Whether you are an occasional drinker, binge-drinker, or alcoholic, you will eventually experience one or all of the signs associated with alcoholism. The signs of alcoholism are clear in alcoholics. However, even if you are not an alcoholic drinker, there is a high chance you will display symptoms of alcohol abuse.
Alcohol has long been considered one of the most common substances of abuse. Dependence can easily form with the consumption or over-consumption of alcohol and there is a chance the body will become affected by alcohol use. Determining if you or someone you know is suffering from alcoholism can be easy if you know what you’re looking for. Here are 10 of the most commons signs of alcoholism or alcohol abuse.
1. Drinking More Than Usual
When you are suffering from alcoholism, you drink a lot more than the average person. However, drinking more than usual is one of the beginning signs of alcoholism. The chances of developing alcoholism are much higher for those predisposed to addiction but anyone can get caught in the grips of alcoholism.
Alcoholic drinkers begin as occasional or even binge-drinkers. In the beginning stages of alcoholism, you might not need much to get to the desired point of intoxication. As time passes and tolerance is developed, you will need more to achieve the effects of alcohol.
2. You Hide Your Drinking
If you find yourself hiding your alcohol use, there is usually guilt or shame tied to the action. Hiding alcohol use can be tricky, especially given the obvious symptoms associated with intoxication.
If you are aware of your unhealthy drinking habits, this may not apply to you. Denial is a common issue among people who are beginning to have a problem with alcohol or have had a problem for an extended period of time. If you are in denial, you might feel the need to hide or lie about your alcohol consumption to make it look like less of an issue than it actually is. It can be difficult spotting alcohol abuse in someone hiding or lying about it but it is possible. Over time, alcoholism will get the best of them and they will have no choice but to come forward. Also, they might slip up due to the impact alcohol has on the brain and body.
Hiding alcohol use can lead to more severe consequences so it’s important to address the issue, even if the signs of alcoholism are not laid out in front of you.
3. You Experience Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol consumption, over time, will lead to an increase of tolerance and dependence on alcohol. Alcohol symptoms arise when you have been drinking for a long period of time. Although a “hangover” is one of the first signs of withdrawal, they do get much worse and more dangerous.
Withdrawal is one of the most obvious signs of alcoholism. Withdrawal occurs when you have a dependence on alcohol. Dependence is a slow progression but it does happen more commonly than you might believe. There is no evidence showing that everyone who experiences hangovers or a heightened tolerance for alcohol develops alcoholism. However, their chances of displaying other signs of alcoholism and addiction to alcohol are increased.
4. Blacking Out Frequently
Blackouts symptoms are along the same lines of alcohol poisoning. If you experience a blackout everytime you drink, it could be dangerous and sometimes fatal. Blacking out from alcohol usually means that you have had too much to drink and the body can’t handle it, resulting in the loss of control and cognitive abilities.
A common sign of alcoholism is blacking out with the intention to blackout. Of course, accidents happen and you might find yourself drinking on an empty stomach or not keeping track of the amount of alcohol you’re consuming. However, blacking out regularly on purpose is a form of alcohol abuse.
5. Experiencing Physical or Mental Health Issues
Physical, mental, and emotional side effects of alcohol use range from acute to severe. These are considered the symptoms of long and short-term alcohol use. Alcohol affects the brain and body in ways that can be irreversible if they go untreated.
