FAQ: Am I an Alcoholic in Need of Treatment?

Am I an alcoholic?

This is the question on the minds of many people when they’re thinking about their drinking habits. It’s possible that you’re asking yourself this very question right now too. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to identify when you have a drinking problem. People can continue living with alcoholism for years for this reason.



There are a lot of reasons why someone might question having a drinking problem. Some of these include:

  • The fact that they have a good, upstanding family
  • The fact that they hold down a good job
  • The fact that they don’t consume alcohol every single day
  • The fact that they don’t really have any of the typical signs of alcoholism.
  • The fact that they have never gotten a DUI
  • The fact that they drink regularly, but never get drunk

Can you identify with any of these reasons? If so, you need to know that you could still be an alcoholic, even if you agree with each of these statements. It might help you to understand the different signs of having a drinking problem, and how to identify it.

15 Signs You are an Alcoholic

There are actually several warning signs that could indicate that you have a drinking problem. If you’re feeling confused about your relationship with alcohol, you may not be aware of them. Once you know what to look for, alcoholism is actually pretty easy to identify.

You could be an alcoholic if you have any of the following symptoms:

  1. You’re often late for work because of drinking, or you just don’t go at all.
  2. You’re having problems at work or school that can be linked to your drinking.
  3. You consume in risky situations, or you take risks that you wouldn’t take otherwise.
  4. You suffer from blackouts on a frequent or semi-frequent basis.
  5. You’re having legal problems, or have been arrested for driving under the influence.
  6. You hurt someone else, or you get hurt when you’re under the influence.
  7. You know that drinking is damaging your health, but you continue to do it.
  8. You know that your relationships are suffering, but you continue to drink anyway.
  9. You have friends or loved ones that are worried about you.
  10. You’re not able to quit drinking.
  11. You can’t control how much you consume once you start.
  12. Your tolerance levels are much higher now than when you first began drinking.
  13. It takes a lot of time for you to recover after a period of consuming alcohol.
  14. You’ve given up on some of your favorite activities.
  15. When you quit, you experience symptoms of withdrawal.

No matter how you look at it, alcohol is a drug. The fact that this is often ignored only increases how dangerous drinking really is. There are certain physical signs of alcoholism that are apparent in someone who drinks too much. Do you have any of these?

  • Having accidents or illnesses that you cannot explain
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite, which can lead to weight loss
  • Always looking flushed or red in the face
  • Having spider angiomas, which are tiny blood vessels on the skin
  • Swelling or redness in the palms of the hands
  • Having less of an interest in sex
  • Developing liver problems

Certain behaviors can indicate that you are an alcoholic as well. These may include:

  • Being abusive, either verbally or physically
  • Repeatedly driving drunk
  • Being completely obsessed with drinking
  • Risking your own safety, or the safety of other people
  • Getting involved in fights regularly
  • Having sex irresponsibly, or being irresponsible in other ways

Alcoholics are the most concerned about consuming alcohol. Every other part of their lives pales in comparison. It may be something you think about all day long. You may even need to have a drink before you can get out of bed in the morning. These are all behaviors that indicate that there may be a problem. Even if you have one of the behaviors on this list, you could be an alcoholic.

What’s the Difference Between Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse?

It’s typical for people to confuse alcoholism and alcohol abuse with one another. They’re actually not the same, although they are related.

When you’re an alcoholic, your entire life revolves around drinking. You think about it nearly all the time. If you’re not drinking, you’re making a plan for when you’re able to drink again. You may even bring alcohol to work with you to have at your desk or during your lunch hour.

Alcohol abuse is different. Someone who is an abuser isn’t quite as obsessed with it as an alcoholic is. They may enjoy drinking, and when they do, they drink too much. Binge drinking is an excellent example of abuse. People who participate in this behavior may only do it on the weekends, or a couple times a month. 

The difference is that one is obsessive, and the other is not. However, alcohol abuse is progressive. It’s important for an abuser to quit drinking, or to get help. Otherwise, they are very likely to eventually become alcoholics. After all, that is how every case of alcoholism gets its start.

The Five Types of Alcoholism

We tend to think of alcoholics as those who have completely lost control of their lives. We imagine them to be people who are homeless, jobless, and otherwise a burden on society.

Am I an Alcoholic?

This is a complete myth. There are actually five subtypes of alcoholics, and one of these might apply to you.

  • The Functional Subtype – This is also known as being a high-functioning alcoholic. The symptoms include remaining in denial of the addiction, and having successful personal and professional lives. They are highly educated, and from the outside, they don’t appear to have drinking problems.
  • The Young Adult Subtype – 31% of alcoholics make up this category. They don’t usually have a family history of alcoholism, and they’re very likely to binge.
  • The Young Antisocial Subtype – This category makes up 54% of alcoholics. These individuals may have criminal histories. They’re impulsive and irresponsible.
  • The Chronic Severe Subtype – These individuals are middle-aged. They offer suffer from psychiatric disorders, and many have genetic histories of addiction.
  • The Intermediate Familial Subtype – About half of these individuals have family histories of alcoholism. Many of them suffer from depression, and they are around 38 years old, on average.

Do a Self-Assessment to Determine if You’re at Risk

It’s possible that you recognized yourself in one of the above subtype descriptions. If you didn’t, it’s still possible that you have a drinking problem. It can help to do a self-assessment to determine if you’re at risk. You can do this in a few different ways.

We offer an alcoholism quiz right here on our site. This quiz will ask you some questions that will help identify alcoholic signs and behaviors. You may not be ready to face the truth about your drinking. However, it’s so important for you to answer these questions honestly.

Alcoholism Quiz

You could also take a self-test from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. This test is highly accurate, and it can help you to gain insight into your drinking.

We understand how difficult it is to entertain the thought that you might have a problem with alcohol. It’s an issue that you’ve believed was under your control. The fact is that for someone suffering with alcoholism, they’re not in control at all. The alcohol has a lot of power over them. It changes the way they think and behave because of the way it alters the brain. If you are an alcoholic, the time for you to get help is right now.

What Can You do to Get Help if You’re an Alcoholic?

The good news is that no one expects you to stop drinking on your own. Not only could this be dangerous for your health, but it’s also not likely to work. You can get the professional help you need to quit drinking, and here at AspenRidge Recovery, we can help.

It has been a pleasure for us to work with clients who thought that recovery was out of their reach. Many of them have been alcoholics for many years. They had come to terms with the fact that they would always continue to drink. It was a pleasant surprise for many of them to find out that there was hope. That same hope is available to you as well.

Our IOP program might be what you need to recover from alcoholism. It is a flexible program that you can easily fit into your everyday life.

Do you have additional questions about alcoholism, and whether or not you’re an alcoholic? We’re available to speak with you about your specific situation. Please contact us today.

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