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What, exactly, makes someone an alcoholic?

On Behalf of | Sep 24, 2021 | DUI

Someone with an alcohol use disorder — the term alcoholic is not as common as it once was — may be at greater risk of getting a DUI. They frequently use alcohol, so there is the potential for impairment much of the time that they drive. 

However, many people may have this disorder without realizing it. So what is it that means someone is an alcoholic? 

Physical need and sustained desire 

The term alcoholic is tricky to define, and it’s broader than many people assume. They imagine someone who is constantly drinking or who has a disease due to the level of drinking they engage in. But it may not always look that way. 

One way that experts have defined it is when someone has the physical need to drink or the strong desire to drink, even when those drinking habits are having a “negative impact on their life.”

For instance, someone could be diagnosed with liver disease. The doctor tells them that drinking is just going to make it worse, but they continue to do it anyway. Or, someone could show up to work while still under the influence from the night before and lose their job. Rather than changing their drinking habits, though, they continue to drink and struggle to find a new job. 

Getting a DUI

Another example could be someone who gets a DUI and continues to drink anyway, or who continues to drink and drive. At this point, they may be addicted and need medical treatment far more than fines and jail time. That’s why it’s so important for them to know all of their options when facing charges.