Are DUIs a Sign of Alcohol Addiction?

Are DUIs a Sign of Alcohol Addiction?

If you were recently arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), you might be wondering about the role alcohol plays in your life. You might have just had a bad night and made a mistake. However, your DUI could be a sign of alcohol addiction. Generally, alcohol addiction will not be identified by a single behavior. You will likely have a pattern of behaviors or multiple signs of alcohol addiction. Either way, you need to take your DUI seriously. As you go through a DUI education program, you should keep in mind that you most likely do not have as much control over your drinking as you think.

Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction is also referred to as alcohol use disorder (AUD). According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): “Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.”

If this is your first DUI, you could be in the early stages of developing an addiction. However, if this is a repeat offense, you might have an addiction, as you’ve already faced these consequences yet continued to drink anyway.

According to MedlinePlus, if you answer “yes” to two or more of these questions regarding your drinking behavior in the last 12 months, you might have an addiction to alcohol or AUD:

  • Have you ever drank more than you intended or for longer than you wanted?
  • Attempted to cut back or quit drinking but could not do so?
  • Spent a lot of your free time drinking or recovering from the effects of alcohol?
  • Experienced cravings, urges, or the strong need to have a drink?
  • Does drinking or recovering from a night of heavy alcohol use interfere with your everyday life?
  • Continue to drink, despite any problems that it causes with your family and friends?
  • Given up on any of your hobbies or interests in order to drink?
  • Engaged in dangerous or reckless behaviors while under the influence? (examples include unsafe sex and driving while drunk)
  • Kept drinking even though alcohol was making underlying mental or physical health issues worse?
  • Find yourself drinking more and more to feel the effects of alcohol? (developing a high tolerance to alcohol)
  • Have you ever experienced withdrawal symptoms after you stop drinking? These symptoms include shaking, trouble sleeping, irritability, anxiety, depression, profuse sweating, and nausea. Severe withdrawal symptoms can include fever, hallucinations, and seizures.

If you or a loved one have an addiction to alcohol, they will most likely answer “yes” to many of these questions. However, your DUI might be a sign that you abuse alcohol or are at risk of developing an addiction if you continue to drink. 

How Does a DUI Impact Your Life?

Beyond the legal issues associated with being arrested, a DUI can impact your life in multiple ways. In addition to the costs of paying fines or going to jail for repeat offenses, a DUI can cause problems like:

  • Having a criminal record:
    • Getting arrested for a DUI can go on your criminal record, which can cause issues when seeking employment in some fields.
    • While some states offer programs to clear your criminal history, you will need to take safe driving courses and possibly attend an alcohol rehab program or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
    • A DUI education program can help you manage your behavior and learn ways to prevent drinking and driving in the future.
  • Financial and employment problems:
    • You will need to pay for any fines associated with your DUI, along with any legal fees, like court costs and paying for a lawyer if you choose to get one.
    • You will be held financially responsible if you damaged property or got into an accident while under the influence.
    • A DUI might cause issues with your current job. You might lose your driver’s license, which means you will need to get rides to work or take public transportation.
    • If your job requires driving, you might be let go or temporarily suspended if you do not have a current license.
  • Issues with your family and friends:
    • Getting a DUI might mean that you need to rely on others for transportation until you get your license back.
    • You might put additional stress on your loved ones if they need to re-arrange their schedules to take you to work, your DUI education program, court, probation meetings, etc.
    • If you get fired or are unable to work because of your DUI, you might add a burden to your family members if they depend on you financially.

If you get a DUI, you can still get your life back in order. By getting alcohol treatment and attending a DUI education program, you can prevent yourself from getting into more trouble from drinking and get a handle on the underlying issues that are causing your addiction to alcohol.

DUI Education Program in Denver

If you or a loved one were recently arrested for their first DUI or have repeated offenses on their record, our DUI education program can help you get your behavior under control. A DUI can be a sign that you have a problem with drinking or alcohol addiction. Continuum Recovery Center of Colorado is here to help you with alcohol treatment and educational programs to prevent DUIs. Call us or visit our admissions page to enroll today.