In the United States alone, over 14 million adults live with alcohol use disorder. 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.
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.
#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:
- Shaking and trembling
#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.
#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.
#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.
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.
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: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics  https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-use-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20369243
About the author:
Greg opened his home and heart to alcoholics and addicts in 2003. He is a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor (CATCI). Starting in 2009 Greg has fostered the growth of Ocean Hills Recovery into one of the most respected and effective treatment centers in the area and has been working with people with addictions since March of 2001. Greg believes in a holistic approach to recovery. His focus is on drug alcohol addiction treatment with a combination of 12 Step work, therapy and counseling, and the rejuvenation of the body through healthful eating and exercise. He has designed his program to foster a family-like atmosphere and believes that people in recovery are just beginning their lives. He encourages the people he works with to learn to enjoy life in sobriety. Greg is married to Nicole; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.