Signs of Alcoholism and Warning Common Signs
It is not always easy to know when your drinking has crossed from moderate to problem drinking. Although you might be a person who does not drink very often or avoids drinking in large amounts, you may still not realize that you have a drinking problem. In fact, even if you are one those who don’t drink for days or weeks, it is still possible that you are abusing alcohol and are at a risk of becoming an alcohol addict.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism also is known as alcohol dependence or alcohol addiction is a serious form of a drinking problem in which a person has a strong, often uncontrollable desire to drink. It is a destructive pattern of alcohol use in which a person drinks a large amount of alcohol and finds it difficult to reduce its use, drink in moderation or stop drinking. Common signs of alcoholism include an increasing tolerance to the effects of alcohol, lack of proper functioning or drinking alcohol continuously despite being aware of the physical, mental and social problems it has been causing in one’s life.
The third most common mental illness affecting nearly 14 million people in the U.S, alcoholism is a disease rather than chosen bad behavioral pattern or weakness of character. Facts and statistics reveal that about 10% men and 4 % women are alcoholics. In fact, nearly $165 billion per year has been spent for early death, treatment costs, lower productivity caused due to alcoholism.
- In 2012, alcohol consumption has caused nearly 3.3 million global deaths (men 7.6% and women 4.0%).In fact, about 5.1% of disease and injury that happened during this year all over the world during this year was caused due to alcohol consumption.
- According to the World Health Organization, alcoholism had caused innumerable diseases and health conditions in 2014. Common diseases include liver cirrhosis, injuries, cancers and DSMIV alcohol dependence.
Alcohol misuse is considered to be the fifth leading risk factor for durability and premature death among people aged 15- 49 years. Additionally, it is one the major factor that has to lead to immature death in people aged 20- 39 years.
Warning Signs of Alcoholism
Due to various factors, spotting signs and symptoms of alcoholism is not always easy. This is because while most signs are easily recognizable, there are a few that are difficult to be identified. For instance, many alcoholics often become secretive and start drinking in private and isolating themselves from others. This often makes it difficult for friends and family members to find out about their drinking habits and help their loved ones.
1: Becoming Dishonest or secretive about Drinking Habits
People who have become alcoholics often tend to hide or lie about their drinking in an attempt to prevent people from becoming suspicious about their unusual behavior or activities.
Common traits exhibited by alcoholics following their secretive behavior include:
- Are dishonest about their drinking habits.
- Hide in their rooms to drink or drink alone.
- Try to buy alcohol from various stores to prevent people from getting suspicious about their drinking habits.
2: Temporary Blackout from binge drinking episodes
If you have experienced a blackout temporarily and do not remember anything after emerging from it, it is a sign that you have been over drinking. If you experience these episodes quite often, it is an indication that you have a drinking problem.
3: Unable to stop from binge drinking
If you have gulped a whole crate of beer or a full bottle of whiskey and still crave to have more, it is a sign that you have a drinking problem. Becoming powerless or incapable of controlling on how much you drink is an indication of a problem.
4: Drinking in Unfavorable Conditions
If you have become an alcoholic, you will not drink even in unfavorable conditions despite knowing about the consequences it can cause. A person with drinking problem will-
- Drink prior operating a machine
- Drink before sitting on the driver’s seat
- Drink before going to work
- Drink in spite of the physician’s warnings
- Drink in spite of knowing that drinking can worsen an underlying heart disease, health condition
- Do not stop drinking despite been booked earlier for driving under the influence of (DUI) of an intoxicating substance or other illegal conduct.
- Steal money to drink
When a person exhibits risk-taking behavior for drinking alcohol, it indicates that he is so intoxicated that he is incapable of judging the consequences of his actions or prioritizes his drinking habits over the safety of others and his own well – being.
5: Always Denies Drinking
People with drinking problem often do not accept that they have a problem. Most of them either rationalize their actions or make the loved ones understand that their drinking habit is not problematic.
People who deny drinking exhibit the following traits:
- Tries to downplay or ignore the harmful effects of drinking.
- Makes the other person believe that he is not an alcoholic because he does not drink every day or just has one wine or beer a day.
- Feels that his loved ones are exaggerating when they try to help him out of the drinking problem.
- Blames other people like his boss, wife or a circumstance for his drinking habits.
- Reasoning the fact that he is not drinking as he is functioning normally at work or school.
- Believes that he cannot abuse alcohol because it is not a drug.
6: Display Physical signs of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol abuse can damage major organ in the body can cause your health to deteriorate. An alcoholic can exhibit certain physical signs of alcoholism which are usually noticed when they occur together. These include:
- Brittle fingernails and dry hair
- Breath that stinks alcohol
- Liver dysfunction that leads to yellowing of skin and eyes
- Severe weight loss or weight gain
- Improper personal hygiene
- Broken capillaries on the face
- Dry skin
- Signs of premature aging, age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles
- A flushed appearance
- Bruises and injury on the body caused due intoxication-related incidents or violence
When you see the above mention signs in a person, it is an indication that that alcohol has started affecting the brain.
