Alcoholism is a condition that millions of people around the world face. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that nearly 5% of Americans exhibited the symptoms of alcoholism. If you have a problem with alcohol, you should know that you are not alone, because there are many other people facing the same problem. Alcohol abuse hotlines provide a way for you to get support in overcoming your problem. If you are worried that someone you love has a problem with alcohol, these hotlines can also provide you information about how you can help.
Signs of Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a disease with certain symptoms. Not all people who abuse alchohol exhibit the same symptoms, but someone who has 2 or more of these symptoms might have a problem:
- Lack of control when it comes to drinking.
- Drinking more than the intended amount.
- Frequent thoughts about alcohol.
- A deep need to have more alcohol.
- Needing to drink more alcohol to feel its effects.
- Drinking when others are not around or hiding drinking habits.
- Experiencing problems with friends or family because of alcohol.
- Alcohol negatively affecting your performance at work.
- Withdrawal symptoms occurring when alcohol intake decreases.
- Drinking alcohol in situations where you should not drink, such as at work.
- Drinking excessively or to the point where you blackout.
- Trouble remembering what you did while drinking alcohol.
- Feeling like you need a drink to get through a bad day.
- Spending more time drinking than doing other activities.
Those who meet any of this criteria have likely discovered that they can no longer control their alcohol use. Some people who drink alcohol develop a ritual that they follow on a regular basis. For example, a person might pour a drink the moment they walks into their home. If you have a problem with alcohol, you might notice that you do not like anyone or anything stopping your ritual.
Other symptoms of alcoholism include:
- Hiding alcohol in covert spots around the home.
- Irritable behaviors when losing access to alcohol.
- Feeling as if alcohol is the only thing that can keep you stable.
Abuse or Dependence?
Although many people think they are the same thing, there is a difference between dependence and alcohol abuse. Alcoholism is a dependence upon alcohol that you cannot control—your body has come to depend on it to feel “normal”. In contrast, alcohol abuse is when you drink a lot, but are not physically dependent on the substance.
“Alcohol abuse is common among college students. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, nearly 20% of college students are heavy drinkers.”Alcohol abuse is common among college students. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, nearly 20% of college students are heavy drinkers. Heavy drinkers are those who drink at least 5 alcoholic drinks on a regular basis. When a student is a heavy drinker, they increase the risks for having academic and social problems and legal troubles.
Despite generally being in good health, even college athletes can have problems with alcohol abuse. The Center for Science in the Public Interest found that more than 74% of athletes attending NCAA Division I schools had consumed alcoholic drinks in the past month. Alcohol has a sedative effect that impairs judgment, increases poor decision-making skills, and lowers inhibitions. Contacting alcohol abuse hotlines can make a real difference to someone who abuses alcohol or is addicted to it.
How Helplines Work
Alcohol abuse helplines are anonymous hotlines that you can call for help. You can talk to a counselor about your battles with alcohol, and the counselor can assist you in finding additional help in your area. If you are concerned about a friend or loved one, you can express these concerns to the counselor too, and they will offer helpful tips and suggestions for how you can help that person.
What to Ask
Before you call an alcohol abuse hotline, it may be helpful to have a list of questions ready so you can be sure to get all the answers you need. Examples of questions you might ask include:
- How can I tell if I have a problem with alcohol?
- What can I do to help my loved one who abuses alcohol?
- What are the treatment options in my area?
- What is the difference between inpatient and outpatient treatment?
- Can I get in trouble at work if I tell my supervisor I need to go to treatment?
- What should I ask my insurance company about my alcohol treatment coverage?
- What should I do if I’ve gotten in legal trouble because of my alcohol use?
It can also be helpful to have certain information handy before you call to help your counselor better advise you:
- The amount of alcohol you/your loved one drinks on a regular basis.
- The kind of alcohol abused.
- Your health insurance information.
- A list of financial resources you can access for treatment.
- Your work’s policy on leave for treatment.
Did You Know?
- SAMHSA found that more than 14.4 million American had an alcohol use disorder in 2014.
- Approximately 25% of all Americans binge-drank (had 5 more drinks in one day) in the last year, according to the CDC.