Not everyone who drinks has an alcohol use disorder. There are many people who are able to enjoy an alcoholic beverage now and then (or even every day) and do not develop a problem. However, there are others for whom their drinking does become problematic and who could benefit from addiction treatment.
When someone you love engages in heavy drinking, it can be a fine line between controlled drinking and alcoholism. Heavy drinking is defined as binge drinking (having at least five drinks for men or four drinks for women in a two-hour time period) at least five days per month. While this is a lot of alcohol, these individuals are still able to control their drinking and stop if they choose.
With an alcohol use disorder, it’s a little different. Signs of a problem include:
- Not being able to stop drinking, even if they want to. They often develop cravings for alcohol and go through withdrawal if they don’t drink.
- Drinking is not limited to certain times or events. It may happen first thing in the morning, at lunch, on weeknights, at sporting events, at recitals, or just because.
- Drinking despite negative consequences.
- Becoming anxious or irritable when they can’t have a drink, and often thinking about when they’ll be able to drink again.
- Choosing alcohol over other responsibilities.
- Developing tolerance and having to drink more to feel the same effects.
Your loved one may be a high-functioning alcoholic and be very good at downplaying their drinking, but they still have a problem. One of the challenges of alcohol use disorders is that even when a person wants to stop, they often can’t without professional help. Recovery is about more than just stopping drinking; it involves changing their thought patterns and behaviors as well.
If you’re concerned that someone you love may have crossed the line from heavy drinking to alcoholism, or is at risk, encourage them to seek treatment. Share your concerns about their drinking and how it has impacted their health and those around them. Let them know that you’re worried and you want to see them get better, or want them to get help before it becomes more serious.
Get Real Recovery offers comprehensive addiction treatment from detox through outpatient care. Your loved one can get the help they need to overcome alcoholism and live a healthier life. Support them in taking back control of their life and beginning the journey to recovery. If you’re worried that they have a problem, don’t ignore it – speak up and turn to Get Real Recovery for help.
Don’t ignore the signs of alcoholism. Reach out to Get Real Recovery today and get your loved one the help they need.