6 Signs of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse: Know the Warning Signs
6 Signs of Alcoholism
Are you worried that you or a loved one has an alcohol problem?
Alcohol abuse is more common than we’d like to believe, and some of the early warning signs creep up on you. They aren’t always noticeable.
Did you know that excessive alcohol use is estimated to be responsible for 95,000 annual deaths? Between drunk driving, negligence, risk-taking behavior, and alcohol poisoning, extreme alcohol consumption is deadly.
But what are the signs of alcoholism? How can you catch it before it’s too late?
We know how hard this can be. Whether you’re looking for signs in yourself or you’re wondering if you need to stage an intervention with your loved one, we have a few early signs of alcohol abuse that you should look out for. Keep reading to learn more.
1. Sober Mood Swings and Irritability
One of the warning signs of alcoholism is a sudden change in disposition. When someone who is abusing alcohol develops mood swings and irritability while sober, they may actually be experiencing the first symptoms of withdrawal.
Withdrawal is uncomfortable, and when warning signs are ignored, it becomes more severe and frequent. Early on, it will happen after binge drinking. As time goes on, it can happen even hours after your last drink.
If you notice that you’re only calm or happy when you’re drinking, it’s time to consider that you may have an alcohol problem.
2. Distancing from Friends or Family Members
Excessive drinking can cause someone to distance themself from the people they love. This happens for several reasons.
Drinking becomes a hobby. Instead of taking part in social activities and other things that they enjoy, the person with an alcohol dependence chooses to drink.
They may find themself gravitating towards other friends with the same habits, or only going to parties where alcohol is involved.
We need social support to maintain our mental health. Removing yourself from friends and family is self-defeating and worsens the problem.
3. Drinking That Disrupts Life and Responsibilities
As we mentioned, excessive drinking leads people to withdraw from their lives. This isn’t exclusive to the fun activities, though.
If you find yourself drinking at work or school, or worse, neglecting work or school to go out drinking, you should know that you have an alcohol problem. Many people with alcoholism are unable to hold jobs or maintain schoolwork. This leads them further into their alcohol abuse.
4. A Growing Alcohol Tolerance
It’s normal for alcohol tolerances to change as you get older. When people start drinking, they tend to have a lower tolerance than when they’ve been drinking for a few years.
If you’re an alcoholic, that tolerance continues to grow. If you can’t feel a buzz after one or two drinks, it may be time to cut back.
Alcoholism makes it so that you need more and more alcohol in order to get drunk.
5. Often Drinking Alone
It’s not uncommon for someone to have a drink or two once in a while after a hard day at work, but usually drinking is a social activity. You have a drink with dinner, or out with friends.
When you find yourself getting drunk when you’re alone, though, it’s a sign of an alcohol problem. How often do you buy alcohol on your way home from work? Is a night alone not complete without a few glasses of wine?
6. You Can’t Stop Drinking for the Night
People who don’t abuse alcohol are able to go out and have a set number of drinks and be done for the night. They know their limits and adhere to them (most of the time). Even people who binge drink once in a while do so infrequently and are able to moderate themselves otherwise.
If you can’t stop drinking, this is a sign of a problem. Have you ever agreed to be a designated driver and had to abandon that duty because you couldn’t stop at one or two drinks? Has the party ever gone on too long?
With alcohol, as with anything, moderation is key. If you can no longer moderate yourself, it’s a sign of alcoholism.
7. You Drive Drunk
This is a huge sign of alcohol abuse. Driving drunk is a big deal. It puts yourself and others at risk.
When the average person gets too intoxicated to drive, they call a taxi or a friend to pick them up. When someone who is suffering from alcoholism gets too intoxicated to drive, they may instead try to drive anyway.
Some people who are too deep into alcoholism may even claim that they “drive better drunk.”
If this sounds like you or your loved one, they are abusing alcohol.
8. Feeling Like You Drink Too Much
If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’re seeing some of the warning signs of alcoholism even if you don’t know what they are yet.
When you get the feeling that you’ve been drinking too much, but you don’t feel like you know how to stop on your own, it’s a sign that you should seek out help. You’re in the early stages, so now is the best time to start gaining control over your alcoholism.
Knowing that you have a problem is the first step on the journey to recovery.
Do These Signs of Alcoholism Sound Familiar?
If you recognize any of these signs of alcoholism in yourself, you’re not alone, but you’re already taking the right steps to help yourself regain control of your life.
Alcoholism is deadly. Don’t try to conquer it without help. There’s plenty of support for you that can make your journey safe.
If you’re in need of professional help for your drinking problem, we’re here to offer support. Contact us to learn about our program and start healing today.