You don’t fit the stereotype. Maybe you’ve never been homeless, stolen money to buy alcohol, or gotten a DUI. Maybe you have a job, a family — you can’t actually be an alcoholic, right?
Alcoholism takes many forms, and the stereotype doesn’t always hold true. So when does a few drinks with friends become a full-blown alcohol addiction? How do you know if you are an alcoholic?
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What’s the Difference?
Let’s start with casual drinking. Unless you have religious or personal restrictions, there’s nothing wrong with a few drinks with friends, maybe some wine with dinner, or the occasional bubbly at a party. The problem starts, though, when you begin abusing the substance.
Many people use the terms “alcohol abuse” and “alcoholism” interchangeably. However, alcoholism refers to an alcohol addiction or dependence, where the individual has a physical or psychological compulsion to drink alcohol. Alcohol abuse refers to a pattern of behavior where a person drinks excessively in spite of the negative consequences. But what is excessive drinking? There are two types:
- 1. Heavy drinking –
For men under age 65, heavy drinking means having four drinks a day or more than 14 drinks in a week. For women and men over age 65, heavy drinking is more than three drinks a day or more than seven drinks in a week.
- 2. Binge drinking –
Binge drinking is drinking a large amount of alcohol at one time. For men, it’s defined as five or more drinks within two hours. For women, it’s four or more drinks in that same time frame.
Ten Warning Signs You’re An Alcoholic
The following are ten warning signs of alcoholism that might help answer the question “Am I an Alcoholic?”:
Whether you’re the loved one of someone struggling with alcohol addiction, or you yourself are struggling, it’s important to be aware of these signs and to know that you’re not alone. Thousands of people from all walks of life battle alcoholism every day, and thousands make the decision to seek help.