Signs of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
Alcohol is a psychoactive substance that alters the emotions and behavior of those who abuse it.
People who consume alcohol often do so to celebrate or to socialize. Others use alcohol as a means for physical or mental relief. For many, the casual use of alcohol may turn into habitual misuse or abuse.
In the U.S., there are more than 17 million people who struggle with alcohol abuse, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD).
Alcohol abuse can lead to a number of problems, including alcohol addiction.
Recognizing the symptoms of alcohol abuse can be a crucial first step for those who fear they or a loved one may have a drinking problem.
Common Signs of Alcoholism
Some common signs of Alcoholism include:
- Temporary blackouts or short-term memory loss
- Signs of irritability and mood swings
- Creation of excuses to drink such as to relax, deal with stress, or anything else that normally would not require one to drink
- Choosing to drink over other responsibilities such as family or an occupation
- Drinking alone in secrecy
- A change in appearance and hygiene levels
Alcohol abuse falls under the alcohol use disorder spectrum (AUD). It is often milder or less severe than alcoholism, which is also a variety of this disorder.
With alcohol abuse, a person consumes alcohol to the detriment of their goals, relationships, career, and education. They typically continue to drink despite these complications, which can even include incidents involving law enforcement.
While they may go through periods of abstinence, people who suffer from this level of alcohol use disorder will likely start drinking again if they do not receive the proper treatment.
People who display alcohol abuse symptoms will start to drink more and more frequently. They may continue to drink even after friends and family express concerns about their drinking habits.
At work, one may become chronically late or absent and experience lapses in judgment and unusual emotional displays. A person may also display symptoms of alcoholism and alcohol abuse such as drinking alone or making excuses to drink.
They may feel the need for alcohol to cope with their day and hide their drinking from others. A person who has a problem with alcohol consumption may become hostile when questioned about it, or they may become violent when imbibing.
Developing a physical dependence on and tolerance to alcohol, cravings, and difficulty drinking in moderation are some of the alcoholism symptoms that differ from those associated with alcohol abuse.
Getting Started on the Path to Treatment
Alcohol abusers may not realize they have a problem, and while one may be aware of the symptoms of alcoholism in others, they may have difficulty recognizing the same signs in themselves.
Failure to recognize alcoholism symptoms may lead to dependence and a host of health problems and harmful behaviors, some of which may be life-threatening. In fact, according to NCADD, alcoholism is the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the country.
If you recognize the symptoms of an alcoholic in yourself or in someone you care about, speak with an admissions counselor at True Recovery.
Find Help at True Recovery
Our highly successful treatment programs are individualized to help people who want to discover their true passions and their true selves and truly live a life free of substance abuse.
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