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Am I an Alcoholic? The Sooner You Know the Better!

Lisa Taylor
Lisa TaylorAddiction Counsellor

A man from London gets up and prepares for another day at work. He shaves, combs his hair, then stands silently and stares at his face in the mirror. “Am I an alcoholic?”, he asks himself, feeling the full effects of a night of drinking that only concluded a few hours earlier. He wonders how he will get through the day in the shape he's in. He thinks to himself, “perhaps I need another drink.”

The scenario we just described is more prevalent than you might believe. NHS statistics suggest that anywhere between 6% and 7% of the adult population in the UK exhibits signs of alcoholism. That is an astounding number by any standard. Even if it is just 6%, how many more people are battling alcohol abuse that will someday become alcoholism? Far too many.

Are you an alcoholic? There is no way for us to answer that question without first speaking with you. But we can say that the sooner you know, the better off you will be. The key to overcoming alcoholism is to treat it as soon as possible. The longer one waits, the more damage alcoholism does to the mind and body.

The Deadly Progression of Alcoholism

There is a very good reason we say it is best to know that you are an alcoholic as soon as possible: alcoholism is a progressively worsening condition that can result in premature death if not dealt with. Let us explore this progressive nature in more detail.

Alcoholism starts as casual drinking in social situations. You might have a drink or two while out with friends – not necessarily because you want to, but because everyone else is drinking. You soon discover that consuming your favourite drink makes you feel good; it loosens you up and makes you more sociable. Next time you go out with friends, you plan to have a few drinks again.

Most people find this kind of casual drinking relatively harmless. That's because they can control themselves and not overdo it. But a person who will eventually progress to alcohol abuse and alcoholism lacks the same amount of self-control. This is a person who experiences intense pleasure from drinking to the point that alcohol cravings start almost immediately.

A lack of control allows casual drinking to become problem drinking, and problem drinking to become alcohol abuse. If you were to get treatment during the early stages of problem drinking, it would be possible to prevent you from ever becoming an alcohol abuser. But that's not the way it goes for an alcoholic. Problem drinking is ignored; it becomes alcohol abuse, which is also ignored; the final result is alcoholism.

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The progression from problem drinking to alcoholism can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. It depends on the person. The problem is, alcoholism creeps up on a person without him or her ever knowing it. That is why it is so important to get help as quickly as possible. The sooner a drinking problem can be identified and treated, the less severe it will become.

Am I an Alcoholic: Let's Look at the Symptoms

Perhaps you are that man or woman who stands in front of the mirror every morning asking yourself, “am I an alcoholic?” Let's look at the symptoms of the condition to find out. Someone who is dependent on alcohol:

  • experiences weight loss from not eating properly
  • develops mild to severe insomnia
  • experiences mood swings that include anxiety and restlessness
  • constantly craves alcohol
  • fears not having enough alcohol to make it through the day
  • is willing to hide alcohol around the house
  • goes to great lengths to hide drinking from friends and family
  • has trouble performing at work or school
  • gradually loses interest in personal appearance
  • becomes defensive when other people show concern
  • avoids social situations, especially involving family
  • believes alcohol is a solution to problems rather than the cause of them
  • gradually increases the amount of alcohol consumed

If you are unsure whether or not you are an alcoholic based upon the symptoms, there is a fast and easy way to find out. Just call our 24-hour helpline and speak to one of our counsellors. Our counsellors are trained to conduct comprehensive alcohol assessments based on the Alcohol Dependence Scale and a series of accompanying questions that are graded according to individual responses.

Assessments are fairly accurate in determining the severity of alcohol problems. Just by honestly answering the questions our counsellor asks, you can know once and for all whether or not you are an alcoholic. We hope to be able to say that you are not, but we also want the opportunity to help you find treatment if you are. That is the entire reason we offer alcohol assessments.

Start Treatment Right Away

Let us assume an alcohol assessment determines you are indeed an alcoholic. The next step is to start treatment as soon as you can. The advantage of working with us is that we have connections with alcohol rehab clinics throughout the UK. Virtually every one of these clinics has open space capable of accommodating you within 24 to 48 hours. There is no need to wait weeks or months to begin treatment.

You may decide that residential rehab at a private clinic is not right for you. That's fine. We work with a full range of treatment providers offering outpatient programmes as well. We can find something that meets your needs and your budget. The most important thing is getting treatment started as soon as possible.

“Am I an alcoholic?” If you have found yourself asking that question, there is a high chance you have a drinking problem of some kind. It might be alcoholism, or it might be alcohol abuse or problem drinking. Let us help you figure it out today. Once you know where you stand, you will be able to make the necessary decisions to overcome your problem.

Whatever you do, do not delay. Every day you delay is another day alcohol is taking its toll on your mind and body. Remember, the sooner you come to terms with your problem and deal with it, the better off you will be.

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