When you think about someone with a drinking problem, you probably get a particular mental picture in your head. Perhaps you imagine a haggard-looking man with a two-day-old beard, disheveled hair, and clothes slurring his words and causing a scene in a bar.
Sure, that sounds like someone who may have a drinking problem. But that’s what we see in the movies and on television. The fact is, there are several misconceptions about alcohol use and people addicted to alcohol.
Most of the time, people with a drinking problem look like everyone else – your neighbors, coworkers, and friends.
Or maybe you’ve wondered, “Do I have a drinking problem?”
Chances are, you don’t resemble the person you picture in your mind. But that doesn’t mean you’re exempt from the idea of being addicted to alcohol.
The Truth Behind Alcohol Use Disorder Misconceptions
If you ask yourself, “Do I have a drinking problem?” kudos to you!
Often, people avoid asking themselves that question for fear of what the answer may be. Our society has made the everyday drinking of alcohol a norm. And many celebrations and social activities include getting together for a few drinks. Because it’s so “normal,” you might not think there’s a problem.
The statistics say otherwise. In 2019, 14.5 million people in the US aged 12 and up had AUD. But what exactly does having a drinking problem mean? How do you know whether or not you’re addicted to alcohol?
Let’s take a look at the most common myths and facts surrounding alcohol use. Some of them may surprise you.
Myth #1: It’s okay to get drunk on the weekends because I don’t drink during the week.
Fact: Just because you don’t drink alcohol every day doesn’t mean you don’t have a drinking problem. Men who drink 15 or more alcoholic drinks per week and women who drink eight or more per week fall into the “excessive drinking” category.
One of the signs of a drinking problem is binge drinking. So if you are a man and drink five or more drinks on a single occasion, or a woman who drinks four or more drinks, that’s defined as binge drinking. So even if you are “only” drinking on the weekends, but you drink in excess, that’s a sure sign of a drinking problem.
Myth #2: I don’t have a drinking problem because I only drink wine or beer.
Fact: Having a drinking problem has nothing to do with what you drink. Even if you steer clear of hard liquor, excessive drinking affects your life, whether you see it or not. Not only does being addicted to alcohol have a negative impact on your relationships, but it’s also harmful to your health.
In the U.S. alone, there are 95,000 alcohol-related deaths every year. Some of these are accidents like:
- Car crashes
- Fatal injuries
- Alcohol poisoning
Alcohol use disorder is also linked to higher rates of:
- Liver disease
- Heart disease
- Some cancers
- Memory problems
Limiting your alcohol intake to just one wine or beer doesn’t prevent any of the above from happening to you.
Myth #3: I can stop drinking any time I want.
Fact: If you are addicted to alcohol, quitting is extremely difficult and can even include unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Trying to reduce your level of drinking or even quit without success is one of the signs of a drinking problem.
Having alcohol use disorder means you can’t control your alcohol use, or, when you do control it, you have cravings that inevitably lead you back to drinking more. Without meaning to, you end up drinking more and more over time, despite your best efforts to cut down. Addiction is a brain-based disease that needs treatment. It’s not something you can simply overcome without help.
So while you think you may be able to stop drinking any time you want, if you have an alcohol problem, that’s likely not the case. And you need professional addiction treatment
Myth #4: My drinking doesn’t affect anyone else, so there’s not a problem.
Fact: This is 100% untrue. Whether you notice the effects of your drinking on others is another story. If you have alcohol use disorder, it’s almost guaranteed your relationships are being affected in some way.
Alcohol use disorder disrupts families because you often don’t do what you need to do at home. This can lead to arguments and relationship distress. Alcohol addiction also affects your job or school performance, which is damaging to yourself, coworkers, and family members relying on you.
Myth #5: It can’t happen to me.
Fact: Nobody chooses to become addicted to alcohol. It happens by accident. Some people are at higher risk of developing alcohol use disorder due to family history and mental health conditions.
But alcohol use disorder can affect anyone. Even you. That’s why it’s crucial to ask yourself, “Do I have a drinking problem?” and genuinely examine your relationship with alcohol.
Myth #6: There’s no treatment for alcohol use disorder.
Fact: If you are showing signs of a drinking problem, you have several non-disruptive treatment options. You don’t have to put your life on hold to enter an inpatient treatment center. Instead, you can enroll in any number of therapy options at a qualified addiction treatment facility like BOLD Health in San Diego.
Depending on your level of need, your treatment options here at BOLD Health include:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Medication management
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
- Outpatient detox program
Your addiction treatment program is tailored to fit your individual needs and could include one or even all of the above therapy types.
Science-Backed Alcohol Addiction Treatment at BOLD Health in San Diego
When you enroll in a science-backed addiction treatment program like any of ours at BOLD Health, you’re setting yourself up for success. Our team of professionals has decades of experience helping people like you overcome addiction and get their lives back on track.
Whether you need an intensive therapy program like our IOP or just want to talk with someone about your struggles, we’re here for you. Our unique, comprehensive team approach to helping patients with mental health and addiction concerns is unlike any other in the San Diego area.
From the moment you contact us, we’ll treat you, not just your addiction symptoms. Our holistic approach means we consider your past circumstances, biology, and psychological foundations that brought you to developing alcohol use disorder.
Through your individualized treatment program, you’ll not only gain the tools and strategies to overcome addiction, but you’ll come to a better understanding of yourself. What you gain through alcohol addiction treatment at BOLD Health, you’ll be able to use in every aspect of your life now and far into the future.
Even if you’re unsure of your answer to “Do I have a drinking problem?”, we’re here for you. We’ll help you determine the answer and walk with you through the next steps, whatever they may be.