How do I know if I may have a problem?
- Ask yourself:
- During the last year were you unable to stop drinking or using drugs
once you started?
- During the last year have you failed to do what was normally expected of you because of using drugs or alcohol?
- Have you felt guilt about your use of drugs or alcohol?
- During the last year have you been unable to remember what happened the night before because of drinking or using drugs?
- Have you put yourself in dangerous situations when using drugs or alcohol?
- Have you consumed 5 or more drinks in one sitting on one or more occasions.
If you answered yes to one or more of these, you might want to consider contacting CORE for more information.
Confused about the difference between what is okay and what may be a sign of a problem?
Let's define a few terms then:
Use is the acceptable consumption of alcohol in controlled amounts. It includes:
- Drinking socially on occasion or infrequently
- Drinking in a controlled manner, meaning one drink per hour, three to four drinks maximum
- The drinker's behavior remains largely unchanged during and after drinking
- There are no negative academic, social, legal or health consequences to drinking
- Alcohol is used merely to loosen social inhibitions in an appropriate fashion
Drug use, even in controlled amounts, is illegal and can result in a wide range of difficulties. Drug use may include “street drugs”, such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc., as well as prescription drugs not taken as prescribed by a medical professional.
Misuse is using alcohol and drugs in a manner that may be detrimental but not necessarily beyond your control:
- You begin to drink and/or use drugs mostly on the weekends and begin to plan your weekend recreational time around the drinking of alcohol.
- You begin to drink and/or use drugs excessively or you become intoxicated on repeated occasions.
- Your social behavior becomes unreasonable or inappropriate while drinking.
- You begin to experience negative social, legal, academic or health consequences begin to surface after drinking and/or using drugs.
- You begin to see alcohol and/or drugs as "necessary" in order to have a "good time."
- Activities that do not include alcohol and/or drugs are seen increasingly as "boring."
Abuse is when the consumption is beyond your control:
- You begin to binge drink.
- You become intoxicated regularly and suffer occasional blackouts or memory losses.
- Negative social, legal, academic and/or health consequences increase in frequency or severity.
- You use alcohol or other intoxicating substances at all social events and increasingly, during private times alone as well.
- You fear being sober or without access to alcohol or drugs.
Dependency indicates that you cannot function without the feelings of intoxication:
- You drink or usedrugs simply to feel "normal" rather than attain a "buzz"
- You begin or continue to deny that problems with alcohol and/or drugs exist in spite of accumulating evidence to the contrary. Denial in the advanced stages can reach a point of absurdity.
- You may increasingly become hostile or sarcastic towards others who suggest cutting back or abstaining from alcohol and/or drugs.
- You feel increasingly desperate when deprived of alcohol and/or drugs for any length of time, especially when under stress.
- Medical, legal, occupational and family problems accumulate more quickly and are more stressful.
- Blackouts happen more often and last longer
- You experiences "the shakes" when you're without alcohol or drugs for any length of time; increasingly at risk of experiencing the "D.T.'s" (delerium tremons or mini seizures )
Tolerance: either (1) a need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect; or (2) a markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.
Withdrawal: either (1) the characteristic withdrawal syndrome for the substance; or (2) the same (or closely related) substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
A Standard Drink: a shot of liquor, a glass of wine, or a can of beer (1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits, 5 ounces, of table wine, and 12 ounces of beer).
Alcohol Intoxication: maladaptive behaviors or psychological changes that result from recent alcohol consumption. Changes include slurred speech, loss of coordination, unsteady walking or running, impairment of attention or memory or coma.
Alcohol Withdrawal: the presence of certain symptoms after stopping or reducing heavy and prolonged alcohol use. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may develop within a few hours to a few days after stopping or reducing the use and symptoms cause significant physical and emotional distress in social, work, or other important areas of functioning. Symptoms of withdrawal include increased hand tremor, sweating or increased pulse rate, nausea vomiting, insomnia, temporary hallucinations or illusions, anxiety, psycho motor agitation and grand mal
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC): the percentage of alcohol present in the blood stream. The BAC is usually what is measured by police officers to determine legal intoxication. It can be measured directly from a blood sample or a breath sample collected from a breathalyzer.
Moderate Drinking: No more than one drink a day for women and nor more than two drinks a day for men.
Binge Drinking: drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS): the existence of certain physical characteristics of children whose mothers drank during pregnancy, (smaller heads, deformed facial features).