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When it comes to your consumption of alcohol, you might wonder, how much is too much? It is common to brush aside any signs or symptoms of a drinking problem because, in society, alcohol use is common and accepted in social settings. Alcohol is also a legal substance consumed by millions of people each year. Therefore, you will want to educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder to determine if you have a drinking problem. 

Prevalence of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction is one of the most common substance use disorders for which people seek treatment. According to the 2019 study from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 14.5 million people ages 12 and older (5.3%) had alcohol use disorder, and about 7.2% of people in the same age group sought alcohol rehab or received other forms of treatment. 

Even though alcohol consumption is legal, it is also detrimental to your health. According to the same NSDUH study, an estimated 95,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third-leading preventable cause of death in the United States. 

Common Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder

To figure out if you do, indeed, have a drinking problem, a good place to start is to understand the common signs of alcohol use disorder. If you are struggling with alcohol addiction, you might notice some changes in your mood and behavior. Alcohol is often used to improve mood, lending to a stimulant effect, but once the alcohol wears off, people can become extremely irritable, anxious, and even sick. Some other signs of alcohol use disorder may include:

  • Inability to follow through with work or other daily responsibilities
  • Losing interest in hobbies
  • Making excuses for drinking
  • Becoming isolated or distant from friends and family members

Physical Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol consumption can take a toll on your physical health. Understanding the signs is a crucial step in the right direction for your physical and mental wellbeing. Physical signs of alcohol use disorder may include:

  • Blurred vision, slurred speech
  • Pain in the liver
  • Constantly feeling nauseous/feeling sick
  • Loss or change in appetite
  • Changes in hair and skin health
  • Heart problems such as palpitations

When Does Drinking Become Problematic?

Knowing the signs and symptoms of problematic drinking is a great first step in overcoming your struggles. It is also beneficial to ask yourself if you are using alcohol for a reason much more than “social drinking.” 

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture, adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to two drinks or less in a day for men. Anything beyond this might be considered problematic drinking. Further, when men consume more than five drinks within a two-hour period, this is considered binge drinking. 

Additionally, drinking can become problematic when alcohol is used for reasons that create changes in typical behavior, like wanting to “numb” yourself or using alcohol as a means of self-medicating. The following is a list of questions you can ask yourself to gauge whether or not your drinking might be problematic. Questions include: 

  • Am I using alcohol to numb feelings of anxiety or depression?
  • Am I feeling guilty or ashamed about my drinking habits?
  • Do I reach for the bottle when I am stressed out?
  • Am I drinking more alcohol to ease withdrawal symptoms?
  • Am I drinking or binge drinking when I am alone?
  • Do I spend a lot of time thinking about drinking or feeling guilty for drinking?
  • Do I have trouble remembering things when I’m drinking?

How to Get Help for a Drinking Problem

The most important thing to remember is that there is help for you. Overuse of alcohol does not make you less of a person, and millions of people go through their own struggles with alcohol use and addiction.

There are many ways and methods that you can use to begin treatment for problematic drinking. Some of these methods may include: 

  • Alcohol detox and rehab 
  • IOP 
  • PHP 

Managing substance use disorder is a lifelong journey. Treatment programs and a strong support system will help you address the underlying issues that lead to problematic drinking and substance abuse to get you back on track to living the healthy life that you deserve. It is never easy to handle any substance use disorder on your own, but specific programs and familial support will help you in your journey.

Many people use alcohol as a means to self-medicate or numb feelings of depression or anxiety. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek treatment immediately before it develops into addiction. Here at Lighthouse Recovery Texas, we work with our patients in a number of ways to treat problematic drinking and alcohol use disorder. Our IOP and PHP programs are designed to help you create longevity in your treatment process, with a supportive team to help you along your journey. With us, you will be among staff and peers who have been through the treatment process and share similar experiences. With a good balance of holistic and conventional practices, you can be assured that you will get the help you need. If you or a loved one is currently struggling, get help today. To learn more, reach out to us today by calling (214) 978-6680