The disease of alcoholism affects 17.6 million people in the United States. The impact of alcohol dependency causes significant problems for people in many different areas of their lives. In addition to the personal and professional toll alcohol consumption takes, the human body suffers tremendously from years of chronic drinking. The liver, in particular, may experience irreparable harm.
With facts such as these in mind, it becomes critical that anyone suffering from alcohol dependency should weigh options to check into a rehabilitation program. Upon recognizing the existence of a problem, the afflicted should take steps to seek a means of “curing” the condition. In some cases, a person fails to recognize his or her conditions. So, loved ones may need to step in when someone they care about struggles with alcohol dependency.
Unfortunately, not everyone understands the signs of alcoholism. Those who aren’t trained to deal with people suffering from substance use issues blame certain behaviors on other reasons rather than alcoholism. In order to best help someone you love, knowing the signs of alcohol abuse becomes the first step in the direction of taking action.
Signs & Symptoms of Alcoholism
A person who has had too much to drink displays certain characteristics resulting from the impact of alcohol on the brain. Slurred speech and poor equilibrium would be two definitive signs a person drank too much. Symptoms aren’t limited to mere physical ones, though. A lessening of inhibitions occurs when drunk. So, be mindful of a normally calm person talking out of turn or being overly blunt in a rude manner. Mood swings occur with anger being one emotional state to look out for. Outbursts while drunk may reveal a serious problem. Upon drinking too much, someone may vomit or pass out. After sobering up, the individual may have no recollection of what took place.
Obviously, not everyone who drinks or gets drunk suffers from alcoholism. The frequency and severity of the drunken behaviors factor into signs of alcohol use disorder. Anyone observing someone with a substance use issue should be mindful of other contributing signs that indicate a problem is present.
The careful monitoring of someone showing the signs of alcoholism may lead to suspicions being confirmed. That said, it does not always take a long time to come to a conclusion. The definitive signs of a substance use problem reveal themselves rather obviously and might do so quickly. If behavior gives the impression that a serious condition exists, the impression is probably accurate.
Inebriation reflects one sign. Others likely exist as well. Specific behavior patterns might be a bit ambiguous and could legitimately be blamed on other issues. However, other behavior patterns may reflect clear and convincing signs of a definite problem with alcohol abuse. For those interested in learning about definitive indicators, here is an overview that reveals several signs of alcohol use disorder.
Excessive Cravings for Alcohol
A person who is dependent on alcohol will have a consistent craving to drink. The cravings are not rooted in mere habit but in an outright addiction to alcohol. In addition to the mental addiction, a physical reaction in the body contributes to the desire to have alcohol. As a result, the person consistently craves drinking even though adverse physical reactions occur.
An obvious corresponding component to craving alcohol would be drinking on a consistent basis. A person who drinks alcohol on the job, all day at home, or elsewhere surely displays the signs of an obvious problem. Not everyone, though, reveals excessive consumption in this manner. Behaviors may vary, and some people could be adept at hiding their significant amounts of drinking. A person may be purely a social drinker who indulges at parties or happy hours after work. This individual will consistently go out for social drinking and do so on a basis far greater than the average person.
Going out for drinks after work every night and then heading to nightclubs every weekend could be highly indicative of someone with a drinking problem. Such behavior simply isn’t “normal” socializing. Do not overlook any social behavior that falls outside the norms of what the average person commonly indulges in.
The Inability to Curb Drinking
Many people who suffer from alcoholism wish they could stop but are unable to. Attempts to quit on one’s own prove futile. In truth, trying to quit abusing alcohol without the help of a substance abuse treatment professional rarely succeeds. Steps for proper treatment are involved and also require careful monitoring. Trying to quit without assistance could even endanger the health of someone dependent on alcohol. The potential for success remains minimal without direct professional assistance.
Even those who entered inpatient or outpatient rehab may relapse. Relapses are serious setbacks that establish that the patient continues to suffer from a drinking problem and has not brought the problem under complete control.
Ignoring the Consequences of Drinking
One of the most troubling signs of alcohol abuse would be the negative consequences a person faces with his or her family, job, and friends. Alcoholism creates enormous interpersonal problems usually caused by the person’s preoccupation with his or her addiction. Days are missed at work. Important family events aren’t attended as well.
Missing work and ignoring cherished family events both come with consequences. Employers won’t likely tolerate such behavior for long. Domestic life suffers as well due to alcoholism’s tendency to cause serious tension in the home.
