When are you an alcoholic?
Read about the symptoms and signs of being an alcoholic
Get help today
What are the characteristics of an alcoholic?
According to the patient handbook on sundhed.dk, no alcohol consumption is risk-free for your health. Yet many Danes do not comply with the Danish Health Authority’s recommendations for alcohol consumption.
In fact, as many as 17.6% of the population exceed the Health Authority’s low-risk limit for weekly objects, while 6.9% exceed the Health Authority’s high-risk limit.
At the same time, according to Medstat.dk, 2,947,000 daily doses of Antabuse were prescribed in 2017 as treatment for alcohol problems.
Who is an alcoholic?
When it comes to how many individual Danes have problems with alcohol, alcoholics are divided into three categories: heavy consumers of alcohol, people with harmful consumption of alcohol and Danes who are dependent on alcohol. The figures for the three categories are as follows:
- Danes with a heavy alcohol consumption: 860.000
- Danes with harmful alcohol consumption: 585,000
- Danes addicted to alcohol: 140,000
What the people in each category have in common is that they all have an alcohol problem, which either already exists or may develop into alcoholism over time. And every day, it has an impact on the individual with the problem as well as on their family, friends and work relations.
But even though we know the figures for how many people in Denmark have an alcohol problem, the question of when you have a problem with alcohol is still not easy to answer. There is no official definition of what it means to be an alcoholic.
It’s about the impact alcohol has on individuals in their everyday lives. And Danes are very divided about when a person has an alcohol problem. Therefore, it is not easy to say how many people in Denmark are actually alcoholics.
Below are 6 signs that you have a drinking problem. Further down you will also find information on how to help a person with an alcohol problem. Read on to find out how to spot a drinking problem.
6 signs that you are an alcoholic
- You experience a physical or psychological urge to drink alcohol.
- It is difficult to stop after a few drinks, to stop drinking or to reduce your alcohol consumption.
- Symptoms of withdrawal – such as anxiety, restlessness, palpitations and sweating – disappear when you drink alcohol.
- Your alcohol consumption increases steadily and it takes larger amounts of alcohol to feel affected.
- You prioritise your time and actions according to whether you can drink alcohol – for example, when you are invited to a party or other event.
- You drink even if your alcohol consumption is harmful to yourself or someone close to you.
Get effective help for alcohol dependence
Are you wondering if you have a problem with alcohol, or are you a relative of an addict?
At Alfa-Fredensborg you will always get help from a professional alcohol counsellor.
Alcoholism can lead to many different diseases, both physical and psychological, and it has serious social consequences.
Excessive alcohol consumption will lead to alcohol dependence. It will often require professional alcohol help to get well again.
Other signs of being an alcoholic
In addition to the 6 signs mentioned above, there are a wide range of other symptoms and consequences associated with a drinking problem.
The most common physical symptoms and consequences are:
- Difficult to get up in the morning
- Not respecting agreements when it comes to social gatherings
- Have more sick days at work than average
- Does not prioritise her children or family responsibilities as much as before
- Comes into contact with the police or hospital services as a result of his or her alcohol consumption.
The most common emotional symptoms and consequences are:
- Feeling accused and under pressure from those around them
- Have depressive, negative thoughts about themselves or the world around them
- Feeling excluded and disconnected from family and the “normal” life of your friends
- Experiencing a sense of hopelessness that pervades one’s thoughts and emotions
- Often is in conflict with others or is very isolated and resigned.
Do you have any of the above symptoms of being an alcoholic?
If you experience more of these signs and symptoms of being an alcoholic, it may be a good idea to contact us. Maybe your alcohol consumption has turned into alcohol abuse. You can talk to us anonymously and without obligation, and we can help you and your loved ones to make a good plan to get your life back on track.
We’ve also created a test to give you an idea of how high you rank. Be completely honest when filling it in. It is completely anonymous and only a service to you.
Do you drink too much or suspect alcohol abuse?
Complete our alcohol test and see if your alcohol consumption requires treatment.
Abstinence is a sign of alcoholism
When an alcohol problem has developed into an addiction, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Many people with an alcohol problem describe withdrawal as a feeling of something creeping under the skin. It is also common to experience leg shaking or cramping.
At the same time, you experience an uncontrollable urge to drink – and this urge only gets stronger the more you try to stop. When you are trapped by withdrawal, it is therefore very difficult to stop drinking without help.
Once withdrawal has taken over, medical withdrawal treatment can be a prerequisite for even entering treatment for your alcohol problem. Relapse prevention, which is necessary in treatment, requires that you can think reasonably clearly – and you can’t when you’re abstinent.
Once the withdrawal is under control, the treatment deemed best for the individual’s situation can be continued. For example, you can choose to taper off with antabuse – although most doctors will recommend other treatments.
Read also: tapering with antabuse.
How to help an alcoholic?
If you have noticed that someone in your family or social circle is showing signs of having a drinking problem, the best thing you can do is to talk to them about it. It’s not an easy conversation to have, and it takes some preparation to have the difficult conversation.
When you talk, we recommend that you:
- Consider who should be present at the interview and when the interview should take place
- Choosing a time of day when the person with the alcohol problem is not too drunk or abstinent
- Talk to the person with concern in focus rather than anger – for example, using phrases like, “I’m worried about you, and that’s why I want to talk about this.”
- Stay on your own turf – talk to the person in first person language and from your own feelings, thoughts and needs
- Separate alcohol from the person in the conversation – for example, by talking about what alcohol does to your relationship with the person.
Receive free, no-obligation advice
If you need help to have that difficult conversation, the best thing you can do is to contact an addiction centre and talk to a counsellor about how best to help the person. The alcohol problem may be turning into an addiction – or it may have already developed into one.
At Alfa-Fredensborg we offer professional counselling and treatment for problems with alcohol. When you call us on +45 48 40 40 60, you always have the opportunity to have a free consultation with a professional alcohol counsellor. You can also contact us via the contact form to find out more about how we can help you.
You can talk to us anonymously and without obligation, and our counsellors can help you find the right solution to get your life back on track – whether you have alcohol problems yourself or you’re a relative of an addict.
3 frequently asked questions about alcohol:
How much do you have to drink to be an alcoholic?
Being an alcoholic is not only about quantity, but also about frequency. The limits for alcohol are 14 units per week for women and 21 per week for men. If you consume more alcohol than the limit, you are at high risk of developing alcohol dependence.
How many alcoholics are there in Denmark?
Today, it is estimated that about 860,000 Danes have a high consumption of alcohol, with about 140,000 Danes being directly dependent on alcohol. In addition, about 7% of Danes exceed the high-risk limit for alcohol consumption per week.
Why become an alcoholic?
Alcohol abuse will often occur because people get used to consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. The brain thus becomes accustomed to the signalling substances in alcohol, which are highly addictive. In many cases, addiction develops against a background of life crises or other mental challenges.
Success rate for alcoholics
The gender balance of alcoholics at Alfa
- Women 29% 29%
- Men 71% 71%