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By: Renaissance Recovery

Medically Reviewed by: Diana Vo, LMFT

Last Updated: 7/1/2021

an image of beer being poured and someone asking "am i an alcoholic?"

Authored By: Joe Gilmore

Table of Contents

If you find it hard to relax without a drink, or you find it increasingly difficult to enjoy yourself sober, perhaps you’ve asked yourself “Am I an alcoholic?”

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, even if you are physically or psychologically dependent on alcohol, this does not necessarily mean you are addicted. Having said that, dependence often accompanies addiction as a symptom of the underlying alcohol use disorder.

The good news is, if you are an alcoholic there are addiction treatment options. At Renaissance Recovery, we have treatment programs at our California rehab in place to help those struggling with alcohol abuse.

The latest NSDUH data shows that 14.5 million people in the United States meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder. This represents over 70% of all substance use disorders, according to the same data. There are several levels of intensity of alcohol use disorder:

  • Mild alcohol use disorder
  • Moderate alcohol use disorder
  • Severe alcohol use disorder

The CDC defines alcohol abuse as a pattern of drinking that causes damage to health, relationships, and the ability to work.

Alcohol abuse includes:

  • Heavy drinking
  • Binge drinking
  • Unsafe use of alcohol by pregnant women
  • Alcohol consumption by under-21s

Alcohol abuse causes problems that ripple far beyond the person drinking, with problems liable to impact health and wellbeing.

When someone is abusing alcohol, the following negative outcomes are commonplace:

  • Withdrawing from friends and family to drink alone
  • Missing school or work due to drinking or recovering from drinking
  • Feelings of anger
  • Episodes of violence
  • Depression
  • Financial problems developing
  • Engaging in risky behaviors like driving under the influence
  • Participating in unsafe sax
  • Risking legal ramifications for poor behaviors

Although abusing alcohol does not always correlate to alcoholism, without intervention alcohol abuse almost invariably spirals into full-blown alcohol addiction.

Am I An Alcoholic Quiz

Here’s a simple quiz you can try to determine whether your alcohol use might be descending into abuse, and possibly even problem drinking and addiction.

These questions are based on the diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder laid out in DSM-5 (the fifth and updated edition of the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

  1. Do you ever find yourself drinking more than you intended to, or drinking for longer than you planned?
  2. Are you spending an inordinate amount of time drinking alcohol and recovering from the effects of drinking?
  3. Have you experienced urges or cravings for alcohol?
  4. Is you alcohol consumption interfering with your obligations at home, work, or school?
  5. Does your drinking negatively impact your interpersonal relationships?
  6. Do you find yourself losing interest in hobbies and activities you previously enjoyed?
  7. Have you found yourself in dangerous situations as a result of drinking alcohol?
  8. Has drinking alcohol triggered any serious health conditions?
  9. Do you still get the same effect from drinking alcohol, or has your tolerance built so you need more to achieve the same outcome?
  10. Do you get withdrawal symptoms if you go without alcohol?
  11. Have you tried to moderate or stop drinking without success?

Perhaps you have answered positively to a disconcerting number of the above questions, and you’re now asking “How do I know if I’m an alcoholic?”

Well, as with all elements of alcohol abuse, the answer is nuanced and will vary from person to person. That said, there are some red flags you can look out for.

Signs You’re an Alcoholic

Alcohol, like many other drugs, can be both psychologically and physically addictive.

Some of the most common psychological signs of alcohol addiction include:

  • Wanting to moderate or discontinue use of alcohol but failing to do so
  • Spending less time with family and friends to make more time for alcohol abuse
  • Engaging in risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence
  • Being secretive about your alcohol consumption
  • Becoming distressed at the thought of not having any access to alcohol
  • Being in denial that you have a problem with alcohol abuse

Some of the most common physical signs of alcohol addiction include:

  • Blackouts, often during episodes of binge drinking
  • Slowed reactions
  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Risk-taking and impaired judgment
  • Memory lapses and memory impairment
  • Slurred speech

Why Am I An Alcoholic?

Alcohol addiction can run in the family, with most estimates suggesting around half of your addiction potential is genetic.

Others factors, social and environmental, as well as any co-occurring mental health disorders, also play into alcohol use disorder.

What’s more important that why you are an alcoholic, though, is how you can combat alcohol use disorder and commit to sustained recovery. We can help you with that here at Renaissance.

Seek Treatment For Alcoholism At Renaissance Recovery

If exploring today’s “Am I an alcoholic” quiz has given you cause for concern, taking action before abuse becomes dependence and addiction will make recovery quicker and easier. If, on the other hand, you are already suffering from alcohol use disorder, the sooner you engage with treatment, the sooner you can reclaim the life you lost to alcoholism.

Here at Renaissance Recovery Center’s Orange County rehab, we specialize in providing outpatient treatment programs to help you address the root cause of your alcohol use disorder. If you need more time commitment and care than you find in a regular outpatient program, we also offer IOPs (intensive outpatient programs) and PHPs (partial hospitalization programs). Both outpatient programs, an IOP is part-time, while a PHP offers you full-time outpatient programming. With our structured outpatient programs, you benefit from the same services you would find in residential rehab, but without the cost or the restrictions.

We offer MAT (medication-assisted treatment) for alcohol use disorder here at Renaissance. FDA-approved medications can help reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms, while at the same time minimizing the cravings you get for alcohol. MAT is most effective when delivered alongside talk therapies like CBT and DBT. You’ll learn how to identify the people, places, and things that trigger you to abuse alcohol. During these sessions, you’ll also learn how to use healthier coping strategies when confronted with life’s stressors than reaching for a bottle.

You will also have access to a variety of holistic therapies and vocational development programs, as well as robust aftercare and an alumni program. We’re here to support you every step of the way throughout your ongoing recovery. All you need to do to kickstart proceedings is reach out to the friendly admissions team at 866.330.9449.

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Pat C

“I owe my life and my happiness to these people. October 8th, 2019 marked two years of sobriety for me, and prior to finding Renaissance I hadn’t had 24 hours sober in nearly 20 years.”

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Paige R

“They truly cared for me and the other people that I served with! From this group, I have made 8 new brothers and friends for life! We have continued on, after the program, to take care of each other”

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Courtney S

“Great staff who took the time to get to know me. They have a lot of experience in this field and have first hand experience with what I was going through. IOP is outstanding and really built up a ton of great relationships and found this program to be a ‘breath of fresh air’.”

Diana Vo, LMFT

Diana is an addiction expert and licensed marriage and family therapist who has been in the field of mental health for over 10 years.

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country

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