Woman with alcoholism drinking wine

How to Identify an Alcohol Problem

If you or someone you love is suffering from alcohol addiction, you are not alone. Over 16 million American adults are living with this disease, too. While alcohol is sometimes considered less harmful of a drug than other addictive substances, it’s important to remember it can be just as powerful.

Alcohol addiction is not your fault, but it is dangerous. Fortunately, substance use disorder is treatable. With the right help, you can reclaim what alcohol addiction stole from you.

Alcoholism Warning Signs

There are four primary signs of a drinking problem. While they do not necessarily define alcoholism, they are symptoms of alcohol abuse and certainly point to a major issue.

  1. Binge Drinking – Having many drinks on one occasion
  2. Dependence – Requiring more drinks to get the same buzz
  3. Behavior Changes – Shifting priorities to accommodate drinking
  4. Denial – Believing that there is no problem, despite alcohol’s negative impact

Man drinking beer in the park

At some point, alcohol abuse can turn into an addiction, which has two defining factors:

  • An inability to stop drinking, despite negative life consequences
  • Abnormal behavior driven by constant pursuit of alcohol

If you are addicted to alcohol, you cannot simply wake up one morning and decide to stop drinking. Recovery from addiction disease requires medical treatment, just the same as other chronic illnesses.

Alcohol Addiction Facts

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    Over 10 million American men and about 6 million American women have alcohol use disorder. Despite this, only about 1.5 million suffering people seek alcohol rehab every year.

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    Alcohol is the fourth leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., killing almost 90,000 Americans each year. About 10% of those deaths are due to drunk driving.

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    About one-third of fatal auto accidents involve alcohol.

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    Almost half of liver cirrhosis deaths are alcohol-related.

How Does Drinking Become a Problem?

Alcohol is a common part of American culture — people drink at events ranging from casual dinners to special celebrations. Why is alcohol a problem for some people but not others?

Many scientific studies have shown that addiction — like heart disease — has a strong genetic element. In fact, genetic makeup accounts for about half the risk of alcohol use disorder. If you have an immediate family member who has suffered from addiction, you are much more likely to acquire the same disease.

For example, some people eat healthily and exercise every day but still suffer a heart attack in middle age. Others eat junk food their whole lives and never step on a treadmill but maintain clear arteries. Addiction follows a similar pattern. While some adults can safely have a drink on a regular basis without developing an addiction, others simply cannot. It may not be fair, but it is true.

The earlier you catch addiction, the better. One of the most significant beginning signs of alcoholism is drinking for emotional reasons. If you drink when you experience distress, stop and consider what is happening. Be honest with yourself as you assess your drinking.

Alcohol Addiction Rehab and Recovery in Washington

Washington state lake with mountainsIf you are struggling with alcohol use disorder, medical treatment can help you recover from this disease. Whether or not you are local to the Northwest, we encourage you to explore treatment centers in Washington State. The Cascade Mountains’ majesty enhances the healing waters of the Pacific.

At The Recovery Village Ridgefield, we provide holistic care for people undergoing drug rehab in Washington State. We know that alcohol can be just as powerful as illicit drugs, and we recognize alcohol addiction for what it is: a medical disease that requires expert treatment. Rather than simply putting you through alcohol detox, we address you as a whole person. Our experienced team of doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, nurses and other mental health professionals uses both evidence-based and alternative therapies.

Whether you’re wondering if your insurance will cover rehab, you’d like to arrange a visit to our campus, or you simply need a listening ear, we are here for you. Call us for a free, confidential conversation about your situation. It’s never too late to experience recovery. Make this your moment. Just get in touch.

  1. “Alcohol Abuse and Dependence.” Home: Washington State Department of Health, 1 June 2012, www.doh.wa.gov/portals/1/documents/5500/rpf-alc2012.pdf.
  2. “Alcohol Facts and Statistics.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), June 2016, www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics. Accessed 19 Dec. 2016.
  3. “Family History and Genetics.” National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 25 Apr. 2015, www.ncadd.org/about-addiction/family-history-and-genetics. Accessed 19 Dec. 2016.
  4. “Teen Alcohol Abuse: Rehab Addiction Treatment for Alcoholism.” Teen Rehab Center, 13 Oct. 2016, www.teenrehabcenter.org/drugs/alcohol/.
  5. “Teenage Alcoholism: Identifying Signs of Abuse In Your Teen.” Teen Rehab Center, 7 Sept. 016, www.teenrehabcenter.org/resources/identifying-alcohol-abuse/.