There is a big difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism, and the treatment requirements for the two distinct problems differ greatly. Take a look at these seven signs of alcoholism, and if you see yourself in three or more, you are likely addicted to alcohol.

People often wonder at the level of their substance use or abuse, and although those people that do wonder have some cause for concern (as people with no problems with use don't think about it) there is a substantial difference between substance abuse and alcoholism; and while abuse may be effectively treated on an outpatient basis, or through a determined and personal effort at change, alcoholism often requires the greater intensity of residential alcohol rehab.

If you see yourself in three or more of the following, you are likely addicted and should consider getting professional treatment.

Are you an alcoholic?

1) You used to get drunk on 6 beers, now it takes 10

2) You get shaky hands when you haven't drank in a while

3) You go out on the night before an important day at work or school intending on only having a couple of drinks, and find yourself wasted at 3 in the morning.

4) You've made a pact to quit drinking for a while, and found you were unable to keep it up.

5) You don’t do as much as you used to as you are very often either getting money for alcohol, drinking, or too hung over to think about much.

6) You used to enjoy early morning weekend activities, but with late night drinking and hangovers, weekend mornings are a total write off.

7) The drinking is making you fat, your boss has noticed your level of use and you don’t feel as healthy, yet you don’t cut down on your drinking.

Yes to 3 out of 7 indicates a big problem

The preceding list was a modification of the American Psychological Association's clinical diagnosis questionnaire on alcohol addiction, and if you answered yes to three or more of those questions, you have a clinical dependency on alcohol.

An addiction to alcohol will not go away on its own, and there is no point in hoping for a miracle. It’s going to take work, you will probably need either professional help or another form of organized support, and the longer you leave the problem before getting treatment or assistance, the harder it becomes and the worse the ultimate prognosis.

There is always hope, and although recovery is never easy, it’s always possible. Have the courage and the commitment to make a change, and do whatever is necessary to better your life before the harms of alcoholism become tragically great.