Signs of Alcoholism

While alcohol is legal, there are some cases when it can be overused or abused by someone. It can quickly turn into a full-blown addiction if the person or your loved one is not careful. If you do suspect there’s an issue there is always help available as well.

First, it’s wise to understand the signs of alcoholism so that you or a loved one can get the help needed and then get on the road to recovery. Addiction can negatively impact a person’s mental and physical health and lifestyle. The good news is that once you identify there’s a problem then you should know that there are treatment options available. 

What is Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)?

The first matter to address is what is alcoholism or what is alcohol use disorder (AUD), so you have a good idea of the definition and what it all entails. According to the NIAAA, Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is the inability to stop drinking despite damaging effects on a person’s life. It doesn’t have to do with self-control as much as it does with the brain and chemicals in the brain. If not treated, there can be a host of negative consequences that arise, including death. 

Signs of Alcoholism

Next, it’s important to dive deeper into the different signs of alcoholism including the physical, behavioral, and emotional or mental signs.

Drinking Excessively 

One sign of alcoholism may be that the person or yourself drinks excessively. It may be that they start and can’t stop as well. Doing so may also bring about physical, behavioral, mental, or emotional consequences and issues. Someone may even decide to drink all day or participate in day drinking activities and then try to hide it. It may also be used as an escape and a way to deal with stress. 

A Lot of Time Spent on Alcohol-Related Activities

Someone suffering from alcohol addiction might also spend a lot of time at alcohol-related activities as part of their social life. They may not even want to be at an event or family affair if there isn’t any alcohol present to drink. There may eventually become a pattern where they will only go to places where they can have a drink and might lose interest in other types of sober hobbies they once enjoyed doing.

Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms

One of the most obvious signs of alcoholism is experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These can be both physical and behavioral as well as mental and emotional types of outcomes. 

Here are some examples of withdrawal symptoms someone with AUD might have:

  • Slurred speech
  • Blurry vision
  • Hangovers
  • Drinking alone
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Anger and irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat

Continued Use of Alcohol Despite Thinking There’s A Problem

There may also be a lack of alcohol limits when someone is struggling with alcohol addiction. The person will likely continue to use alcohol despite thinking or knowing there’s a problem. They might try to curb or limit their drinking, but then one or two drinks quickly turn into six or seven drinks before you know it. The person might even become defensive if questioned about their alcohol use or asked about their alcohol use. 

Loss of Control While Drinking

Another sign of alcoholism is the loss of control while drinking. This can include impulsive decisions or having to deal with alcohol-related consequences. The decisions may even be dangerous such as wanting to drive a car or getting into a physical altercation at the bar. It’s actions they wouldn’t usually take if they were sober. A person suffering from addiction may also lose a job or get a DUI and blame everyone and everything else except alcohol as the culprit. 

Increased Tolerance of Alcohol 

A person suffering from AUD likely also has a high tolerance for alcoholic beverages. It might take them several drinks to even feel the effects of the alcohol, for example, compared to someone else. The person might not feel the least bit drunk even after several drinks. Not only that, but their tolerance will grow over time.

What You Can Do to Support Them

You may recognize these signs in a loved one, but maybe you aren’t sure how to handle the situation or what to do next. There are ways you can support them and be there for someone who is suffering from AUD. Start by learning about the disorder in more detail and trying to understand it not as a choice but as a brain disorder. Figure out what you’ll say beforehand and rehearse this message before you talk to the person. It’s all about choosing the right time and place to converse with them. Not only offer your support to your loved one but then approach them with compassion and listen to the person honestly. 

When that’s all done, then you may also decide that it’s time for an intervention. You can contact Peaks Recovery today for more information and to start the discussion and process. We have the right people, resources, and recovery programs in place to help someone who is suffering from addiction. We also have addiction and mental health articles on our blog that cover these matters in greater detail and may be useful to you as you navigate the situation. 

Reach out to Peaks Recovery Today

You now should feel well-informed about the signs of alcoholism and what to watch out for regarding a loved one or close friend. It may not always be obvious to you at first and the signs may become worse over time so it’s important to closely monitor what’s happening as you go. There’s always help available and you can try to get yourself or a loved one into treatment if necessary. There is hope for brighter and more sober days ahead so never give up trying.

As always, we are here to help so please contact us today with any questions or if you want more information regarding alcoholism or our other addiction treatment programs.

Medical Disclaimer: Peaks Recovery Centers uses fact-based content about recovery treatment, addiction medicine, and behavioral health conditions to improve the quality of life for those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction or mental health disorders. This information is not intended to replace professional medical guidance, diagnosis, care, or treatment. This information should not be used as a substitute for advice from a qualified healthcare provider and/or your physician.