A casual drink of one or two bottles with friends is not something to fret about. However, it is important to note that alcohol is addictive, and it is fairly easy for people to get addicted to it. There are different indicative signs to help identify probable alcohol abuse. Some people hide their drinking making it difficult for people to interpose and help their loved one. Here are 11 warning signs of alcohol addiction that you can look up when trying to figure out if your loved one has suffered from alcohol abuse and help them undergo an alcoholism treatment program.
1. Drinking Daily
A tell-tale sign of alcohol addiction is consuming alcohol daily. The need to drink alcohol once a day is not normal. Alcoholics find a drink first thing in the morning or in the middle of the day, before eating or after eating. They usually rationalize the drink as an appetizer to make them eat better. Despite knowing the dangers of alcohol, they never stop drinking by disregarding the risks, which is a clear-cut sign that alcohol has become one’s priority over health. Like any drug, alcohol makes the alcoholic essentially feel better.
Thus, they drink in order to fight off stress, depression, or any emotion that bothers them. Alcohol providestemporary relief against negative feeling which is becoming a risky habit in the long run because one becomes dependent on it and uses it as emotional support. This is also precisely why people undergoing an alcoholism treatment program usually feel lonely and alienated as feel like they’ve lost their best friend.
2. Relationships Troubles
Another warning sign of alcohol addiction is troubles with relations whether with one’s spouse, family, children, and concerned friends. Alcohol addiction can damage relationships in life that can lead to divorce or marriage, alienation from family members and isolation as the alcoholic is unable to hold on to relationships. Since people close to you are the first ones to recognize your alcohol addiction, they are also the first one who will feel how you are being controlled by alcohol and failing to do your part in maintaining good relationships.
A corollary to this, an alcoholic person starts to hang out with a different crowd, who are most likely heavy drinkers themselves, whom they prefer to go with as they end up getting drunk together. In any substance abuse therapy like an alcoholism treatment program, one of the major changes that the program initiates are changing one’s circle of friends who are the bad influence on the patient.
3. High alcohol Tolerance
Tolerance is a major indication of alcohol addiction. Remember that you only drink one or two drinks and you already feel drunk. When you become addicted to alcohol, you tend to drink more than you used in order to reach that level of drunkenness. Drinking more than you use to, means that your body has adopted consistent exposure to alcohol. Moreover, you might also require a greater dose of alcohol to stay in your system in order to feel good. And because of this, you will find it difficult to cut back and becomes trapped for the need to drink more and more each day in order to reach the alcohol your body needs.
4. Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal pertains to your body reaction when you lack alcohol. Alcoholic usually feel prickly, fatigue, depressed, woozy or uneasy when they don’t have a drink, which is a basic withdrawal symptom. When they have no alcohol in their bodies, alcoholics experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, palpitations, convulsions, fretfulness, restlessness, and bewilderment. Alcoholism treatment program especially includes detoxification management for delirium tremens, which is experienced by veteran alcoholics. This included deep sleep, irrational fear, seizures, abrupt mood swings, agitation, and distorted thinking.
5. Drinking To “Feel Normal”
The common excuse for substance addiction among drug addicts and alcoholics is to make them feel normal. Substance abuse works like a vicious circle in which the patient experience bad feelings as described in the withdrawal symptoms which forces one to drink or take alcohol to feel normal or to deal with unpleasant withdrawal problems. Thus, a person with alcohol problems usually engages in drinking in order to cope with problems in order to live normally at least within 24 hours as that’s how long does alcohol stay in your system.
The alcoholic will drink on his own, during working hours to remove stress, before attending a major event or celebration to relax or calm them. If you feel the urge to drink as a matter of the need to feel normal, then you might consider an alcoholism treatment program because you are suffering from alcohol addiction.
