate’s alcohol with pleasure. Once this happens, your brain positively reinforces your drinking by only releasing pleasurable neurotransmitters when you drink and restricting their release when you’re sober. You can also encounter powerful cravings, especially when you’re exposed to people, places, or things that remind you of alcohol. Cravings and triggers can make it almost impossible to recover without help from an inpatient or outpatient alcohol rehab center.
If you are still wondering am I an alcoholic, experiencing detox symptoms when you quit drinking is an obvious sign of alcoholism. Unfortunately, alcohol withdrawal symptoms are serious and oftentimes require help from a medical detox center.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can begin within hours of your last drink and can cause:
- Delirium tremors and seizures
- Changes to your heart rate, breathing, and body temperature
- Shakes, tremors, and sweats
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusion, disorientation, and mood changes
How Alcoholism is Treated
Alcoholism requires treatment because of the major changes it causes to your brain chemistry and physical health. Malnutrition is also a common complication of alcoholism, meaning that proper dieting is an essential element of your recovery. When you decide to reach out for help, you can choose to complete an inpatient or outpatient alcohol rehab program.
An inpatient alcohol rehab program provides the highest level of care, which makes it an excellent option if you have a severe case of alcoholism, co-occurring disorder, or a lengthy history of alcoholism or addiction. Most inpatient programs last for four weeks. Following inpatient treatment, which usually starts after your complete detox, you can choose to attend an outpatient program to further support your recovery.
Adjusting to life after rehab can be challenging, which is why it’s important to set up outpatient care before your complete an inpatient program.
Reaching Out for Treatment Today
If your drinking makes you wonder am I an alcoholic, chances are you are struggling to control or stop your drinking. Unfortunately, alcohol can lead to serious physical dependency, which almost always requires help from an inpatient or outpatient treatment center. Treatment ensures that you have the support, guidance, and understanding you need to recover. Call us today at 1.844.675.1628 to find out more about our alcohol treatment programs and how we can help you find sobriety.