What constitutes social drinking, and how do you know if you are already an alcoholic? Unfortunately, there’s a very thin line between having fun and developing an addiction without you knowing. There are actually guidelines to knowing if you are just out socializing with friends, or actually are spiraling into alcoholism.

For instance, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) says that women who drink a maximum of seven bottles each week or three drinks in one sitting are considered as “low-risk.” For men, it’s 14 drinks each week and four bottles in one sitting.

Problem Drinking Vs Alcoholism

There’s another gradient for those who love their liquor. They are called problem drinkers and they belong one rung below the alcoholics. According to the NIAAA, many binge drinkers engage in heavy consumption of alcohol for an average of three to four years, basically when they were in high school until college.

The only difference is they can scale down the amount of alcohol, or even stop drinking altogether if given the right motivation. It’s not the same with alcoholics, however. While those with alcohol addiction can stop for a brief spell, when they go back to the bottle they really hit hard.

How to Know If You’re an Alcoholic?

According to alcohol treatment centers, there are several red flags to look out for to know that you are approaching addiction territory:

  • You have trouble stopping once you start picking up that bottle
  • Intense guilt follows after drinking
  • Risking going behind the wheel even when intoxicated without getting into an accident
  • Finding an excuse to drink
  • Behavior change
  • Family and friends have already alerted you about your drinking
  • You black out for long moments especially after drinking
  • You already suffer from short-term amnesia
  • You are in denial
  • You start to hide the fact that you are drinking from family, friends, and co-workers
  • Could not see yourself without a bottle in hand
  • You engage in risky activities after drinking
  • You already miss time at work, or miss out on family gatherings

Finally, even after all that you still could not stop drinking.

First, Recognize You Have a Problem

You don’t need to deal with alcohol addiction on your own. The important thing is to be self-aware. Denying you have a problem will only aggravate your situation. There’s also a legal issue here. Getting arrested for DUI will land you in jail and scar you for life. You can just count yourself lucky if you got into an accident that didn’t result in injury to somebody else or worse, death. The next step is to undergo an alcohol addiction treatment such as the 12-step program under the guidance of alcohol treatment centers.

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