Having an occasional drink is one thing, but becoming alcohol-dependent is another. The tricky thing about alcohol use disorder (AUD) and discerning whether or not you need alcohol counseling is that the warning signs of alcohol addiction can be easily overlooked. Because drinking alcohol is a socially accepted and perfectly legal activity (if you’re over 21, of course), they may not think it’s a big deal when others see you drinking.
But have you ever wondered if your occasional-drink-turned-every-day-habit is cause for concern? That, too, can be tough to determine for yourself. There are some telltale warning signs, as well as some red flags you may not have noticed.
Ask Yourself These Questions First
The first step to determining if you may need alcohol treatment is to answer the four brief questions on the CAGE questionnaire:
- Have you ever felt you needed to Cut down on your drinking? Yes or No
- Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking? Yes or No
- Have you ever felt Guilty about your drinking?
Yes or No
- Have you ever felt you needed an alcoholic drink first thing in the morning as an “Eye-opener” to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?
Yes or No
Answering “yes” to any of the questions on the CAGE questionnaire indicates that your drinking falls into the “at-risk” category. However, if you respond “yes” to two or more questions, you are at high risk of having an alcohol use disorder and should seek an evaluation to determine if alcohol treatment in San Diego is appropriate.
Signs of Alcohol Addiction
While it can be challenging to determine whether or not you have alcohol use disorder, it’s crucial to examine your actions and thought patterns surrounding alcohol. The following are some of the most common red flags signaling alcohol addiction.
- You lie about or hide your alcohol consumption. Drinking alone and in secret is a significant red flag of AUD. When you are addicted to alcohol, you inadvertently raise your tolerance, requiring you to drink a considerable amount to achieve the desired effect. Because of this, you may hide how much you actually drink by drinking before meeting up with friends or binge drinking. Or you may even avoid social situations altogether to hide how much you drink. (However, not everyone who has alcohol addiction drinks alone, since alcohol is so socially accepted.)
- You’ve put yourself/others at risk of injury, or injured yourself or others, while drinking or under the influence of alcohol. When you drink, you impair your judgment and slow your reaction time. That puts you at risk of hurting yourself or others while drinking and driving. You may also find yourself “blacking out“, participating in risky, dangerous behaviors more often because you’re not thinking with a clear mind. These are signs you should seek alcohol treatment.
- Your drinking has negatively impacted your performance at school or work. If you control your alcohol consumption, you most likely don’t have an issue with work or school performance. However, if you are dependent on alcohol, you’ll begin to miss days of work or school. Not to mention, because you drink excessive amounts, your overall concentration and work or school performance suffer.
- Your drinking has resulted in health problems. Heavy drinking takes its toll on your body. Not only does excessive amounts of alcohol damage your liver, but it can also cause anemia, cancer, heart damage, and nervous system disorders. If you have any of these issues, examine your drinking habits. You’ll probably conclude that alcohol counseling is the logical next step for your health.
- You’ve tried to limit or stop drinking alcohol but have not been successful. Perhaps you’ve been attempting to slow down on your drinking or even tried to quit altogether, only to find yourself in the liquor store again. Don’t beat yourself up. Alcohol use disorder is an illness – it’s an addiction you need help to overcome. You’ll infinitely increase your likelihood of success in kicking the habit if you enroll in an alcohol treatment program.
- You blackout from drinking. Excessive drinking harms your brain’s ability to create short-term memories. This leads to your inability to remember what happened after a period of heavy drinking or a blackout. When you drink more than your body can handle, you’ll experience a blackout, putting you at serious risk for injury or doing something you won’t remember.
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- You experience withdrawal symptoms when you don’t drink alcohol. If you’ve attempted to stop drinking “cold turkey” and are physically dependent on alcohol, you’ve probably experienced withdrawal symptoms. These include:
- Shaky hands
- High blood pressure
If this sounds like you, you need to seek an alcohol treatment program as soon as possible to avoid serious complications of untreated alcohol withdrawal.
Related Post: What Happens in an Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program?
Alcohol Treatment Options
If you determine you or a loved one may have an alcohol addiction, getting help as soon as possible is the right move. The longer you wait, the more likely you or someone you love is to hurt themselves or others or develop long-term health problems.
Here at BOLD Health in San Diego, we offer alcohol treatment in San Diego that can be customized for you. Our outpatient detox, intensive outpatient program (IOP), individual counseling and medication management are all options to help you overcome alcohol addiction. These are excellent options for alcohol treatment, led by expertly qualified mental health and addiction specialists in San Diego.
Outpatient Detox Program
Our BOLD Health outpatient detox program in San Diego is ideal for you if you have a stable home life with familial responsibilities but still need robust intensive addiction treatment. Based on your initial evaluation, we will work with you to develop the perfect alcohol addiction treatment program to overcome your alcohol dependence while also living at home.
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
Our IOP is an excellent option for alcohol counseling in San Diego, one step up from our outpatient detox program. As one of the leading IOP treatment programs in the San Diego area, we work with you through individual, group, and optional family therapy sessions to overcome your alcohol addiction.
If you are trying to stop your reliance on alcohol, you need a safe space and expert, compassionate mental health professionals to ensure your success. And that’s what you’ll find at BOLD Health.