What Are the Criteria for Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a chronic and often progressive disease that includes problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol and having to drink more to achieve the same effect.” It is also described as a chronic, compulsive behavior in spite of the negative consequences of that behavior. It is a disease often brought on by depression, trauma, changes in family dynamics or other circumstances. A personal or family history of addiction increases a person’s risk for alcoholism, so seek help to safeguard your health from alcohol abuse.
Symptoms of Alcoholism
People who struggle with alcoholism continue to drink in spite of the negative consequences their drinking causes. They will need more of the substance over time to achieve the same level of intoxication, and they often combine other drugs with alcohol for a better high. If you or someone you love struggles with alcohol abuse, then look for these additional signs to know if you have developed alcoholism:
- Drinking alone or hiding your drinking
- Being unable to limit the amount of alcohol you drinkFeeling withdrawal symptoms—like nausea, sweating and shaking—when you go long enough without a drink
- Forgetting things like conversations or events during periods of drinking
- Ritual drinking (always having a drink at certain times)
- Irritability when your drinking time nears, especially if there is no alcohol available
- Hiding alcohol in unlikely places, or keeping a supply at work or in your car
Getting drunk to feel good or gulping multiple drinks over a short period of timeIf you struggle with alcohol abuse, then seek professional help as soon as possible.
Binge Drinking and Alcohol Abuse
Binge drinking is a form of alcoholism that means someone drinks a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time. It is defined as five or more drinks in a row for men, and four or more drinks in a row for women. It can bring about many of the same problems as alcoholism, but binge drinkers may have a more difficult time recognizing that they have a problem, usually because they can still function in everyday life. Alcohol abusers may not become full-blown alcoholics, but they do have many of the same symptoms and patterns of behavior as their alcoholic counterparts. If any of the symptoms of alcoholism or binge drinking are present in yourself or a loved one, then it is time to get help.
Find Help for Alcohol Abuse
If you or a loved one struggles with alcoholism, we are here to help you. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options.