You may also suffer from depression and anxiety when you aren’t drinking or haven’t had a drink in a few hours. You may also spend your days thinking about drinking and when you’ll be able to have your next drink. At this point, alcohol has taken priority over other responsibilities in your life, possibly including your family, spouse, kids, career, and bills. If someone has an issue with alcohol, the sooner they seek help, the better. Addiction cannot be cured, but it can be managed like other chronic health conditions, including asthma and diabetes.

If you think you might have a problem with alcohol, call SAMHSA or talk to your healthcare provider. They can help you cope, make a treatment plan, prescribe medications and refer you to support programs. Heavy and long-term alcohol use can cause several medical problems throughout the body, including damage to several vital organs such as the heart, liver, kidneys, and brain. In Texas, 18.7% of adults (consistent with nation-wide results) reported binge drinking in the past 30 days or excessive use weekly.

When Should You Be Concerned About Your Drinking?

In 2019, nearly 14.5 million individuals age 12 and older struggled with alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the United States. Despite the wide range of consequences it can cause, drinking alcohol remains a widely acceptable and normalized behavior. AUD is a complex and chronic illness that affects how an individual thinks, acts and behaves. No one is born with AUD; it develops from a combination of risk factors. When a person has become an alcoholic, they begin to exhibit a variety of behaviors that have a negative impact on their health and personal and professional lives. For example, alcoholics will continue to drink despite it causing them negative consequences.

  • Alcoholism is a dangerous and life-altering disease that can seriously affect your health and well-being.
  • The person may have already tried to stop drinking multiple times with little to no success.
  • Those who treat their alcoholism while it is still in the early stages will have a better shot at success.
  • We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals.
  • Mental problems such as dementia or delirium tremens (DTs) occur, and they face an increased risk of developing cancer.

The individual’s use of alcohol becomes a standard method for them to address these issues, and even though they are beginning to develop disordered behavior, it will not look like that to others. This stage can last indefinitely, but those with a predisposition to be alcoholics will eventually move on to the next stage. There are several popular stage models of the progression of alcohol use disorders (alcoholism). When a person starts to regularly binge drink and have blackouts, this is a sign they’ve progressed to the second stage of alcohol use disorder. Many times, especially with young adults and teens, these patterns are simply a sign of alcohol experimentation. Other times, it can be a serious sign that a person’s alcohol consumption is progressing in a negative way.

Take control of your life

Binge drinking is defined as a man having five or more drinks or a woman having four or more drinks within a two hour period. Alcoholism, on the other hand, is a general term commonly used to describe problem drinking that has become severe. A doctor Selecting the Most Suitable Sober House for Addiction Recovery will not diagnose someone as an “alcoholic”, but instead will say they have an alcohol use disorder and determine its severity based on the criteria listed above. With that being said, alcohol is the most abused drug in the United States.

  • For a long time, people who struggled with drinking were thought to have a moral failure or lack of willpower.
  • Alcohol abuse of any kind puts people at a greater risk of developing more serious problems over time.
  • Many times, especially with young adults and teens, these patterns are simply a sign of alcohol experimentation.
  • There were plenty of people who couldn’t control their drinking but doctors couldn’t explain why at the time.
  • Commonly referred to as an alcoholic, a person with alcoholism struggles with the inability to control their drinking due to both a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol.
The Cycle of Alcohol Addiction National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism NIAAA