A person suffering from alcohol abuse sees the problems the condition causes. He or she feels the weight of the consequences of alcohol abuse, yet nothing is done to curtail any drinking. The consequences of alcoholism end up being ignored due to the physical and mental addiction present. Even when a person suffers greatly, quitting isn’t a possibility without the necessary help.
A Loss of Interest in Activities
Well-adjusted people general enjoy certain hobbies and social interactions. Engaging in such activities isn’t done just to feel distracted. Fun and enjoyment come with playing softball, attending yoga classes, going fishing, attending sporting events, and more. Social interactions tie in with these activities. Who doesn’t like to be around other people who share similar hobbies and interests? A pursuit of positive activities contributes to a well-balanced life. Alcoholism, sadly, undermines these pursuits.
Social interactions and passionate hobbies fall by the wayside when someone has a drinking problem. Drinking takes up most of the person’s life. Other things cease to be enjoyable or even doable. As soon as someone gives up on a hobby or lifestyle he or she previously embraced, this is a serious red flag that something may be wrong.
Risky Behavior Increases
Alcohol impairs both the mind and judgment. An inebriated person may do things that put himself or herself and others at great risk. Driving under the influence would be one of the more obvious examples. Choosing to take part in other high-risk activities wouldn’t be uncommon. There have even been instances of adventurers throwing all caution and safety to the wind and suffering harm by driving under the influence.
When under the influence, basic judgment becomes clouded. Taking part in dangerous activities occurs because the mind doesn’t fully process the potential harms that may incur. Such risky behaviors may not be a one-off thing. Consistently taking part in high-risk activities may go hand in hand with a drinking problem. Again, this is not normal behavior, and alcohol may be at the root of the actions.
Legal Problems Arise
The risky behaviors and lack of judgment common to alcohol abuse can lead someone down the path of criminal and civil trouble. Driving under the influence (DUI) can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in certain instances. That means a person convicted of a DUI garners a lifelong criminal record and all the legal costs and impressions that go along with one.
Public intoxication, also known as being drunk and disorderly, may be charged as a misdemeanor. A drunk person with poor impulse control may get into a fight with someone at a bar or elsewhere. Aggravated assault charges and a civil lawsuit may follow.
In truth, being under the influence may open a myriad of legal troubles. Some of those legal problems may come with dire consequences. If a pattern of such behavior develops, the warning signs cannot be ignored. A relative who is getting into bar fights every weekend and running afoul of the law surely has a problem. Unless the problem is addressed, his or her legal troubles are only going to worsen.
Undergoing Withdrawal Symptoms
When unable to access alcohol, a substance abuser shows the physical and psychological signs of withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms range in severity on a case-by-case basis. Hallucinations aren’t uncommon when a person dependent on alcohol has gone without a drink for some time. Alcohol withdrawal delirium (AWD) may even take place. With AWD, the individual suffers from high anxiety and complete confusion. The person may suffer from tremors or even go into a seizure. Such symptoms result from the dangerous effect alcohol consumption has on the central nervous system.
Withdrawal symptoms can be frightening to observe and even more panic-inducing to experience. The greatest danger associated with alcohol withdrawal is death; it is possible to suffer a fatality while withdrawing from alcohol without professional assistance.
The mortality rate among people going through alcohol withdrawal reaches 5 to 25 percent when the afflicted enters into the delirium tremens stage. This occurs one to four days after acute alcohol withdrawal has commenced and involves the aforementioned shock to the central nervous system that causes hallucinations.
Surviving severe withdrawal can also lead to long-term problems that include brain damage. So, when someone undergoes alcohol withdrawal, the incident should be deemed a medical emergency. Without proper medical care, the person could experience a life-altering event.
The Value of Professional Rehabilitative Care
A patient in an alcohol and drug dependency rehabilitation facility can undergo a carefully monitored detoxification period. A medical staff keeps track of the patient as he or she deals with withdrawal. The staff stands by to address any health issues and responds accordingly if the patient’s health is at risk. The only people truly capable of helping someone during the detoxification period are substance abuse treatment professionals who know how to instill proper care.
Treatment extends beyond the detoxification process. Counselors and therapists work at addressing the underlying causes of addiction and reducing the chances of a relapse. Such an involved approach to recovery requires a lifelong commitment to follow through with what is necessary to be free of alcoholism. The effort certainly is worth it since regaining your life becomes the result of a successful process. Make the first step today, with Haven Detox.