In many ways, drinking is a part of American culture. People frequent bars or clubs with their friends, secondary holidays have turned into drinking holidays, and alcohol is readily available at most places you go. While this social drinking may seem mostly harmless if you are careful, as a Banyan Palm Springs rehab, we know better. Social drinking can be a slippery slope to an alcohol abuse disorder. If you suspect that a loved one is slipping or you’re starting to question your drinking habits, below are alcoholism warning signs to look out for.
What Is Alcoholism?
Also referred to as alcohol use disorder, alcoholism is the most severe form of alcohol abuse and is marked by the inability to control one’s alcohol consumption. People struggling with alcoholism feel as if they can’t function normally or feel “good” without alcohol. After long-term alcohol abuse, a person’s brain and body become accustomed to the substance, and when the person reaches the point of dependence, withdrawals will occur when they aren’t drinking or if they suddenly cut down or stop.
Many people don’t consume alcohol with the intention of becoming addicted. Some common reasons people drink include coping with stress, feeling good, coping with loss, overcoming anxiety, loneliness, trauma, shame, and more. When alcohol is initially used as a crutch or coping mechanism, it makes it more likely that the habit will become problematic.
Warning Signs of Alcoholism
If you suspect a loved one may be struggling with alcoholism, there are many important signs to look out for. While some of these signs may be obvious, others may be more discrete, and it is important to recognize them for you to get them help. What’s more, drinking is a common social pastime, so it can be difficult to tell whether a person’s alcohol consumption is excessive.
The effects of untreated alcoholism are dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Alcoholism is a disease that affects not only the user but loved ones as well. We want to make you aware of the top alcohol warning signs so that addiction treatment can be sought out as soon as possible.
Alcoholics will drink at any hour of the day and often make excuses to drink. They are the first to suggest turning an event into a drinking party or grabbing a bottle in the morning. They’ll also usually ask whether alcohol will be at the event and become irritated if they have to be somewhere that doesn’t serve alcohol. Their frequent drinking can sometimes lead them to drink at inappropriate times or events.
Drinking in Excess
Alcoholics often have trouble with not only drinking often but also with managing how much they consume in a short amount of time. It is common for people with a drinking problem to go overboard to the point of blackouts. The individual might promise or say to themselves that they’ll only have a certain number of drinks at an event and then end up drinking much more than they planned. Alcoholics will also develop a tolerance to the substance and have to drink more to feel the same effects.
Drinking to Forget
Alcohol abuse and mental health are often intertwined as people struggle to deal with their emotional burdens on their own and turn to alcohol for help. As we previously mentioned, when alcohol becomes an unhealthy coping mechanism, occasional drinking can quickly lead to dependence and addiction. For the person to get sober for good, they typically need the help of a professional facility like our California detox center to address these underlying issues. Otherwise, many recovering alcoholics will fall back into this bad habit and relapse.
Because they are intoxicated, alcoholics may begin to neglect their regular responsibilities, whether it is at home or work. The quality of their work may slip, or they may not show up at all. At home, they may not be as helpful around the house or with the kids as they were before. They might become irritable, aggressive, or distant in their relationships, as well. While the occasional slip-up is okay, when these slip-ups become the norm, there is a serious problem.
One of the most common warning signs of an alcoholic is lying. Both alcoholics and drug addicts will often lie to their loved ones about their substance abuse habits. They may hold back on both the amount and frequency of their drinking habits around others to avoid confrontation. They may also tell their loved ones that other people were drinking when they weren’t or lie about going out. Lying is often a form of denial about the severity of their drinking problem, as well as a way to protect their loved ones from knowing the truth.
Another major sign of alcoholism is drinking alone. Drinking is usually a social activity for many people, but for alcoholics, it is much more than that. They crave alcohol and therefore have no problem drinking by themselves frequently. Drinking alone also allows them to avoid any confrontation or discussion about the severity of their habit. Not only will the individual leave signs that they’ve been drinking alone at home when everyone is out of the house, but they might also slip away during parties or gatherings to drink and have alcohol in their car to sneak in using cups or water bottles. If your loved one is always drinking alone, it may be a cry for help.
They Drink When It’s Inappropriate
While excessive alcohol consumption is never appropriate, it’s more normal for a person to drink at a social gathering where alcohol is being served than at a child’s school recital. If you notice that your loved one is drinking at odd hours or when it’s inappropriate, they may be battling a more serious problem.
Changes in Appearance
Some common physical signs of alcoholism include a disheveled appearance, including lack of personal hygiene and grooming, poor skin and tired eyes due to dehydration, and smelling like alcohol. The individual may also gain or lose a lot of weight, display redness in the face, and/or experience frequent stomach pains.
Some of the side effects of alcohol abuse are irritability and mood swings. Especially if the person is starting to sober up and experience withdrawal symptoms, they may become extra agitated. If these mood swings extend to violence, get help immediately.
Getting Into Trouble
Alcohol can lower people’s inhibitions and lead them to engage in risky behaviors like drunk driving, unprotected sex, or carelessness that lead to alcohol-related injuries. One injury is an accident, but frequent problems or more serious issues like a DUI are signs that your loved one needs help. Get them into an alcohol detox center immediately before matters get worse.
If your loved one is showing alcoholism warning signs, you should try to get them help now instead of waiting. Along with devastating effects on your health, alcohol abuse can greatly impact a person’s performance at work, their relationships, and finances, and even get them into trouble with the law.
Do not wait until rock bottom. If you or a loved one has a drinking or drug problem, act now. Call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our alcohol addiction treatment program and how it can help.