There are as many reasons to get sober as there are excuses to drink. Alcoholism is different from illicit drug dependence because drinking alcohol is legal, common, and socially acceptable. It seems like everyone drinks and nobody cares that it’s happening. It’s easy to fall into the trap that societal acceptance of alcoholism sets.
How To Identify Alcohol Use Disorders
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) manual outlines 11 identifiers to diagnose Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). If you can identify two or more of these factors in your own life, you need to seek help.
- You drank more or longer than you intended in the last year.
- You’ve tried to cut back on drinking and failed.
- You spend a lot of time drinking or recovering from drinking.
- You’ve had obsessive thoughts about wanting to drink.
- Drinking or being sick from drinking has caused a disruption in your relationships, job, or school.
- Alcohol has caused a problem in your life and you’ve kept consuming it anyway.
- You’ve cut back on activities where drinking is inappropriate.
- You’ve put yourself in a situation where you could be physically hurt while drinking or recovering from drinking.
- You’re worried drinking will cause health problems and you keep doing it anyway.
- Your tolerance to alcohol has changed.
- You’ve had alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Statistics About Alcohol and AUD
Drinking problems often begin at a tender age. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 67.1 million Americans over the age of 12 binge drink, while 1 in 200 admits to heavy binge drinking more than 5 days per month.
When surveyed, 1.2 million children age 12 to 17 years admitted to binge drinking in the last 30 days, while many more hide it. Between the ages of 18 and 25, nearly 35% of young adults surveyed binge drank in the last month. Drinking in college is very common, and many recovering alcoholics say their problem started while binge drinking in college.
Shame prevents many people from admitting how much they drink. Those who don’t know they have a problem don’t hide that they drink, but those that do know will hide it until they’re ready to get help. As adults get older, slightly fewer of them binge drink, but the amount they drink increases.
Only 6.1% of the total American population admits to heavy drinking, though young adults between 18 and 25 are more open about doing it. About 1 in 11 young adults admits to binge drinking more than 5 days per month. It’s obvious by the number of people caught for DUIs, especially persistent DUIs, that drinking is a much bigger problem than many are willing to admit. Hospitals track how many people seek help for alcohol-related injuries. Police track arrests that involve alcohol. The WHO tracks diseases and deaths stemming from chronic alcohol usage. It’s easy to see by compiling statistics that there are many alcoholics in the world who won’t admit they have a problem, and alcohol plays a huge part in some of the worst problems facing the world today.
According to The WHO, one out of every 20 deaths worldwide is caused by the harmful use of alcohol, which is more than three times the amount of people who admit to heavy drinking. Five percent of the disease burden in the world is caused by heavy drinking. An estimated 237 million men and 46 million women globally have alcoholism.
Facing Down Shame, Admitting the Problem, and Reaching Out for Help
Shame heavily factors into how long it takes an alcoholic to get help. The Association of Psychological Sciences tells us that lingering shame after getting sober is an indicator of the likelihood of relapse. It’s imperative that sufferers of AUD have a support system that is openly proud of their efforts at obtaining sobriety. Acceptance of one’s past struggles is very helpful. People need to know they’re worthy of connection even if they’re flawed.
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, we want you to know that we’re proud of you for taking steps to identify and admit the problem and seek out our help. We accept you, flaws and all, and we’re going to continue to help you through the process of getting and staying sober.
It’s not easy to beat AUD. When you’re at rock bottom, it might feel like there’s no hope for the future, and that fighting a lifelong battle is too exhausting. Topsail Addiction Treatment is here to fortify you mentally and emotionally and help you rebuild your life. We can give you the tools to rebuild the normalcy and structure in your life. We’ll support you while you get sober so you can get your friends and family back and put your life back together.
You will get better, and you can win this fight. If you’re in Waltham, Massachusetts, call Topsail today to learn about treatment options and where to go from here.