Most people who have a problem with alcohol abuse or alcoholism don’t realize that they do. In fact, research suggests that only 4 percent of the Americans who have drug or alcohol addiction will admit to it. There are some simple ways to determine whether you should seek additional help for substance abuse.
First of all, there is a difference between abuse and addiction. People who abuse drugs and alcohol are able to quit on their own for at least 72 hours. However, they keep coming back to drinking or using, regardless of the problems these things create in their lives. People who suffer from addiction have passed up the abuse stage and are physically dependent on drugs or alcohol. They go through withdrawal symptoms when they don’t drink or use for a period of time.
If you have continued using drugs and alcohol despite suffering negative consequences associated with these things, you probably have a substance abuse problem. People will typically stop engaging in behaviors that create problems for them, but addiction causes individuals to continue their habit in the face of social and relationship problems, failing in school or at work, getting into legal trouble, and many other negative consequences in life.
Both abuse and addiction are marked by an increased tolerance level for the substance. This means that it takes more and more drugs or alcohol for you to feel the same effects.
If friends or family members have expressed concern about your drug and alcohol abuse, they are probably right. When the situation is bad enough for other people to take notice it’s usually time to seek addiction treatment.
If these statements apply to you, a doctor, counselor, or addiction specialist can provide a more thorough evaluation to determine if you need help from a rehab facility or other type of addiction treatment program.