While the national spotlight is currently on the Opioid Epidemic, over 54,000 deaths in 2015 were caused directly by alcohol or chronic alcoholic liver disease. Alcohol, despite being socially accepted, is still tearing apart households affected by alcoholism.
But what differentiates someone who is simply a heavy drinker versus someone with true alcoholism? Here are the signs that a loved one may have a serious problem with alcoholism requiring treatment.
Heavy drinking invariably leads to consequences, regardless of any attempts to control them. The problem drinker will typically never connect these consequences with drinking, however, instead blaming almost anything else. A classic example of this is the problem drinker who receives a DUI for driving while intoxicated. While a normal person will correlate this with drinking and cease drinking and driving, the problem drinker will instead blame this on anything else, such as bad luck.
The problem drinker will also blame deteriorating personal relationships on the other person, rather than their behavior as the result of alcoholism. The same applies for troubles in the workplace. While the loved ones of an alcoholic will clearly see the connection alcohol has to these consequences, the problem drinker will often be completely blind to this link.
As the drinking problem becomes harder for the alcoholic to hide, he or she will often retreat from social situations and begin to drink alone. Drinking alone will often start to occur once the loved ones of the alcoholic begin to confront them. Regularly drinking alone is often a serious sign that a loved one may have an alcohol problem.
Blackout drinking refers to when someone becomes drunk to the extent that they have little or no recollection of what occurred and their actions while drinking once they sober up. While this may occur infrequently to the normal drinker by mistake, it is often a common occurrence for the alcoholic.
In fact, it often is actually the goal of the alcoholic to achieve a blackout drunk. Blackout drinking is particularly dangerous, and often leads to at the very least embarrassing situations, and up to grave legal consequences.
Dangerous decision making
As heavy drinking crosses the line into actual alcoholism, the loved one will often begin displaying decision-making that is outright careless and dangerous. As physical dependency on alcohol begins to necessitate round the clock drinking, alcoholics will begin regularly driving drunk daily.
Those with alcoholism will also often place themselves in dangerous situations in which they can be taken advantage of, suffer legal consequences, or face bodily injury. Dangerous health decisions, such as drinking and neglecting food intake to the point of malnutrition, also are often signs of alcoholism.
The “DT’s” – Delirium Tremens
With alcoholism comes physical dependency on alcohol. In the absence of alcohol, the alcoholic will begin to show symptoms of delirium tremens. These begin with simple tremors (aka “the shakes”), and lead to severe confusion and life-threatening seizures. Delirium tremens are a clear sign that a loved one has a serious problem with alcoholism, and if left untreated may result in fatal seizures.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.