7: Making Alcohol a Priority in life
When a person becomes an alcohol addict, the alcohol not only has detrimental effects on his physical being, but also harmful effects on his brain. Listed below are some signs and symptoms a person can experience when he becomes preoccupied with alcohol:
- Looking to attend social activities where alcohol is served.
- Spends considerable amount of time drinking and recovering from the harmful effects of drinking.
- Spending time with people who alcoholics rather than friends and family who do not drink.
- Spend a large part of his time searching or getting alcohol instead of taking interest in other activities.
- Overspending money on alcohol to an extent of upsetting domestic budget, being in debt or becoming bankrupt.
8: Become disinterested in hobbies and cherished activities
People who have a drinking problem often tend to lose interest in their hobbies or other favorite activities. Alcoholics often tend to overindulge in alcohol – related activities and therefore have no time of energy left to enjoy their hobbies or cherished activities.
9: To seek solace from a problem or stress
Most people who abuse alcohol usually drink to get away from stressful conditions in their environment or ease negative feeling like anger, depression, sadness, resentment, and frustration. Common signs of drinking problem in such people include:
- Drink to feel and behave normally and stay relaxed
- Believing that drinking will help reduce their stress and help them feel better
- Drink to get away from their problems
- Drink in stressful circumstances
According to studies, alcohol abuse can increase depression. Additionally, drinking too much will create a problem in both your personal and professional life and add more stress in your life.
10: Unable to give best at School or Workplace
Chronic alcohol abuse can make a person more lethargic and tired. Since most of the time and energy of an alcoholic is spent of procuring alcohol and struggling to cope with the side effects (physical and emotional) of alcohol abuse, it makes the person incapable of excelling in other areas of his life.
Common sign and symptoms exhibited by such alcoholics include:
- Unable to perform up to mark at wok
- Low attendance in school
- Irregular at work
- Drop in school grades
11: Neglect duties and Responsibilities
People who abuse alcohol often tend to ignore their duties and responsibility both on the personal and professional front. This is because-
- They become physically weak and find it difficult to execute tasks demanded of them.
- They choose to spend their time, physical energy focusing on alcohol-related activities.
- They are mentally incapable of concentrating and carrying out tasks assigned to them.
12: Unable to Maintain Relationship
An alcoholic often exhibit strange behavioral patterns, making it difficult for him to maintain good relationships with family and friends. They exhibit certain the following behavior:
- They ignore their duties and responsibilities which in turn puts the burden( both physical and financial) on their loved ones.
- Tend to blame their near and dear one for their drinking habits.
- They turn aggressive or violent to all those who try to tell them about their problem.
- They do not speak the truth regarding their drinking habits.
- To avoid questioning and accusations regarding their drinking, they isolate themselves from their loved ones.
- Do not hesitate to do unlawful acts.
- They are willing to break ties with family and friends whom they feel are being intrusive.
13: Develop Tolerance
Alcohol abuse can make a person become tolerant. However, he is required to drink more to be intoxicated. This sign indicates that the abuse has become an addiction.
14: Displays signs of withdrawal symptoms
If a person exhibits withdrawal symptoms, it indicates that the body has become used to of having alcohol in its system and therefore tends to react violently if you stop feeding it with alcohol. Common alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
To cope with the withdrawal symptoms, alcoholics are often found drunk during the day.
15: Find it Difficult to quit despite Trying
There can be a lot of physical and psychological damage caused due to alcoholism. While many alcoholics who are aware of these consequences want to quit drinking alcohol, there are others who want to stay away from drinking to reclaim their life, career and relationship that have been destroyed due to alcohol abuse. However, if a person is unable to quit drinking despite his efforts it is a definite sign of alcoholism.
It must be noted that the line that separates problem drinking to alcoholism is quite thin. Generally, a person abusing alcohol requires to just a few more drinks to cross the line. However, learning about the early warning signs of alcoholism can help prevent you or your loved one from crossing the lime and becoming a complete alcoholic.
Alcoholism: Risk Factors
When a person becomes an alcoholic, he is at a higher risk of experiencing anxiety, depression, mood problems, low self-esteem or a feeling of isolation. Both men and women are more prone to develop alcoholism, especially they are physically or sexually abuse during their childhood days. Children who drink for the first time when they are about 11- 14 years old are more likely to become alcoholics than those who do so when they are younger or older. However, while most men exhibit signs of alcoholism listed above, women often tend to exhibit anti- social behaviors and impulsiveness if they have a drinking problem. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of alcoholism and seeking professional help as early as possible can go a long way in helping treat alcoholism and helps an alcoholic lead a normal and healthy life.