Do I Have a Drinking Problem?

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If you’ve ever asked Google if you have a drinking problem, you’ve likely taken a quiz or two that may confirm or deny a problem. And with over 1 billion search engine results, it’s easy to get information overload.

Given the highly sensitive and personal nature of alcohol misuse and addiction, listening to the gut instinct may be a better approach. While a DUI, damaged relationships, and loss of a job are key indicators of a drinking problem, what about the less obvious nuances that make us question a relationship with alcohol?

These subtle indicators are generally less obvious to those around us and can make us question whether or not alcohol has become a problem. Perhaps feeling drained after a night of binge drinking has become more frequent or the local liquor store is a regular stop, and they know you by name and favorite flavor. Or maybe it’s something more troubling that makes you question your drinking habit. Your memory isn’t as good as it once was, your hands tremble, your stress builds, and you want a drink to make it stop.

Signs of a Drinking Problem

Alcohol addiction and misuse disorder are highly individual and there is no magic number of drinks or diagnostic test that can determine a problem with alcohol. However, certain features can emerge and show a drinking problem. These include:

  • Drinking more to get the same effect
  • Hiding a drinking habit
  • Drinking alone
  • Craving alcohol
  • Feeling guilt or shame about alcohol
  • Losing interest in once pleasurable activities
  • Continued drinking when attempting to control or stop
  • Feeling symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, such as anxiety, irritability, fatigue, or shakiness

Mental health providers use a set of diagnostic criteria for identifying Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Based on criteria over a 12-month period, they make a diagnosis ranging from mild, moderate, or severe AUD. The questions cover alcohol abuse and dependence with 2 to 3 “Yes” answers showing mild AUD, 4 to 5 “Yes” answers indicating moderate severity, and 6 or more “Yes” answers showing a severe case

When determining the severity of a drinking problem, people may hear questions such as, “In the past year, have you tried to cut down or stop drinking, but could not?” or “Over the past 12 months, have you continued drinking even though it caused depression, anxiety, or memory blackout(s)?” For a full listing of diagnostic questions, you can visit the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH) website

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

According to the NIH, AUD affects roughly 14.5 people ages 12 and older per year and an estimated 95,000 alcohol-related deaths annually. Alcohol related deaths rate #3 as a leading cause of death after tobacco and poor diet. Treatment is available for this chronic condition, and as we learn more about AUD, different modalities addressing the specific needs of those affected by AUD emerge.

Today, we can find many outpatient programs and community groups offering evidence-based treatment and support for men and women struggling with alcohol abuse and addiction. Long-term after care and sober living houses provide an additional safety net for those in recovery.

Pura Vida Outpatient Drug and Alcohol Treatment

If you feel your relationship with alcohol is disrupting your life and feel you may have a problem with drinking, learn about the outpatient alcohol treatment program at Pura Vida. With a flexible outpatient treatment program, you can continue working or going to school and return home each day.

Outpatient alcohol treatment is best for motivated people exiting an in-patient program, detoxed individuals, or those with mild-to-moderate withdrawal symptoms who need support and a structured daily routine. You can expect to meet 3 to 5 days per week, receive evidence-based treatment, and gain the tools needed for a life of sobriety.

Now is the time to stop questioning a drinking problem and take action. For a free, confidential screening and learn more about the outpatient rehab services, get in touch with Pura Vida online or by phone at (707) 879-8432. Pura Vida accepts many insurance coverage providers and offers flexible payment options and scholarship opportunities to help offset the cost of drug and/or alcohol treatment.