Warning Signs of Alcoholism

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Image showing the number of Americans who have alcohol use disorder (AUD)

In the United States, alcohol is the most widely used addictive substance. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, over 17.6 million American adults, or one in every 12 people, have an alcohol abuse problem, and millions more participate in dangerous behavior like binge drinking that may eventually result in an alcohol use disorder.

Every organ in the body, including the brain, liver, heart, pancreas, and stomach, can be negatively impacted by alcohol. Alcoholism can result in serious mental and physical health problems, leading to death. It may also ruin lives by causing problems in one’s family life, friends circle, professional life, and relationships.

There are many warning signs that might point to substance abuse. You can easily spot some of these signs, but others may be challenging to identify. Additionally, the severity of alcohol abuse may influence the warning signs a person exhibits.

Alcoholism of mild nature is often overlooked. However, over time, a problem that first seems trivial might become dangerous. Not ignoring early warning signs of alcoholism is advised. Identifying the warning signs of alcohol abuse and getting proper treatment from medical professionals can significantly improve a person’s ability to recover from alcohol addiction.

Recognizing an Alcohol Addiction

Recognizing the signs of alcohol abuse is one of the most important initial stages toward overcoming alcohol use disorder. Each year, millions of individuals around the globe lose their jobs, health, families, interpersonal relationships, and even their lives due to the negative consequences of alcoholism.

Heavy alcohol consumption can be difficult to track for several reasons. First and foremost, it’s legal. In many cultures, alcohol plays an important part in a variety of social functions. Celebrating a win for your team? Get a drink. Getting along with close friends? Reach for an alcoholic beverage. Want to relax after a stressful day at your job? Get a drink.

Often, warning signs of alcohol abuse are unheeded until it is too late. Normally, friends and family will see these indicators much earlier, but they may not want to accept the reality. Or, you may be battling alcohol poisoning without recognizing or admitting its seriousness. Therefore, understanding the signs and symptoms of alcoholism might help you or others point out a potential problem.

There are different ways to determine whether someone has alcohol use disorder. Some of these include:

  • CAGE – a questionnaire that evaluates the severity of alcohol dependence. If someone answers “yes” to two or more of the CAGE questions, they should seek medical attention ASAP.
  • To accurately diagnose a drinking problem, a doctor may also ask you questions from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). One should answer these questions depending on the past year of alcohol use.

Warning Signs of Alcohol Abuse

While alcohol and drug use generally have several early warning signals, each substance has a particular effect on the body and will thus show up differently. Here are a few common signs to look out for if you think you or a loved one may be addicted to alcohol.

Experiencing Blackouts Regularly

Blackouts are common for alcoholics. A blackout is when a person has so much alcohol in their blood and body that they lose the ability to make short-term memories for a while. A blackout is the body’s way of telling someone they are drinking too much, and necessary actions need to be taken. When you black out often, it could be a sign that you have a problem with drinking or an addiction to it.

Loss of Control Over Drinking

At some point, many alcohol abusers vow to themselves or another person that they will reduce their alcohol consumption. However, they seldom fulfill this commitment. They cannot stop drinking after reaching any limit. They do not anticipate the effects of alcohol consumption in large amounts. Once they begin drinking, they continue until they are completely drunk.

Spending a Great Deal of Time on Alcohol-Related Activities

Alcoholics devote lots of time to alcohol-related activities. They may also neglect all of the important things to them, such as family responsibilities, employment duties, financial obligations, hobbies, and house and property maintenance. Often, heavy drinkers may defend their binge drinking habits by claiming that they need to relax or that no one understands their troubles.

Hiding or Lying About Drinking

When someone abuses alcohol on a routine basis, they may go to tremendous measures to hide the amount of alcohol drank. For instance, a person may go to a pub with buddies and have only a few drinks with them, but then come home and consume more alcohol in private. A person battling alcoholism may also drink alcohol in secret at a social event so that others are unaware of how much they are drinking.

Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms When Not Drinking

When a heavy drinker abruptly quits consuming alcohol, alcohol withdrawal symptoms arise. The physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include nausea, vomiting, sweating, sleeplessness, increased heart rate, headaches, and tremors. A person may also experience depression, anxiety, mood swings, and impatience. 

Those experiencing severe withdrawal (called delirium tremens) symptoms, such as fever, blackouts, hallucinations, confusion, or seizures, should seek professional help from a nearby treatment facility immediately.

Picture displaying the common signs of alcoholism

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some warning signs that someone has become an alcoholic?

If you think that you are any of your family members has an alcohol problem, here are a few common signs to look for:

  • Loss of control over drinking
  • Drinking in secrecy
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms
  • Continuing drinking despite family, work, and financial problems
  • Spending too much time in alcohol-related activities
  • Feelings of guilt associated with drinking
  • Alcohol craving

What are some warning signs of binge drinking and alcohol dependence?

Following the some of the common warning signs of binge alcohol intake:

  • Inability to control drinking habits
  • Experiencing blackouts
  • Physical changes
  • Hiding or lying about drinking
  • Work or legal trouble as a result of drinking
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms
  • Continuing to binge drink despite knowing the side effects

What are the early signs of alcoholism?

If you’re concerned about heavy drinking habits of your own or anyone in your support group, here are a few early signs to look out for:

  • Drinking more than everyone you socialize with
  • Not being able to limit your drinking
  • Family, friends, or colleagues have commented on your drinking
  • Facing legal issues because of drinking
  • Often drink before or after a social gathering
  • Missing school or work because of last night’s hangover
  • Need alcohol to relax or soothe an upset stomach
  • Attempting to quit drinking but always ends up with a relapse

Let The Haven Detox Help You Take Control of Your Life

Alcohol is a powerful and highly addictive substance that, when abused, can wreak havoc on every aspect of a person’s life. That’s why finding the right help at the right time is crucial to escape severe physical and mental health problems.

The Haven Detox-South Florida is a state-of-the-art treatment facility that offers personalized treatment programs of recovery for individuals struggling with alcohol addiction. Our highly competent medical experts are committed to helping our clients heal mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

So, if you or someone you care about is exhibiting alcoholism symptoms, The Haven Detox-South Florida is ready to help you have long-term sobriety. For more information, contact our team of health care providers at (561) 328-8627.

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