When to go to Alcohol Rehab - Solutions Recovery

When to go to Alcohol Rehab

Alcohol addiction, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is common in the United States.1 A 2019 survey showed that 14.5 million Americans aged 12 or older (5.3% of the population) had an AUD in the last year.The largest group of Americans with AUDs in the last year were 26 years of age or older, with 11 million people diagnosed. They were followed by people between the ages of 18 and 25, 3.1 million of whom were diagnosed in the last year.1

In the state of Nevada, a survey that averaged the percentages of people with an alcohol use disorder in 2018 and 2019 showed slightly higher rates than the national average.2  Among those aged 12 or older, 6.04% of people in Nevada had an AUD in the last year, with the highest average (10.31%) among people between the ages of 18 and 25.2

This article will help you learn more about the following:

  • How do you know if you’re addicted to alcohol?
  • What are the warning signs of alcoholism?
  • How to get help for alcoholism.

How do I know if I’m an Alcoholic?

Alcohol use disorder is a newer diagnosis that merged two older diagnoses: alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence.3 Alcohol addiction affects the body, thoughts, and behaviors.4 It can be difficult to acknowledge that you’re an alcoholic. A diagnosis can be made if you have at least 2 of these symptoms within a 1-year period:3, 4

  • Drinking more than planned or for longer than planned.
  • Drinking when it could be dangerous, such as when driving.
  • Experiencing cravings to drink alcohol.
  • Having difficulty meeting usual expectations at home, school, or work because of alcohol.
  • Not being able to stop drinking even after it has caused or worsened an ongoing physical or mental health issue.
  • Not being able to stop drinking even after it has caused or worsened an ongoing problem with social relationships.
  • Quitting or cutting back on hobbies or other leisure activities due to alcohol.
  • Spending a lot of time getting alcohol, drinking it, or recuperating after drinking.
  • Wanting/trying to cut back or quit drinking, but being unable to.
  • Developing a tolerance, where the same amount of alcohol has less of an effect as it used to.
  • Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when alcohol use is drastically diminished or stopped suddenly.

You don’t have to be physically dependent to be diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder, but those who are meet the criteria for experiencing tolerance and withdrawal.3, 4 When you drink regularly over time, you may notice signs of alcohol dependence, such as experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking or noticing that alcohol no longer has the same effect that it used to.3, 4 This is because alcohol can be physically addictive as well as psychologically addictive.

There is some overlap between casual drinking and alcoholism. One of the top signs of alcoholism is that an alcohol use disorder causes major distress or difficulty in a person’s ability to function in at least one area of their life.4 Casual drinking may occur on a social basis, while alcoholism is a progressive, incurable disease that affects multiple areas of a person’s life.3, 4

Alcohol Addiction Symptoms

The signs of alcohol abuse can be similar to those of alcohol addiction.5, 6 If you are concerned that a friend or loved one has a problem with alcohol, observe how they act. Be aware, however, that these signs may also indicate a physical or mental health problem. It’s a good idea to talk to your friend or loved one about your concerns or encourage them to speak with a physician or mental health professional.

The physical symptoms of alcohol addiction include:5, 6

  • Bloodshot eyes.
  • Changes in weight.
  • Lack of attention to personal hygiene.
  • Lack of coordination.
  • Smelling like alcohol.

Behavioral signs of alcohol addiction include:5, 6

  • Becoming less reliable than usual.
  • Behaving in a belligerent or aggressive manner.
  • Binge drinking (drinking a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time).
  • Distancing from family members.
  • Drinking excessively or regularly.
  • Drinking at inappropriate places or times.
  • Drinking while alone or hiding alcohol use from others.
  • Feeling anxious if unable to drink.
  • Frequent isolation.
  • Mood swings.
  • Not wanting to participate in activities that don’t involve alcohol.
  • Slurring while speaking.
  • Switching to a different group of friends.

Warning Signs of Alcohol Addiction

The severity of an alcohol use disorder is determined by the number of diagnostic criteria that are met.4 If a person displays 2 to 3 symptoms, they are diagnosed with a mild disorder; 4 to 5 symptoms indicate a moderate disorder and 6 or more symptoms indicate a severe disorder.4 A severe alcohol use disorder may also be referred to as alcoholism.7

It can be helpful to be aware of the early signs of alcoholism so that you or your loved one can receive treatment at the early stages of the disease. Warning signs that a person has a severe alcohol use disorder can include the symptoms listed above, along with:7, 8 

  • An inability to control how much alcohol they drink, even if they promise to stop drinking or cut back.
  • Becoming depressed or anxious.
  • Being late or missing days at school or work because of alcohol.
  • Drinking in the morning to get the day started or ease the discomfort of a hangover.
  • Experiencing frequent hangovers.
  • Falling or getting hurt while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Getting angry or irritable when anyone tries to express concern regarding their drinking.
  • Having difficulty remembering things that happened while drinking, or even experiencing blackouts.
  • Having trouble completing responsibilities at home, school, or work because of hangovers or being under the influence of alcohol.
  • Using alcohol as a coping skill in uncomfortable or stressful situations.

