Identifying The Signs Of Alcoholism

Identifying The Signs Of Alcoholism

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In the United States alone, over 14 million adults live with alcohol use disorder.[1] In a society where drinking is intrinsically tied to a multitude of social events and gatherings, it can be difficult to draw the line between frequent drinking and alcoholism. To learn about the signs of alcoholism and how to navigate this challenging disorder, keep on reading.

What Is Alcohol Use Disorder? Would You Recognize the Signs of Alcoholism?

Alcohol use disorder, otherwise known as alcoholism, is diagnosed in individuals that drink in excess and are physically or psychologically dependent on the substance. Alcoholism has various levels of intensity, from mild alcohol abuse to severe alcoholism. However, any form of the disorder hinders the ability to function and maintain a healthy and happy life.

Identifying the Signs of Alcoholism

A few of the common risk factors of alcohol use disorder are:

  • A family history of drug and alcohol abuse
  • Social pressures
  • Co-occurring mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia
  • Traumatic life events

What Are 7 Common Signs Of Alcoholism?

Perhaps the hardest step for those struggling with alcoholism, especially in cases of more high-functioning alcoholism, is admitting that there is an issue occurring in the first place. To gain a better understanding of the symptoms that might be pointing to a problem, here are 7 common signs of alcoholism to pay attention to:  

#1: Drinking In Solitude

A telltale sign of alcoholism is when you find yourself drinking alone in excess. Many individuals with alcoholism hide booze from their families and attempt to drink in secrecy.

Am I addicted to alcohol? Is drinking alone a problem? Do I have a physical dependence on alcohol?

#2: Physical Dependence On Alcohol

When you feel as if drinking alcohol is a necessity to feel normal, stable, or at your best, it is clear that you’re experiencing a physical dependence on the drug. Because of this physical dependence, alcoholism is typically accompanied by negative physical symptoms when withdrawing from the substance. These symptoms might include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Shaking and trembling
  • Sweating
  • Seizures

#3: Alcohol Tolerance

The more often that you drink, the more alcohol necessary to feel any sort of effect. If you need to drink double or triple the amount of alcohol that you used to achieve the same level of buzz, it is most definitely a sign of alcoholism.

alcohol tolerance and lack of control over drinking - signs of alcoholism

#4: Lack Of Control Over Drinking

When you drink, it is important to be mindful of how much control that you have over the quantity and frequency that alcohol is consumed. A major sign of alcoholism is when you find yourself struggling to stop drinking once you’ve started. Or when you can’t seem to cut back on drinking after multiple attempts to do so.

#5: Diminished Participation In Responsibilities

When alcohol is prioritized over other more important responsibilities, it is a clear sign that the substance is taking control over your life. It is helpful to observe if alcohol has caused you to have diminished activity at work. You may also participate in less extracurricular activities, or less time spent with family and friends.

drinking too much, risky behaviors

#6: Participation In Risky Behaviors Under The Influence

A red flag that points to a problem with alcohol is the participation in risky behaviors related to drinking. This could include blacking out and forgetting the events that occurred while drinking, driving under the influence, self-harm behavior, and partaking in fights and other physical or verbal altercations while drunk. 

#7: Binge Drinking

A major component of alcoholism is drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time, which is otherwise known as binge drinking. Depending on your gender, binge drinking is defined as 5 drinks within two hours for men and 4 drinks within 2 hours for women.[2]

is binge drinking a problem?

What Are The Treatment Options For Alcoholism?

If any of the symptoms of alcoholism discussed above are prevalent in your life, it is crucial to seek treatment from a health or substance abuse professional. These professionals have the skills and training needed to both diagnose alcohol use disorder and find the best-fit treatment option for recovery.

getting help for alcohol use disorder

No matter the level of severity that alcohol impacts your life, nobody deserves to navigate their recovery alone. With the help and support of a high-quality alcohol treatment program, alcoholism recovery is possible for anyone. Some of the treatment tactics used in an alcoholism recovery program include:

  • Behavioral Treatments: behavioral treatment in the form of counseling helps clients with alcoholism correct harmful behaviors related to drinking.
  • Medications: medications can reduce the urge to drink or create unpleasant symptoms when mixed with alcohol, both of which encourage users to stay sober
  • Mutual-Support Groups: support groups allow peers struggling with alcohol use disorder to connect and share their journeys with one another

Ocean Hills Recovery Provides Support For Alcoholism

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery, which is why Ocean Hills Recovery offers the choice of 30, 60, or 90 days of alcohol treatment programs. Contact our supportive and nurturing team of professionals to take control of your alcohol recovery today.

 

Sources:

[1] https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics

[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-use-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20369243

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