Drinkers never see addiction coming. It sneaks up on them slowly, making it difficult to differentiate when recreational drinking becomes problem drinking. Depending on an individual’s tolerance level, it may take one week to several months for addiction to penetrate its roots.
Joe was leading a rustic-countryside life, but could not keep with the daily hardships and pitfalls, which soon made his life tough. During such taxing moments, a drink or two worked wonders to calm his agitated mind. In no time, the bedtime shots were not enough to soothe his nerves. He began to crave for another drink in the morning to get him going. However, Joe never found his drinking habit unusual. As the years rolled by, the sudden loss of his wife aggravated his alcohol consumption. Though he felt that alcohol was the only remedy, his condition got only worse with every glass.
His usual morning shots which extended till noon had impaired Joe’s ability to steer the wheel and landed him into a deep ditch, causing severe injuries. Though he didn’t take the whole thing very seriously, his daughter knew her father needed help to break free from the clutches of alcohol. Counting the empty cans and bottles in the trash was more than enough to identify his addictive drinking. It was time to talk to a counsellor.
Importance of identifying drinking problem in early stages
Many people who struggle with drinking problems manifest symptoms which are easily identifiable, which makes their near and dear ones more alert. However, there are many others whose warning signs are not quite apparent, so treatment as an option is never considered.
Therefore, the key to determine if someone is suffering from alcoholism is to carry out investigations based on the following behavioral traits:
- uncontrollable desire to drink
- high tolerance to alcohol and other signs of dependence
- negative outcomes of alcohol, such as job termination, legal hassles or troubled relationships
- frequent bouts of emotional ups and downs
- tendency to indulge in risky behaviors
Nevertheless, differentiating social drinking from problematic drinking may require people to disclose information about their chronic drinking habits and the impact on their lives. Sometimes, in an effort to gain valuable inputs, health care providers may design questionnaires to identify people with drinking problems.
Specific questions based on extensive research serve to make accurate assessments about alcohol use disorders in target audiences. This is very important because alcohol use disorder has less to do with the quantity of alcohol consumption and more with the consequences on a person’s life. Results of such screening questionnaires form the basis of further clinical assessments.
As a thumb rule, women who have more than three drinks in roughly two hours or seven each week are said to be at a higher risk of alcoholism. In the case of men, the upper limit is four drinks a day or 14 per week. Also, it is highly recommended to have two or three alcohol-free days each week.
Leading alcohol-free life
Alcohol addiction cannot be wished away without making any effort. It needs the support of professionals who are trained to help people get sober. The key to staying sober is obtaining the right information on how to safeguard oneself from addiction while caring for one’s physical as well as mental health.