A casual drink with friends is not something to fret about. Alcohol is addictive, and it is relatively easy for people to get addicted to it. There are different signs of alcoholism to help identify probable alcohol abuse. Some people hide their drinking, making it difficult for people to interpose and help their loved ones. Here are 11 warning signs of alcoholism:
1. Drinking Daily Is One of the Signs of Alcoholism
A tell-tale sign of alcohol addiction is consuming alcohol daily—the need to drink alcohol once a day is not typical. Alcoholics find a drink first thing in the morning or 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, which is a clear-cut sign that alcohol has become one’s priority over health. Like any drug, alcohol makes the alcoholic mostly feel better.
Thus, they drink to fight off stress, depression, or any emotion that bothers them. Alcohol provides temporary relief against negative feelings, 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 they 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 and can lead to divorce, 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 ones who will feel how you are being controlled by alcohol and failing to do your part in maintaining good relationships.
An alcoholic person starts to hang out with a different crowd, who are heavy drinkers themselves. They prefer getting drunk together. However, in rehab, one of the significant changes that the program initiates is changing one’s circle of friends who are a bad influence on the patient.
3. High alcohol Tolerance
Tolerance is a major indication of alcohol addiction. 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 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 to feel good. And because of this, you will find it difficult to cut back and become trapped for the need to drink more and more each day to reach the alcohol your body needs.
4. Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal is your body’s reaction to the lack of alcohol. Alcoholic usually feels 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”
One of the signs of alcoholism and addiction is that drug addicts and alcoholics abuse substances 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 to cope with problems 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 to feel normal, then you might consider an alcoholism treatment program because you are suffering from alcohol addiction.
6. Drinking in Dangerous Situations
One of the signs of alcoholism is drinking regardless of the 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. 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 the capacity of a person to form long–term memories, particularly events and things that they do when under the influence of alcohol.
So, alcoholics may not be able to remember or recall any foolish or stupid act that they have done. This makes them appear like they no remorse or regret for doing such things. The truth is, alcoholics, 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. Blackouts are a sign of alcoholism. When a person regularly drinks and regularly passes out not knowing what they have done, usually something bad.
9. Neglecting 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. This may also include one’s 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 at work, which causes their job as they get fired. It may also cause them to forget their moral obligations. A drunken parent, for instance, tends to prioritize their self-interest in 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 because it makes them feel normal. The experience can overwhelm alcoholics. They 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. This 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 feel the pressure of drinking and quitting. Hence, a support system provided by peers, counselors, and family is essential in delivering a patient to pursue the program and get alcohol out of their system.
11. Lying About or Hiding One’s Drinking Is One of Signs of Alcoholism
People who are suffering from alcohol addiction have family and friends who are bugging them to quit. In most instances, alcoholics are also on a denial that they are alcoholics.
They hide or lie about drinking alcohol out of shame and guilt. However, they hide their drinking. An alcoholic would smell like alcohol because alcohol stays in one’s breath for up to 24 hours.
While most signs of alcoholism are perceptible, others may be harder to see and recognize. Moreover, the gravity of alcohol abuse also influences the alcoholic symptoms a person displays. If you’re looking for online support, WeAreMore is a great, loving community to get the support you need.
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.