6. Drinking in Dangerous Situations.
People with drinking problems would always find themselves in need of a drink regardless of any situation and including dangerous conditions. The strong urge to drink overpowers moral, legal or social constraints. For instance, an alcoholic will drink before attending a religious mass or an event where one needs to be sober like a business meeting or meeting the family or parents, among others. An alcoholic will have a drink even if they are driving or in any other such activity where drinking is prohibited. Believing that alcohol only stays in your system particularly in the blood for just 6 hours, they feel that they can get away with any alcohol test especially because they have high alcohol tolerance.
An alcoholic will also drink alcohol in public places, in gatherings and other occasions i.e. picnics, a walk in the park, where activities do not require drinking. Finally, an alcoholic who will potentially suffer from liver problems will continue to drink even against the doctor’s prescription. In all of these cases, an alcoholic simply does not care about the serious consequences that one will face in drinking despite risking one’s life.
8. Experiencing “Blackouts”
A blackout pertains to memory loss because of substance abuse including alcoholism. Alcohol mainly restricts with the capacity of a person to form long–term memories, particularly of events and things that they do when under the influence of alcohol. Because of that, alcoholics may not be able to remember or recall any foolish or stupid act that they have done which makes them appear like they no remorse or regret for doing such things. Truth is, alcoholics actually suffer from blackouts or memory loss that’s why they seem to act innocent or ignorant to mistakes that they have committed against people when they are under the influence.
This is especially dangerous especially for women who may get involved in sexual intercourse with strangers and may get pregnant without them not knowing who got them pregnant. While getting blacked out after excessive drinking is normal, this becomes a sign of alcoholism when a person regularly drinks and regularly passes out not knowing what they have done usually something bad.
9. Negligence of Duties and Responsibilities.
A drunkard person not only tends to forget what mistakes one has done but also forgets and neglects one’s moral and social responsibilities. This included doing regular tasks like household chores which make their place a mess. This may also include one’s own regular hygiene making an alcoholic dirty, filthy, and smelly. And while they may be aware of these flaws, they are too preoccupied with their drinking that’s why they care less. Negligence of one’s responsibilities also occurs in work which causes their job as they get fired. It may also cause them to forget their moral responsibilities. A drunken parent, for instance, tends to prioritize their self-interest of finding a drink then taking care of children which makes them appear selfish and self-centered.
10. Inability to Quit.
When it comes to addiction, quitting becomes very difficult. Not only because of the intense craving that one experiences when lacking alcohol but because of the dependence of the person on alcohol to feel normal or good. The experience can overwhelm and overpower those alcoholics may engage in illegal means and other activities that can hurt themselves just to satisfy the craving or thirst for alcohol. When the withdrawal symptoms start to kick in, the yearning becomes stronger and can cause a person to get back into addiction.
Alcoholism treatment programs are aware that these cravings for alcohol are the toughest when starting recovery. People under therapeutic programs are often caught between the pressure of drinking and quitting. Hence, a support system, provided by peers, counselors, and family is important in providing a patient to pursue the program and get alcohol out of their system.
11. Lying or Hiding one’s drinking.
Most often than not, people who are suffering from alcohol addiction have family and friends who are bugging them to quit or enter an alcoholism treatment program. In most instances, alcoholics are also on a denial that they are alcoholics. The reason that they have full control of themselves and are just like everybody else who enjoy drinking alcohol every now and then. But in order to prevent attention or for family and friends to notice one’s bad habit and avoid nagging or unsolicited advice, they hide or lie about drinking alcohol. However, they hide their drinking, they will, however, be discovered drunk because of alcohol stay in their system. An alcoholic would smell like alcohol because alcohol stays in one’s breath up to 24 hours.
While most of the symptoms are perceptible others may be harder to see and recognize. Moreover, the gravity of alcohol abuse also influences the alcoholic symptoms a person displays.
Yvonne DelZenero is a Clinical Psychologist in the Denver-metro area. She practices at Comprehensive Pain Specialists providing therapy and assessments for adolescents and adults. Her specialties include helping people cope with chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder from car accidents. She also conducts neuropsychological, ADHD, and learning disorder assessments.