Is Drunk Driving a Sign of Addiction?
Not every person who gets behind the wheel intoxicated has an addiction. However, drunk driving is a strong indication that a person may need help with substance abuse disorder, especially if it happens more than once.
Recognize the Risks of Drunk Driving
In the U.S., driving under the influence (DUI) is illegal. A DUI occurs when a person’s blood alcohol content is at 0.08% or higher. At that point, brain function has slowed, making it difficult to operate a vehicle safely. It doesn’t take many drinks to reach this level, especially for smaller people. If you are intoxicated – or in any way unable to make good decisions, control movements, or react to situations – getting behind the wheel puts other people at risk.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that every day, about 28 people in the U.S. die as a result of a vehicle crash involving drunk driving. In 2019, 10,142 people died due to drunk driving. The risk is real.
Does One DUI Mean a Person Needs Substance Use Treatment?
Sometimes a DUI is a one-time lapse in judgment that the person learns from and never repeats. In other cases, a DUI is a sign pointing to a substance use disorder. If you or a loved one have been cited for a DUI, how do you know if you might need treatment for addiction? Look for these signs.
- You have more than one DUI.
- Someone continues to drive after drinking. You know you shouldn’t, but you do it anyway, and often.
- You are drinking more than you used to. This means you have developed tolerance, a condition in which the body and brain become used to the amount being consumed and require more to get the same effect.
- You drink often, more than once a week.
- Someone drinks in isolation. This is probably because you are aware you have a problem and prefer that others don’t see how much you consume.
- You try to hide your drinking, perhaps by storing bottles of drinks in strange places.
A person with a need for addiction treatment has made alcohol a part of multiple areas of their lives. If you’ve had more than one DUI, it may be time to learn more about substance use disorders and how to get treatment.
Understanding Drug Addiction & Dependence
Drug and alcohol addiction puts a person at higher risk for engaging in reckless behavior. That may include getting behind the wheel of a car while they are intoxicated. Some people may insist they are “fine” and can drive. They may even get defensive if asked to give up their keys because they are in denial of their substance use problem.
Look at the DUI as a warning sign. It could mean you or your loved one needs help soon. Other signs of addiction include using often, struggling with relationships, having difficulties at work, being unable to take care of responsibilities, and withdrawing from family, friends, and activities you used to enjoy.
We are Here to Help
Sometimes, a person with an addiction is able to hide many of their symptoms, making it harder to discern the truth. But even someone who is high-functioning will eventually feel the consequences of their addiction; the sooner they seek treatment, the better.
If you have any concerns about your own or a loved one’s substance use, call our drug and alcohol treatment program in Lafayette, LA, and speak to an admissions counselor. We can help you know what level of treatment you might need and help you find the path to a healthier, more satisfying life in recovery.
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