A common symptom of alcohol use disorder is the development of a tolerance, where a person feels less of an effect when drinking their usual amount, or they require more alcohol to get “buzzed” or drunk.8 Withdrawal symptoms may occur after extended periods of regular drinking, but not everyone with an alcohol use disorder will experience withdrawal symptoms.4

If you or a loved one is physically dependent on alcohol and suddenly stops drinking, you may experience very uncomfortable—and in some cases, dangerous—withdrawal symptoms.4, 7, 8 Withdrawal symptoms can make it very difficult to stop drinking, since people may return to drinking to alleviate these uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms.4, 7

If you’d like to know whether your insurance may cover the full or partial cost of rehabilitation at one of American Addiction Centers’ various rehab centers across the states, simply fill in your information in the form below.

Warning Signs of Alcoholism

The severity of an alcohol use disorder is determined by the number of diagnostic criteria that are met.4 If a person displays 2 to 3 symptoms, they are diagnosed with a mild disorder; 4 to 5 symptoms indicate a moderate disorder and 6 or more symptoms indicate a severe disorder.4 A severe alcohol use disorder may also be referred to as alcoholism.

It can be helpful to be aware of the early signs of alcoholism so that you or your loved one can receive treatment at the early stages of the disease. Warning signs that a person has a severe alcohol use disorder can include the symptoms listed above, along with:7,8

  • An inability to control how much alcohol they drink, even if they promise to stop drinking or cut back.
  • Becoming depressed or anxious.
  • Being late or missing days at school or work because of alcohol.
  • Drinking in the morning to get the day started or ease the discomfort of a hangover.
  • Experiencing frequent hangovers.
  • Falling or getting hurt while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Getting angry or irritable when anyone tries to express concern regarding their drinking.
  • Having difficulty remembering things that happened while drinking, or even experiencing blackouts.
  • Having trouble completing responsibilities at home, school, or work because of hangovers or being under the influence of alcohol.
  • Using alcohol as a coping skill in uncomfortable or stressful situations.

A common symptom of alcohol use disorder is the development of a tolerance, where a person feels less of an effect when drinking their usual amount, or they require more alcohol to get “buzzed” or drunk.8 Withdrawal symptoms may occur after extended periods of regular drinking, but not everyone with an alcohol use disorder will experience withdrawal symptoms.

If you or a loved one is physically dependent on alcohol and suddenly stops drinking, you may experience very uncomfortable—and in some cases, dangerous—withdrawal symptoms.4,7,8 Withdrawal symptoms can make it very difficult to stop drinking, since people may return to drinking to alleviate these uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms.4,7

When to Go to Rehab for Alcohol

Many health risks are associated with an addiction to alcohol.9 These issues can appear after short periods of drinking as well as in the long run.9 Not everyone will experience these issues, however.

Alcohol use disorder can have negative effects on a person’s physical health. Problems may include:9

  • Increased risk of alcohol poisoning, which can happen if a person drinks too much too quickly.
  • Increased risk of getting injured in falls or other accidents.
  • Increased risk of developing serious chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, liver problems, issues with the digestive system, various types of cancer, and stroke.

Alcohol can also have a major impact on a person’s mental health and wellbeing. Over time, alcohol can raise the risk of developing problems such as:9

  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Dementia.
  • Memory problems.
  • Difficulty learning new information.

There are social, familial, and occupational issues as well:9

  • Alcohol can make some people prone to violent behavior, increasing the risk of fights with others.
  • Since alcohol often impairs judgment, people who are under the influence may be more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors. Unsafe sex can lead to an unplanned pregnancy and/or an increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections.
  • Women who drink while pregnant are at higher risk of experiencing a miscarriage. Risk also increases for stillbirth or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
  • Relationship issues caused by alcohol can result in verbal arguments or escalate into physical or sexual violence.
  • People with alcohol use disorder may push away family members and friends who interfere or disagree with their alcohol intake. They may attempt to hide their drinking from loved ones.
  • Alcohol can affect a person’s ability to function effectively at school or their job. They may be frequently late or absent, and the quality of their work may suffer. They may drop out of school or get fired from their job.
  • Drinking can also have legal ramifications. Drinking and driving can lead to car crashes, injuries, and legal charges.9 These can be costly and have serious consequences.

People with a physical dependence on alcohol who attempt withdrawal can experience symptoms that range in severity from uncomfortable to serious and life-threatening. 4,7,8 These symptoms often affect a person’s ability to function in their daily life. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include agitation, anxiety, depressed mood, difficulty sleeping, feeling queasy, headaches, racing heart rate, restlessness, shakes that affect the hands, sweating, vomiting, delirium tremens, fever, hallucinations, delusions, loss of touch with reality, and seizures.4,7,8

If you have experienced any of the issues describe above, or have noticed that alcohol has had an impact on any of these areas of your life, it could be a good idea to speak to your doctor or a substance use treatment provider about getting help for alcoholism. It’s especially important to speak to a professional before trying to quit drinking if you have previously experienced symptoms of alcohol withdrawal or have been drinking heavily for an extended period of time. Be aware that it can be dangerous to stop drinking suddenly or on your own.8

Finding Help for Alcohol Addiction

American Addiction Centers is one of the foremost providers of alcohol detox and rehab treatment in the United States and Nevada.10, 11 Alcohol treatment is provided by compassionate and knowledgeable staff, and your treatment plan will be personalized to meet your unique needs for as long as it takes to get back on your feet.10,11,12 In Nevada, American Addiction Centers operates Desert Hope, a facility in Las Vegas that offers a full range of treatments for alcohol addiction.11 Learn more about how American Addiction Centers can help treat your alcoholism by calling our free, confidential helpline. We are available 24/7 at .

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