Commonly referred to as ‘alcoholism’, alcohol use disorder is a condition that affects nearly 7% of American adults (around 17 million people). It’s characterized by the overwhelming urge to consume alcohol repeatedly and seek intoxication, with little regard to the physical, mental, social, or professional consequences this practice engenders. Falling down this spiral can be easy for those who’ve experienced a traumatic event, such as a loss of a loved one, an accident, or even a divorce. Invariably, there are warning signs to look out for if you, a relative, or a friend has started to abuse alcohol. The following guide sheds light on the most common symptoms of alcoholism, along with who to consult for help and treatment.
For starters, one of the clearest telltale signs involves developing a gradual tolerance for alcohol consumption. When a person feels that a few drinks per day are no longer enough to feel a ‘buzz’, they’ll automatically start consuming more, which bears serious health risks and eventually leads to dependence. Likewise, someone who appears to grow into a heavy drinker over the course of a few weeks can potentially be paving their way to an alcohol use disorder.
Inability to Control Cravings
Not being able to control cravings is another common indicator that someone may be abusing alcohol. In fact, alcoholism is an addiction characterized by an irresistible desire to drink; when you feel that you can no longer get a hold of this urge, consulting one of these centers will help you overcome the issue before it’s too late. Whether you live in Texas or British Columbia, some research and a visit to a specialized facility can be an effective remedy that keeps you falling prey to alcoholism and helps you recover successfully.
Behavioral changes inevitably come with alcohol abuse. Because of the intoxicating effects and their impact on the nervous system, a person may start to experience symptoms of withdrawal, which include severe mood swings, irritability, anger, or even verbal or physical violence. They often also display altered speech, hazy thinking, and impaired reflexes. So, if you no longer recognize your ‘normal’ self, and still choose to drink in excess, it may be time to consult your GP or a health professional for diagnosis and treatment.
Signs of Physical Exhaustion and Neglect
Aside from behavioral changes, a number of physical signs can help tell whether someone is abusing alcohol. Typically, they’ll look more tired than usual, lose a lot of weight, show signs of premature aging, have pale or yellow eyes and skin because of liver damage, and experience frequent blackouts or memory loss. Alcoholism can also be accompanied by dulled hearing, impaired vision, and weakened muscles. In the case of excessive and frequent drinking, a person will also most likely demonstrate poor oral and personal hygiene. A visit to a dermatologist and neurologist may be in order.
Disregard for Regular Interests and Activities
While everybody can lose interest in a favorite hobby or pastime, those prone to alcoholism can suddenly demonstrate utter disregard for anything they were once passionate about. For instance, if a person expresses a sudden lack of interest in traveling, trying out new restaurants, or visiting museums, all in favor of partying or drinking, this should alarm their entourage that they’re on their way to a potential downfall into alcohol abuse.
A Tendency for Covertness and Isolation
In reality, most alcoholics are perfectly aware of the repercussions of their obsessive habits, yet, they still choose to keep drinking. This will push many of them to consume alcohol in secret, out in a bar on their own, or at home once everybody’s asleep. As a result, they will become socially distant from their families and friends and start canceling on plans, all in order to be alone and drink. Needless to say, this self-inflicted isolation can have negative effects on a person’s psychological well-being.
Mental Health Problems
Lastly, but most importantly, a person who starts developing and exhibiting signs of anxiety, depression, or paranoia may be suffering from alcoholism. Because of the physical effects, strained relationships with their entourage, problems at work, etc., alcoholics are naturally more prone to experiencing mental health issues. In that case, signing up for group support meetings or seeking professional help from a therapist can help them break the isolation and recover.
All in all, alcoholism is a widespread phenomenon in modern society that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you, your spouse, a relative, or a co-worker experience some of the symptoms listed here, it’s imperative to acknowledge the illness and go in for a professional assessment. Acknowledging that excessive drinking is causing you severe harm is the first step towards recovery. Finally, be sure to research medical and rehabilitation centers in your area to overcome your issue with alcoholism.