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What Is Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol abuse is drinking alcohol to the point where it interferes with your daily life. Your drinking may cause problems in your relationships, at your job, or while you're at school. Alcohol abuse often leads to making poor or dangerous decisions.

Is Alcoholism a Disease?

At Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI), we treat alcoholism as a disease that alters brain chemistry and has negative impacts on physical health.

Signs of Alcoholism

Signs you might be drinking too much include:

  • drinking to the point of blacking out,
  • missing school or work due to being drunk or hungover,
  • getting arrested for driving while drunk,
  • having family members question your alcohol use,
  • always finding a reason to drink,
  • drinking alone,
  • drastic mood changes while drinking,
  • inability to say no when offered a drink,
  • lying about your drinking habits to others,
  • engaging in verbal or physical abuse you have no memory of when sober,
  • spending large amounts of money when drunk,
  • spending rent/mortgage or grocery money on alcohol,
  • physically shaking, and
  • hiding alcohol in your home, workplace, or vehicle.

Stages of Alcoholism

There are four widely recognized stages of alcoholism, which include:

  • Pre-Alcoholic — You drink casually or socially at the beginning of this stage. By the end of this stage, you are drinking to stop worrying, reduce anxiety, forget problems, or dull other emotions. Your tolerance for alcohol increases, and it takes a larger amount of alcohol for you to feel its effects. If you are drinking a manageable amount in socially appropriate situations and can say no to another drink, you likely won’t develop an alcohol addiction.
  • Early Alcoholic — You might start lying to friends and family about your drinking habits and add alcohol to your soda cup or coffee mug when no one is looking. As your tolerance grows, you may start thinking about alcohol more often.
  • Middle Alcoholic — Your friends and family will start to notice your drinking problem at this stage. You might start missing work or social gatherings due to being drunk or hungover. You will probably experience mood swings and become easily irritated with your spouse, children, or co-workers. Physical symptoms will appear at this stage, such as facial redness, stomach bloating, lack of energy, and weight gain. You might try to stop drinking and relapse again.
  • Late Alcoholic — The effects of your alcoholism are noticeable to others. Serious health problems may develop, such as cirrhosis of the liver or dementia. You probably drink all day and have lost at least one job or relationship due to your heavy drinking. You might experience paranoia, tremors, or hallucinations if you try to stop drinking.

Alcoholism can be successfully treated at any stage. Call HMHI for a free consultation to help you get started on your recovery journey today if you think you are in any stage of alcoholism.

Is Binge Drinking Alcoholism?

Binge drinking is a pattern of consuming large amounts of alcohol within a short period of time. This occurs most often in young adults ages 18 to 34 but affects people outside of this age group as well.

If you have a binge drinking habit, seeking help early will prevent addiction in the future.

Causes of Alcoholism

Alcoholism is caused by a variety of factors and circumstances. It can affect you no matter your background, income, or marital status.

Is Alcoholism Genetic?

Research suggests a link between alcoholism and genetics. Children of alcoholics are more likely to become alcoholics themselves than those who grew up with non-alcoholic parents. But environmental factors also contribute to alcoholism. If a person grew up in a household where excessive drinking was normalized, they are more likely to develop a drinking problem.

Risk Factors for Alcoholism

You may be more likely to develop a drinking problem if you:

  • start drinking at an early age.
  • have a family history of alcohol problems.
  • binge drink.
  • struggle with mental health conditions.
  • have a history of trauma.

Our Addiction Recovery Specialists

When to Seek Help for Alcoholism

If you think you might have a problem with alcohol, it’s time to seek help. Our addiction recovery services at HMHI offer an array of treatment programs for all levels of excessive alcohol consumption.

Call 801-583-2500 to learn more about how to get started on your recovery journey. We also schedule free consultations to help you find the program that best fits your needs and life circumstances. Our treatment programs are usually covered by health insurance. Our office staff will help determine your level of coverage with your insurance carrier.

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