How can you tell if someone’s casual or social drinking is becoming a problem? Unfortunately, it isn’t always crystal clear. However, some behaviors may indicate a person is developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and in one of the stages of alcoholism. Here are eight common signs of alcohol addiction.
Frequent Excessive Drinking
Drinking heavily is one of the most obvious signs of a problem with alcohol. While it is true that a person could consume a large amount of alcohol at one time and not be addicted, habitually overindulging or binge drinking is an issue. Keep track of how often you or a loved one drinks more than normal and the reason behind this overconsumption.
Alcohol lowers a person’s inhibitions, making them more likely to engage in risky activities, such as driving under the influence or leaving with strangers. Ignoring risks and acting out of the ordinary are red flags and can mark the beginning of a descent into alcoholism.
Lies and Denial
Lying or downplaying drinking is a sign of denial, which may be rooted in a sense of shame or guilt about alcohol use. Drinking alone or in secret, hiding bottles or glasses, and constant excuses for their symptoms are also evidence of a problem.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
When a person with an alcohol addiction or dependency stops drinking, they often experience withdrawal. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be both physical and emotional. These can include anxiety, fatigue, nausea, sweating, nightmares, lack of focus, body tremors, mood swings, and depression.
Alcohol withdrawal is extremely dangerous and could lead to hospitalization or even death if not monitored by a professional. If you or someone you know are experiencing these symptoms, seek help immediately.
Decreased inhibitions and increased risk mean a greater chance of a run-in with authorities. A person who cannot control their drinking may find themselves with charges such as driving under the influence (DUI), public intoxication, trespassing, or even assault. While these legal issues do not always mean a person is an alcoholic, it does indicate drinking irresponsibly and worth a conversation or reflection on the relationship with alcohol.
Failure to Meet Responsibilities
As alcohol abuse begins to take hold of someone’s life, they lose control of their daily responsibilities. The willpower to go to work or pick up their kid from school begins to disappear. Excuses and lies come into place and ultimately lead to loss. Loss of one’s job, home, and even family.
Isolation or Declining Relationships
Cutting off interaction with friends and family makes it easier to hide a problem. The effects alcohol has on a person’s emotions can also cause them to push loved ones away. If a friend has become withdrawn, reach out, especially if you suspect they may have an issue with alcohol. Isolation is one of the most dangerous symptoms of alcoholism due to the severe effects alcohol has on the body.
Blackouts or Short-term Memory Loss
After a night of drinking, have you had to remind your friend or loved one about the events of the evening because they “forgot”? Memory loss after heavy drinking, or a blackout, is common among binge drinkers. Frequent blackouts are very unhealthy and could also indicate alcohol abuse. Unexplained injuries can also be a sign of blackouts.
Alcohol addiction is a dangerous disease and can be deadly if untreated. If you are concerned about your or a loved one’s drinking, Bradford is here to help and can help your loved one get treatment. Call 888-SOBER-40 (888-762-3740) or Live Chat with a Recovery Advisor 24/7.