Drinking is a big part of American culture and it can be very difficult to tell the difference between a frequent drinker and someone who has a drinking problem. Alcoholism is more common than most people realize – 15.1 million adults in the United States have some form of alcohol use disorder. If you think someone you love might have a drinking problem, it’s important to keep your eye out for the tell-tale signs of alcohol abuse. If not managed correctly, a drinking problem can quickly become very dangerous or even deadly. Here are the signs of alcoholism you should be aware of with your loved ones (or yourself).
They’ve tried to cut down on drinking but have struggled.
Most people who struggle with alcoholism are aware of the problem on at least some level. A very common sign of alcoholism is if someone has attempted to cut back on their drinking, but they haven’t had the willpower to do so. Maybe they’ve experienced physical withdrawals when they have tried to stop drinking, or maybe they just feel a mental and emotional reliance on alcohol. Either way, this is a good indication that someone could be an alcoholic.
They have an unusually high tolerance.
Another common symptom of alcoholism is shockingly high alcohol tolerance. It’s normal for some people to be more resistant to the effects of alcohol than others, but an alcoholic will be able to drink noticeably larger quantities without experiencing the effects. If you’re at a party and you notice your loved one seems completely sober even after several refills, it could be a cause for concern.
They stop participating in work or hobbies.
Someone who has a drinking problem will have a very difficult time participating in things that once made them happy. They may isolate themselves from coworkers when they are at work, start working from home, or just stop showing up altogether. They may also stop participating in social events, hobbies, and sports that they used to enjoy. This usually happens because the alcoholic can’t go for an extended period of time without a drink, or they are too hungover to participate.
They put their drinking ahead of their friends and family.
Another very common sign of alcoholism is when someone continues to drink even when it is interfering with their relationships. They may get irritated when others criticize their drinking or ask them to stop. They may also pick fights or behave irrationally towards the people they care about. Alcoholism causes intense stress, which often leads to erratic behavior that negatively impacts relationships.
They hide or stash alcohol in strange places.
Another unique symptom of alcoholism that you might not know to look for is the behavior of hiding alcohol. Alcoholics often store their alcohol in places where their family or roommates can’t find it. This is typical because they are scared of their loved ones’ negative reactions to their drinking. They also may keep alcohol in strange places at work, school, or other places where it’s inappropriate to drink. This is because they will experience withdrawals if they don’t drink regularly. They may even seek out situations where it is appropriate to drink alcohol and avoid places where they can’t get away with it.
They participate in highly self-destructive behavior.
Alcohol lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment. Because of this, people who have drinking issues often find themselves in dangerous situations because of their drinking. They may drive drunk or participate in other physically risky behaviors because they don’t have the presence of mind to avoid it. They also might find themselves in dangerous situations in an attempt to procure alcohol.
They experience short-term memory loss because of their drinking.
Heavy drinking often results in ‘blacking out’, and alcoholics experience this regularly. They may try to cover it up, but they often find themselves in situations where they can’t remember what happened the night before because of their heavy drinking. They also might experience what’s commonly referred to as a ‘brown-out’, where you have some memories from the time you were drinking, but they aren’t clear.
If you or someone you love is experiencing these signs of alcohol abuse, it’s important to seek help. Odyssey Recovery is a drug rehab center for men located in Orange, California that offers detox and rehabilitation programs for alcoholics and other drug abusers. Contact us to get started on your path to recovery.