Physical Signs of Alcoholism
Alcoholism negatively affects the physical aspect in individuals in a number of ways. Some physical signs of alcoholism include:
- Increased tolerance
- Problems with the liver, heart, and brain
- Loss of immune system strength
- Weight Fluctuation
- Alcohol poisoning
- Impaired balance
- Blacking out
Emotional and Mental Signs of Alcoholism
Most of the emotional and mental symptoms of alcoholism will affect an individual’s actions. Since alcohol severely affects a person’s ability to rationally make decisions, it can lead to a serious of negative consequences. Mental and emotional signs of alcoholism consist of:
- Inability to make decisions
- Impaired cognitive and behavioral functions
- Slowed or slurred speech
- Fogged thinking
- Cloudy judgment
- Memory Lapses
- Delayed reaction times
6. Putting Yourself In Risky Situations
One of the sure signs of alcoholism includes drinking in cases where you shouldn’t be. This can include drinking in the morning before work. An alcoholic will need to drink in order to function properly. If you find yourself needing a drink before performing basic tasks, there’s a chance you are in the grips of alcoholism.
Not only is this a risky issue, this can also cost you things like your job and your sanity. A number of consequences will arise if you continue to put yourself at risk in order to drink. Also, alcoholism can prevent you from living a normal life and it can permanently alter your brain’s functions. As the disease of alcoholism progresses, the risk for serious complications and consequences increases.
7. Neglecting Responsibilities
As with any addiction, alcoholism completely strips you of any desires or hobbies you once held. It also prevents you from living to your full potential or taking care of your responsibilities. Over time, your entire world begins to revolve completely around the drink, neglecting any other duties. Disregard for responsibilities is one of the common signs of alcoholism and it is easily recognizable. Family members and close friends will be the first to take notice of these changes.
8. Relationship Issues Arise From Your Drinking
Problems arising in relationships is similar to neglecting responsibilities. It is the result of the constant action of choosing alcohol over your education, work, family, or friends. If you are in denial of your alcohol abuse or you fail to recognize you’re displaying signs of alcoholism, it can cause conflict with someone who sees the problem.
Alcoholics can sometimes become violent or aggressive, resulting in conflict and negative energy within the family dynamic. When you or someone you know openly displays the desire for alcohol more than the desire for companionship it can become difficult to remain in contact with them.
Signs of alcoholism do consist of alcohol becoming the one and only priority in the alcoholics life. This is very obvious, especially if an alcoholic has been drinking for a long period of time. At the beginning of their alcohol abuse, it might not be so obvious, especially if they are able to function while intoxicated.
9. Drinking to Cope or Feel Normal
Usually, addiction or alcoholism stems from underlying issues, such as depression or anxiety. If you feel inadequate or unable to cope with stressful situations and decide to drink, there might be a problem. If you drink to feel better about yourself or an outside issue, you are displaying signs of alcoholism. Although it may not be apparent because there is a skewed view of drinking alcohol when you’re upset or going through it but this is something to be very aware of.
Drinking to feel normal is a sign of complete dependence. If you wake up feeling shaky or unable to function without alcohol, you are more than likely struggling with alcoholism. These symptoms reveal themselves after a period of time, but it is possible to catch the beginning stages of alcoholism if you or someone you know drinks over every situation that doesn’t go as planned.
10. Once You Have One Drink, You Can’t Stop
They say in 12-step meetings, “One is too many and a thousand is never enough.” An alcoholic can relate to this, especially if they tried to stop on their own but can’t. The first drink after a time of abstinence will lead to many more. In the beginning stages of alcoholism, it might seem harmless to have one too many drinks, however, after time it will lead to a plethora of negative effects. You may or may not recognize that you need to stop but deciding to quit, even if you’re unsuccessful, is a step in the right direction.
If after many failed attempts to quit drinking alcoholically, you might need additional help.
Where Can I Get Help?
Although the signs of alcoholism may seem obvious, sometimes they are hard to detect, especially in the beginning. If you suspect you might have a problem or someone you know has a problem with alcohol, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The long-term effects of alcoholism can be severe and life-threatening. Waiting until major health complications arise can be too late. If you are unsure about where to get help, California Highlands Addiction Treatment Center can help. Our trained professional staff is available 24-7 at (888)969-8755 to assist you with any questions or concerns about getting help. We treat addiction and alcoholism with the most effective methods available today. Don’t wait until it’s too late, get help now!