If you are contemplating this question, consider this: Is alcohol causing concerns or troubles? Is alcohol interfering with the way you want to live? Alcoholism is a chemical imbalance in the brain and it was identified in 1956 by the American Medical Association as a disease. While most people think of disease as something you catch, like the flu, but disease comes with signs and symptoms not caused by physical injury.
Alcoholism results in an altering within the brain that controls someone’s motivation and ability to make positive, healthy choices.
But how do you know when alcohol has turned from a few social or celebratory drinks into a substance abuse disorder, or alcoholism?
Below are several warning signs of alcoholism:
Not able to stick to limits
Drinking more than you planned or intended
Increase in tolerance - meaning you need more alcohol to achieve the desired affect that you’ve had in the past
Drinking alcohol in situations that are hazardous - for example, drinking and driving
Continued alcohol consumption regardless of negative impacts - for example, problems in relationships, spending too much on alcohol, or health problems like diabetes
What Is Alcohol Tolerance vs Alcohol Addiction?
Tolerance happens when a person needs more of a substance than previously to achieve the same effect. This is why someone with a substance abuse disorder uses more and more to get the effect they seek. When someone keeps using the substance regardless of negative impacts, they have an addiction. Tolerance is not the same as addiction, but it is a sign of addiction. A person can have a high tolerance to alcohol without being addicted to it.
Is Alcoholism Hereditary?
According to American Addiction Centers, having a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, who struggles with alcohol use disorder increases the chances that a person will also struggle with the same addiction. However, the best way to diagnose alcoholism is to look at an individual’s history with alcohol, there are predictors based on the past. For example, the age someone first started drinking - the younger they start, the more likely to have a problem in adulthood. This is done with a screening assessment by a professional.
If you or a loved one want to know if you need help for an alcohol problem, call and schedule a screening assessment with one of our knowledgeable and compassionate counselors: (630) 402-0144