Admitting you have a problem

Editor Dan Schimmel, LCSW, CAP
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What is an Alcoholic?

Medically speaking, an alcoholic is a person who suffers from alcoholism. This means that the body is dependent on alcohol. Contrary to what many people believe, alcoholism is a chronic, long lasting disease that can lead to serious bodily harm and in many cases death.

Are you an Alcoholic?

If you find yourself asking this question, there is a good chance that you are worried about how much alcohol you drink. Although the answers that you find may scare you, it is better to assess your situation now than to wait around and hope for the best in the future (the best will likely never come).

Here are three common signs that you may be abusing alcohol:

Constantly neglecting your responsibilities – such as your family and work life – as a direct relation to your drinking. This could include anything from not spending time with your children to missing important work functions.

Repeatedly dealing with legal issues related to drinking problems. Have you been arrested for driving under the influence? Do you find yourself getting into physical altercations when you are drunk?

Drinking heavily because it is the only way for you to relax. As unfortunate as it may be, many people get on the road to alcoholism because they are looking for a way to de-stress and unwind. Soon enough, drinking is the only way to get any relief. Are you reaching for a drink every time you feel stressed?

Alcohol Dependence

You may have a difficult time determining if you are dependent on alcohol – especially if you are in denial. Here are five warning signs:

  • You no longer have control over how much you are drinking
  • You want to stop but are having a difficult time doing so
  • Your life has changed due to your alcohol use
  • You spend a lot of time and money focused on alcohol, including when your next drink will come
  • You continue to drink even though it is causing issues in your life, such as missing work and treating your family poorly

This information should help you answer the question, “what is an alcoholic?”


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