I Have a Drinking Problem

I Have a Drinking Problem

Has your drinking become a more significant part of your life than you would like to admit? Are you constantly dealing with intense cravings for alcohol? Alcohol use disorder is a health condition in which a person has become so addicted to drinking that their need to drink begins to outweigh their responsibilities to themselves and the people they love. The disorder can have an impact on your relationships with friends and family. It can cause problems in your work life or career. It can also begin to take a toll on your physical health and mental wellbeing. Despite the negative consequences of their drinking habits, those who are struggling with an alcohol use disorder cannot seem to put the drink down.

There is no set amount of alcohol needed in order to be diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder. Rather, like any substance use disorder, alcohol use disorders can be characterized as feeling unable to control one’s drinking habits.

What is an Alcohol Use Disorder?

An alcohol use disorder is a health condition that is defined by a person’s inability to manage their drinking habits. It doesn’t matter whether the drinking is causing issues in their social life, health, or career- the person struggling with an alcohol use disorder will likely find themselves unable to fight their cravings. The condition can be mild, moderate, or severe, and treatment options will vary depending on the severity of the person’s condition.

Risk Factors for Developing a Drinking Problem

One of the most significant risk factors of developing a drinking problem is drinking large amounts of alcohol or drinking often. The more a person uses alcohol, the more the physiology of their brains will be changed, affecting the person’s mood and triggering cravings. Other risk factors for developing a drinking problem include:

  • Drinking from a young age. The younger a person begins their drinking habits, the more likely they are to develop a drinking problem.
  • Genetic risk factors. If your family has a history of addiction, you may be at a larger risk of developing a drinking problem.
  • Mental health issues. Those who are dealing with mental health issues like depression, anxiety, PTSD, or ADHD will be vulnerable to developing a drinking problem.

How Do I Know if I’m an Alcoholic?

If you have found your alcohol use is impacting the quality of your life, you may be struggling with an alcohol use disorder. If you have found yourself struggling with your relationship with alcohol, you may be pondering whether or not you have become an alcoholic. Alcohol use disorder is a health condition that is defined as a loss of control in one’s drinking habits that causes harm or distress in their life.

Signs and Symptoms of a Drinking Problem

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism there are eleven questions a medical professional will ask when attempting to determine whether or not a person is struggling with a drinking problem. These questions seek to discover whether or not a person:

  • Has found themselves drinking more than planned
  • Been unable to cut back or completely stop their drinking habits
  • Spent a significant amount of time drinking
  • Made themselves sick from drinking
  • Experienced strong cravings for alcohol
  • Found that alcohol, or the aftereffects of alcohol use, have interfered with their responsibilities
  • Continued drinking despite negative consequences in their relationships, career, or life
  • Given up on hobbies or enjoyable activities to drink
  • Participated in reckless behavior (such as unsafe sex or drinking and driving) while drinking
  • Continued drinking despite it causing health issues
  • Has blacked out from drinking
  • Has to drink more than before to experience the effects of the alcohol
  • Experienced withdrawal symptoms, such as shakiness, irritability, nausea, or sweating as alcohol has worn off

Substance Abuse Treatment Options

When a person thinks of alcohol addiction treatment, the chances are they imagine Alcoholics Anonymous or rehab. While these two treatment options are great for some people seeking addiction treatment, they don’t work for everyone. Fortunately, there is a wide range of different treatments that allow you to find the best option to fit your personal health needs and lifestyle. The two main options for addiction treatment include:

  • Substance Abuse Counseling.Substance abuse and addiction counseling are treatment options with the goal of addressing a person’s drinking problem through therapy with a health professional. The counseling options can include:

    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a form of talk therapy in which the patient and doctor explore the patients thinking patterns and behaviors and work to change them.
    • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET), a form of therapy that aims to increase the patient’s motivation for kicking their addiction.
    • Support Groups. Kicking an addiction can be extremely difficult to do alone, which I why support groups have become a popular treatment option for those fighting an alcohol use disorder. Support group therapy options include Alcoholics Anonymous and 12- step programs.
  • Medication. Many people struggling with an alcohol use disorder have experienced physiological changes to their brains. Certain medications can work with these changes to help reduce alcohol use or prevent relapse. These medications may be taken alone or paired with counseling. The three medications that are currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration include Naltrexone, Acamprosate, and Disulfiram. Naltrexone is believed to help reduce alcohol use, while Acamprosate is believed to make it easier to remain sober. Disulfiram, on the other hand, does not directly reduce alcohol use but can cause negative effects when the person drinks alcohol.

Alcohol addiction affects many areas of a person’s life. Fortunately, there is help for those areas of your life that have been negatively impacted by a drinking problem. They include:

  • Marriage counseling
  • Family counseling
  • Individual therapy

Choosing the Right Treatment for You

When you have decided to take the first step toward recovery, choosing the right treatment will be something you will have to decide on with a health professional. The health professional will help you determine the severity of your addiction, assess your overall health and wellness, and work with you to determine the treatment plan that will get be the most beneficial to you.

When Should I Seek Treatment?

Substance abuse affects the physiology of one’s body and mind. This is why it is so important to reach out to a health professional as soon as possible if you believe you are dealing with an addiction. If you have found yourself questioning whether or not you are struggling with addiction, whether that be alcoholism, a drug problem, or medicated substance abuse, it may be time to seek substance abuse help. Alcohol addiction can be devastating for those suffering from the addiction as well as their closest friends and family. If you have experienced one or more of the signs or symptoms listed above, your alcohol use may already be negatively impacting your quality of life. The more symptoms you are experiencing, the more urgent seeking the necessary care is.

A substance use disorder is nothing to be ashamed of. Here at Michigan Psychological Care, we offer addiction counseling to help you begin your road to healing. Contact us today.



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