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Am I an Alcoholic or Have OCD?

by Imogene
(Dallas, TX, USA)

I have been drinking 3 drinks every night for the past 30 years. I do not have my first drink until after 8pm and feel that I must have 3 drinks. If I am at a non-drinking function, I feel anxious.

I am part American Indian so there is a history of alcoholism in my family. My sister is a very heavy drinker and my son is in rehab now. I am a 61 year old female and I work out every day, both cardio and weights.

I stopped smoking 6 years ago and I am in very good health. My desire is to be able to enjoy functions with family and friends without those anxious feelings.


Hi Imogene

3 drinks every evening doesn't necessarily make you alcoholic. The key test for alcoholism is about loss of control and dependence. The fact that you can stop after 3 drinks, tells me you can control your drinking, whereas once an alcoholic starts drinking they literally can't stop.

To me it sounds like you may suffer from social anxiety disorder, something I do too. That's something entirely different from OCD. A lot of people suffer from it actually, so it's not unusual at all. Google the term and I'm sure you'll find lots of helpful info on the subject.

There are treatments available for social anxiety disorder, that include medications and cognitive behavioral therapy. Personally what has helped me is meditation, which is more of a long-term thing, and occasionally using natural herbs like kava or sceletium.

I think the main thing is that you go on and get a proper medical opinion. I would suggest a good counselor or therapist to begin with and take it from there.

But unless your drinking is starting to create severe negative consequences for you, it doesn't seem like alcoholism is a problem for you. Not yet anyway, but do watch out for it because alcoholism is progressive and moves through a number of alcoholism stages. With your family history it does place you more at risk.

Hope that helps. Best of Luck.

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Is Alcohol Causing Problems?
by: C-P

Is alcohol causing problems or damage in your life, whether it be to your relationships, work, how you feel about yourself? If it is then you may have a problem, but if not then you should be fine. Using alcohol to mask certain anxieties is fairly common, but so long as you still have control over your drinking, means there doesn't seem to be a major problem (at least not yet anyway). I think you should talk to someone about the underlying anxiety - because there are ways to treat it, and see if that doesn't help you. But keep an eye on your drinking because with alcoholism being progressive, it can suddenly spiral out of control.

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