While legal in the United States, alcohol is a frequent culprit in addiction and for which treatment is sought frequently. It’s estimated that 700,000 people in the United States beginning or receiving treatment for alcohol addiction on any given day. If you or a loved one are a frequent drinker and suspect alcohol is becoming a problem, here are 8 signs of alcoholism to watch for:
1. Impact on Relationships
The first step to understanding the role of alcohol in your life is to survey the impact in relationships. If it’s creating distance between you and the ones you love, there’s a good chance that your alcohol consumption has become a problem.
2. Risky Behavior
As alcohol decreases inhibitions, many people with a serious drinking problem find themselves engaging in risky behavior they wouldn’t otherwise. For example, driving under the influence, repeatedly finding oneself in unfavorable circumstances, or experiencing legal trouble are signs of alcoholism.
3. Daily Consumption
While not everyone who consumes alcohol daily is an “alcoholic,” studies show significant chances of increased health problems for daily drinkers. Especially for those who find themselves getting drunk every day, alcohol is linked to heart, liver, neurological issues, and can increase chances of diabetes, cancers, osteoporosis, infertility, and more.
4. Inability to Set Limits
For many who drink regularly, setting limits is a part of a routine. For example, setting the expectation that you’ll have two beers at dinner is a healthy relationship with alcohol. If you find yourself extending or ignoring the limits you’ve set on a regular basis, alcohol may be a problem for you.
5. Appearance Change
For those who drink heavily, appearance and hygiene routines may be overlooked. If you think someone you know has a problem with alcohol addiction, look for signs like an unkempt appearance, changes in normal hygiene routines, and lack of care for professional or personal standards. Dental health changes are also an indication of alcohol issues because many people will “pass out” without the routine of proper teeth brushing.
6. Alcohol Cravings
Just listen around the office at 5 pm on a Friday, and you’ll hear a chorus of “I need a drink.” However, those with a serious alcohol problem exhibit behavior of using alcohol as a coping method. Alcohol cravings, especially when alone or at inappropriate times, are a sign of alcohol addiction.
7. Guilty Feelings
For some, mornings after drinking are associated with guilt and shame, especially if memory loss happened while intoxicated. If this is happening with increasing regularity or consistency, it’s a sign that alcohol is damaging your mental well-being and self-awareness.
One of the most significant signs of alcohol addiction is physical or emotional withdrawal. For example, waking up feeling hungover without drinking the night before, or having shakes, sweats, mood swings, depressive or anxious symptoms, and irritability can be signs you’re experiencing withdrawal symptoms. This is a sign that your body has become dependent on alcohol as the normal operating state.
If you or someone you love is seeking alcohol and drug rehabilitation, there are several options to consider. Alcoholics Anonymous and SMART Recovery are two services available virtually nationwide that operate on meetings-based programming. For a holistic approach to alcohol addiction recovery, consider Harmony Grove in Escondido, California. The facility offers both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs to tailor an approach for each individual treatment seeker. If you’re ready to begin your process of recovery, learn more today.