When Is The Right Time For Alcoholism Treatment?

It is a question often asked. From the guy in college who partied too hard, to the husband who drinks a six-pack every night: when does drinking alcohol become alcohol abuse, and when does that become an addiction that requires alcoholism treatment? Heavy drinking is defined by the CDC as the consumption of more than two drinks per day for men, and more than one drink per day for women. Alcoholism is characterized as a pattern of drinking that affects an individual's health, relationships, or ability to work. Alcohol dependence is recognizable from four main characteristics:
  • Craving: the uncontrollable urge to drink.
  • A loss of control: Once drinking has begun, there is an inability to cease drinking.
  • Physical dependence: If a person stops drinking, the person will experience withdrawal symptoms.
  • Tolerance: The need to drink more and more alcohol to achieve the desired effect.

Asking For Addiction Treatment

The best time to seek professional help for addiction treatment is prior to becoming addicted to substances. Sometimes, this will involve determining how to cut back on your intake before it becomes a serious problem. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends: writing down the reasons to stop drinking, setting a drinking goal, and keeping a drinking diary. If you can't stop drinking or you are unable to meet your goal to slow down your drinking, the drinking diary will be a useful tool to bring with you to an appointment with an addiction medicine specialist.

Addiction Treatment Services Are The Best Option

When your drinking habit invites criticism from others, or it begins to affect your work, your school, or relationships with friends and family, it is time to seek the professional help of an addiction medicine specialist and assess how alcohol is affecting your life. The first step to getting effective addiction treatment services is to seek the help of a professional: talk to your family doctor or with a psychologist, call a clinic hotline or visit a rehabilitation clinic, or contact self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.