When someone thinks about a friend or loved one with an alcohol use disorder, they may not realize there are various levels of problematic drinking. Data from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism indicates that nearly 18 million people in the United States over the age of twelve have an alcohol use disorder. Anyone dealing with an alcohol use disorder or problem drinking could benefit from seeking help at an addiction treatment center like Ardmore Recovery Center in Richmond Hills, GA.

Today alcoholism is referred to as an alcohol use disorder by members of the mental health and addiction treatment communities. When people seek help to overcome addiction, their diagnosis is described as either mild, moderate, or severe. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) provides a detailed list of diagnostic criteria treatment professionals use to diagnose the severity of an alcohol use disorder. These criteria can help treatment professionals understand the severity of your addiction and how to best help you achieve your sobriety goals.

Are Problem Drinkers and Alcoholics the Same?

Problem drinking can range in severity. Some problem drinkers occasionally consume excessive alcohol (binge drinking), while others drink heavily daily. This is indicative of an alcohol use disorder or alcoholism. Heavy drinking or problem drinking and alcoholism are not necessarily the same, although one can often lead to another. Before understanding the difference between problem drinking and alcoholism, it is necessary to know when occasional drinking crosses the line into problem drinking. It is also essential to understand what a “standard drink” is in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define a standard drink as a beverage that contains 2.6 ounces of pure alcohol. Common examples include:

  • A 12-ounce beer (5% alcohol content).
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content).
  • A 1.5 ounce shot of 80 proof liquor.

When one’s relationship with alcohol progresses to a point where they can no longer control how much or how often they drink, they may have an alcohol addiction. They could benefit from comprehensive detox and addiction treatment.

Signs of Alcoholism

The signs of alcoholism (alcohol use disorder) can be challenging to detect early. Also, although there are many potential warning signs of alcoholism, it is essential to remember that some may be outwardly visible, and some may be internal struggles to the individual. These obstacles mean it can be challenging to notice the symptoms of alcoholism and to overlook the early signs of alcoholism.

Without help from an addiction treatment center, problematic drinking can quickly evolve into a complex and potentially life-threatening addiction. It is essential to understand the signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction to ensure you or a loved one can receive early, comprehensive treatment. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse may include:

  • Frequent mood changes or (sometimes violent) mood swings
  • Difficulties with memory and cognitive function such as blackouts and short-term memory lapses
  • Lack of concern about appearance or personal hygiene
  • Drinking alone or finding reasons to drink (alone or with others)
  • Voluntary isolation from friends and family
  • Choosing alcohol over essential responsibilities and obligations

Even if your symptoms are mild, you should not ignore alcohol use disorder symptoms. Without treatment, even the mildest symptoms can evolve into a severe condition. A large body of research indicates that seeking early, professional intervention at an alcohol rehab provides the best opportunities to achieve lasting sobriety.

How to Know When to Seek Treatment for Alcoholism

The most effective treatment outcomes occur when you seek help early. It can be challenging to know when your relationship with alcohol has evolved from problematic drinking behavior to addiction. However, if you are concerned that your drinking is a problem, it likely is. If you are wondering if you should seek help, you probably should. When these concerns begin to arise, it is often based on individual worry and anxiety that you need help to overcome a dependency on alcohol.

Finding Alcohol Rehab Centers in Richmond Hill, GA

If your loved one struggles with alcohol addiction, seeking help at an alcohol treatment center like Ardmore Recovery is the first step on your journey to recovery. Upon entering our rehab program, we will work with you to learn more about your history with alcohol and your unique treatment needs. For many looking to get sober from alcohol, the first step in treatment will be comprehensive detox. During detox, trained medical providers will offer support and guidance to help you manage withdrawal symptoms. After completing detox, you will transition to the therapeutic portion of treatment, where members of our caring and compassionate treatment team will work with you to heal and develop the skills needed to achieve lasting sobriety. Contact a member of our admissions team today if you would like to learn more about how 12-step integration can help you heal physically, psychologically, and spiritually.

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