Do you find yourself looking at the mirror and wondering if the drink you have each and every night makes you an alcoholic?
It’s commonly thought that addiction suddenly just happens as if a switch is flipped and that is it. The reality could not be further from the truth, however. When addiction is broken down into its many layers of development, there is a clear indication that the discovery of key signs and recognisable traits is possible meaning one thing; addiction can be stopped before it takes over a person.
There are many reasons one can become an alcoholic, but South Africa’s recently removed ban on booze at the peak of the Covid-19 Pandemic thrust into the light our nation’s very real issues with alcohol and the unhealthy relationship we have with it.
It should not come as a surprise that SA’s primarily abused substance is of course alcohol. Between 7.5% and 31.5% of South Africans have an issue with alcohol or will have one.
Could you be an alcoholic? – if so what are the guidelines?
There is no guideline on the amount each individual should consume every day. Statistics say men should have no more than 2 drinks per day, and women, 1 drink per day. This is of course, again, a guide.
Should alcohol start to affect your personal or professional life, and you become dependent on it, AND you are battling to cut back on it despite the health or social ramifications, then you may in fact be showing signs of alcoholism, even if you don’t drink every day.
So could you be an alcoholic & when is enough?
Good question. Complex, but good. Despite there being a regulated ‘advised’ quantity of alcohol that people are given as a gauge, it does not exempt you from being an alcoholic merely for sticking to these amounts. Alcohol is not defined by the where, what, when or how you consume it, but rather how you interact with it.
The First signs of alcoholism
If you are thinking could you be an alcoholic?, if you or a loved one’s drinking schedule may be reaching negative stages, you can always refer to our guide, to better assess the situation. These are some of the things to look out for:
- Withdrawal Symptoms become pronounced.
- Anxiety and depression become a reality.
- The compulsive need to have a drink.
- Less time spent at work or on hobbies, past times.
- Secretive behaviour and the denial of situations.
- Levels of alcohol consumption increase.
- Lack of control and craving for alcohol.
Signs & Symptoms of Alcoholism & Alcohol Withdrawal
Physical or mental dependence on alcohol is Alcoholism. If you find yourself habitually thinking about your next pick-me-up, your physical or mental dependence on alcohol is Alcoholism. If you’ve tried to stop or control your drinking and are unable to be successful, you probably have an alcohol addiction.
If your thinking “could you be an alcoholic?” remember alcohol is just like a drug, and as you take more, the body modifies to its effects and learns to compensate. Alcoholism begins with indulgence a dependence ultimately, as dependence grows, preventing your alcohol abuse can lead to withdrawal symptoms.
It may take a few hours or days for these symptoms to show, and they may get worse in the days following.
Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal:
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Not thinking clearly
- Mood swings
- Jumpiness or trembling
- Bad Dreams
The individual may also experience delirium tremens, which is the most severe form of withdrawal from alcohol. This can cause seizures, distress, fever, delusions and confusion. People who drink heavily and want to stop their abuse and addiction really need to seek professional medical assistance.
Alcoholism Damage is Reversible
Despite the damage associated with alcohol drinking, the initial negative effects are reversible. Recognising problematical drinking habits early in the process and getting into professional treatment at a rehab or with a physiologist can stop and help clear many of the emotional, mental and physical side effects of alcohol abuse. However, if the injury is too severe, like, liver failure and cirrhosis which can be problems with bad alcohol abuse, these are normally permanent.
Recovery is not an easy road, though permanent health damage should not discourage a patient from looking for treatment since substance use disorder treatment does improve a person’s quality of life.
Your first step to getting help is to contact us and deal with your alcoholism in the most effective way – with First Step!