With April being Alcohol Awareness Month, we wanted to post some helpful information to those who may be struggling with an alcohol or substance abuse problem themselves or have a loved one they feel has developed an addiction to alcohol.
Alcohol-related problems — which result from drinking too much, too fast, or too often — are among the most significant public health issues in the United States.
- An estimated 18 million Americans have an alcohol use disorder.
- One in four children grows up in a home with an adult who has a problem with alcohol, and
- Only one in four people with alcoholism ever receives treatment, which increases the likelihood of long-term recovery.
Most people have a general sense of the negative impact of high-risk drinking, but may not realize how widespread and extensive the consequences are. Each year, nearly 80,000 people die from alcohol-related causes, making it the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Alcohol problems cost the U.S. $225 billion each year, primarily from lost productivity, but also from health care and property damage costs. These issues affect every American, regardless of whether they drink or not.(NIAA.GOV)
Below we will cover several key identifiers to tell whether someone has a substance abuse problem.
Alcohol and Substance abuse is something nobody likes to talk about. But with millions of Americans wrestling with some form of addiction, there is a need to understand it. After all, substance abuse affects more than just the person addicted. It affects everyone associated with them.
Do You Have a Substance Abuse Problem?
There are ways to tell when your dependence on alcohol or another substance is out of control. If you or a loved one has any of these classic symptoms, it’s time to see a doctor or addiction counselor.
A Sense of Dependency
Substance abusers often say they need a “pick-me-up” or something to take the edge off. This is another way of saying they’ve become
Once you become dependent, you feel you can’t get by without a drug or alcohol. You may:
• Use it in the morning to get yourself going
• Use it at night to fall asleep
• Need it throughout the day to steady your nerves
• Rely on it to enhance your mood
Inability to Quit
You’d like to stop but just can’t seem to do it. You swear to yourself this is the last time, but then it never is. Your efforts to quit always end in failure. This is the case even when your substance abuse makes you unhappy or gets you into trouble.
More than likely, a chemical addiction is to blame. Stop beating yourself up and get some help.
Feelings of Guilt or Shame
Substance abusers are often embarrassed by their behavior. You may feel guilty and try to conceal it. You also might:
• Lie to others about your drinking or drug use
• Become angry when someone brings it up
• Steal away to use drugs or alcohol in secret
Substance abuse is risky by itself. But it sometimes leads people to do things they otherwise wouldn’t. For instance, you may find yourself:
• Spending more than you can afford on drugs or alcohol
• Consuming them in greater amounts
• Driving while intoxicated
• Stealing to support your habit
• Committing other kinds of crime
Inablity to Function
Substance abuse hinders success in other ways, too. A person suffering from addiction often:
• Gets into trouble at work
• Falls behind in school
• Has scrapes with the law
• Has more money problems
• Alienates friends and loved ones
• Has marital or relationship problems
• Abandons other interests and activities
In short, it becomes hard to function on a daily basis. As a result, you may feel your life is spinning out of control. Asking For help It’s important to understand that addiction is a
physical illness, not a character flaw. It interferes with the brain’s chemistry, which affects your mood and behavior. Addicts who don’t seek help are not likely to get better without it.
Help is readily available, but you have to be proactive. To start, you have to let someone know you need help. Don’t be ashamed to speak up, either for yourself or a loved one. If you think a problem is developing, tell your doctor right away. It may seem like a hard step right now. But in the long run, you’ll be glad you took it.
Fairwinds Treatment Center is a dual-diagnosis facility helping families recover from addictions and move on with healthy meanningful lives. If you feel you or a loved one may have an alcohol or substance abuse problem. Contact Fairwinds to discuss your situation with one of our admissions counselors. Call 727-449-0300 or through our website here. We are here to help.