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What is alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction?

Alcohol abuse is when an individual has an unhealthy drinking habit. This can be drinking daily or drinking too much at one time. Alcohol abuse can damage relationships, be the cause of missed days at work or legal problems like driving under the influence.

When the individual continues with the habit of alcohol abuse, it rapidly becomes alcohol addiction, the person becomes an alcoholic. An alcoholic is a person who is physically and mentally addicted to alcohol; they have a strong urge to drink; the feeling of needing a drink just to get by is all pervasive.

A person is considered to have alcohol addiction if they show symptoms of the following:

  • He cannot quit or control the consumption
  • He needs to drink more for the same effect
  • He has withdrawal symptoms when he stops drinking
  • He gives up other activities to focus and concentrate on drinking
  • He continues to drink even though it damages his relationships and career

Alcohol addiction is a long-term disease. Many see it as a lack of willpower, it is not. Like many diseases, it has a course to take, which is perfectly predictable, has well known symptoms and is mutated by a genetic influence and your situation in life.

How much drinking is too much drinking?
Alcohol is a part of many people’s life; it has a place within the culture of the community and can follow family traditions. At times, it is difficult to draw the exact line between social drinking and too much drinking. You are a borderline alcoholic and at risk if:

  • A woman who drinks in excess of three drinks at a time, a drink being a bottle of beer, a glass of wine or a shot of spirits.
  • A man who drinks more than four at a time or more than 14 drinks in seven days.

What are some signs of alcohol addiction?
There are behaviors that indicate whether you may have an addiction to alcohol or not:

  • Drinking first thing in the morning
  • Changing what you drink while drinking
  • A feeling of guilt after drinking
  • Making excuses for drinking and attempting to hide it
  • Worrying that you may run out of alcohol

Problems with alcohol are diagnosed most often during a routine visit to the doctor; usually the visit is for an unrelated problem. Friends and family may also suggest that you have a problem, and you should seek help. Your general practitioner will ask questions about your general health, past health and any symptoms you may have. If the answers you supply indicate a physical dependency, the doctor may suggest a mental health examination to determine if you may be suffering from depression or anxiety.

The specialists at Salt Lake Behavioral Health are skilled in diagnosing and treating people with alcohol addiction. The hospital is a private facility focused on mental health and substance abuse problems.

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