What Are the Criteria for Alcoholism?

What Are the Criteria for Alcoholism?

An alcoholic will disregard the negative consequences of heavy drinking

There is much confusion about determining when alcohol abuse becomes an addiction, because there are varying explanations for the circumstances and behaviors of alcoholism, and because there is no official definition for an addiction to alcohol. However, addiction is diagnosed after tolerance and dependence form, so someone is an alcoholic if he continues drinking in spite of clear social, health and possible economic consequences. Since alcoholism is defined as addiction to alcohol, similar terms can be used for an alcoholism diagnosis.

Criteria for Alcoholism

Binge drinking and alcohol abuse do not always fall in the category of alcoholism, because, even though someone may consume a great amount of alcohol, the consequences may go hidden. Also, someone may only drink occasionally, so it may not seem like a problem. For example, someone who uses high quantities of alcohol in a short period of time is binge drinking, but she might only binge drink on certain occasions without developing dependence for the substance. However, binge drinking and alcohol abuse can cause devastating situations that still require treatment, especially if the problems occur more than once.

To know if you are an alcoholic, the following circumstances and behaviors must be present:

  • Being intoxicated by alcohol at least a few times a month, sometimes even daily
  • Disregarding the negative consequences of heavy drinking
  • Social and health problems following alcohol abuse
  • Withdrawal symptoms after reducing or stopping the consumption, including slight problems like headaches
  • Physical and psychological dependence
  • Feeling unable to control the use of alcohol
  • Inability to quit drinking even after several tries

Alcoholism is a disease due to the way compulsive drinking impacts the central nervous system. When an alcoholic goes long enough without a drink, he will experience negative reactions known as withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms mean his body cannot function properly without alcohol.

The Right Time to Get Help for Alcohol Abuse

Help for alcoholism is not exclusive to those who are diagnosed as alcoholics. In other words, help for binge drinking is available for those who abuse alcohol, so someone who abuses alcohol regularly should consider the dangers of continued drinking even if she is not yet addicted. When a loved one falls short of the criteria of alcoholism, all may not be well. Sometimes it does not take much for someone to develop tolerance and dependence, meaning she could be drinking more without realizing it as time passes.

Alcohol rehab has been an amazing help to addicts, but it also helps people with substance abuse problems. With the help of professional medical teams, support groups, counseling and a drug-free environment, many people have created better lives for themselves in short periods of time.

Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline now so our admissions coordinators can help you to find the right treatment for your specific needs. This treatment may include rehab, family counseling, transportation to and from rehab, Dual Diagnosis care, medically supervised detox and even help finding affordable facilities. Seek help now to begin treatment as soon as possible.