Am I an alcoholic?

Am I Addicted to Alcohol?

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Many people enjoy hanging out with friends and having fun. There may be times when you have had a bit too much to drink. While it is okay to consume two or three drinks, you should moderate your alcohol intake. It is necessary to make sure alcohol does not become an addiction.

Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, is a chronic disorder that is defined by the person’s inability to control their alcohol use despite the negative consequences. Those with an addiction often tend to experience emotional distress when they are not drinking. In 2018, around 14.4 million adults over the age of 18 were diagnosed with AUD in the United States. Over 400,000 adolescents between the ages of 12–17 had AUD in 2018.

It is important to be able to identify an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and seek treatment.

How To Identify Alcohol Addiction

Having a few drinks does not mean that you have an addiction. If you are wondering whether you have AUD or not, then you should ask yourself some questions. A questionnaire called CAGE can help you, and it consists of four questions:

  • Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
  • Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
  • Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
  • Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get over a hangover?

If you answer “yes” to at least two of these questions, then you may want to seek professional help. Other warning signs of an addiction include:

  • Experiencing short-term memory loss
  • Becoming distant from loved ones
  • Choosing to drink instead of focusing on responsibilities
  • Experiencing an urge to drink
  • A loss of interest in activities

The Dangers Of Alcoholism

Alcohol addiction can harm your body, and you may not see some effects until much later. Some short-term effects include slurred speech, impaired vision, and lack of coordination. Some organs are more vulnerable to damage than others.

The Brain

Chronic drinking can affect different areas of the brain. Some of these areas include the cerebellum, limbic system, and cerebral cortex. You will tend to experience a loss of balance and impaired motor skills.

The Liver

Liver problems are a serious concern for those who consume an excessive amount of alcohol. Your liver helps break down and remove alcohol from the bloodstream. However, consuming too much in a short time can lead to a buildup of fat in the liver. Fatty liver may cause liver failure.

The Heart

Heavy drinking may weaken the heart, which affects how oxygen and nutrients are carried throughout the body. You may develop high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat. Some long-term effects include cardiomyopathy and strokes. There is also a risk of elevated triglyceride levels, which can lead to heart disease.



One of the first steps to overcoming AUD is detox. Detox requires the person to stop drinking. Not only can this be difficult to do, but it can also be dangerous. You will experience withdrawals as you go through detox, and serious complications may occur. Supervised medical detox might be needed to help keep you safe.


Inpatient treatment may be used for those with severe withdrawals. Inpatient treatment involves spending several days in a hospital-based setting or a longer-term rehabilitation facility. After a successful detox, you may follow up with a period of extensive rehab. You can choose go with residential treatment or outpatient treatment.


Some people have benefited from the assistance of medication to support their recovery. Medication can lessen cravings and lower the risk of relapsing. Some prescriptions also help control withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and restlessness.

First Steps Recovery

We at First Steps Recovery are dedicated to helping patients overcome their alcohol addiction. Located in Fresno, California, we offer inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, and online rehab. If you are interested in learning more about our addiction treatment, call us at 844-489-0836.

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