6 Irrefutable Signs of an Alcoholic
The word alcoholic is too easily thrown around these days by wine lovers and college students. Often people don’t know the true definition of an alcoholic or the warning signs.
In America, over 80,000 people die from alcohol-related deaths each year. It’s a sad statistic but recognizing the problem is how we can help.
It is important to know the warning signs of an alcoholic since a staggering 7,000 children under 16 take their first sip of alcohol each year.
This is a huge problem when you consider that kids under 15 who start drinking are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who start drinking at the legal age of 21.
In this article, we’ll dive into what it means to be an alcoholic and what to look for whether it’s in yourself or a friend or family member. Let’s get started.
What Defines an Alcoholic?
There is more to being an alcoholic than how much you drink. One must consider how often they drink, what the effects are during and after drinking, and what happens when they try to limit alcohol consumption.
There are differences between being a heavy drinker, a binge drinker, an alcohol abuser, and an alcoholic. Alcoholics suffer from the disease called alcoholism, the dependence of alcohol.
An alcoholic cannot control the amount nor time at which they drink. Like many diseases, alcoholism has levels of severity.
Surefire Signs of an Alcoholic
If you’re worried about yourself or someone you know abusing alcohol, these signs and questions may help you realize that there is a serious problem going on and to reach out for professional help.
1. Choosing Booze Over Other Obligations
If you or someone you love put the bottle before other obligations–such as hanging out with friends and family, a job, or school–then there is a greater problem at hand.
Choosing to drink over social plans, engagements, and responsibilities is not normal behavior, and often an alcoholic will make excuses for this behavior. When drinking gets between you and your social and professional life, then it is time to consider getting help.
2. Constant Cravings
Alcoholism is a dependency, which means that alcoholics have uncontrollable urges to drink during the day.
Have you ever felt the urge to drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or defer the symptoms of your impending hangover? Do you make excuses for your drinking as in ‘you need it to feel normal’ or ‘to deal with stress’?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, be wary.
3. Secret Drinking
Drinking excessively alone or hiding your drinking is a major warning sign of alcoholism. If you feel the need to conceal your drinking from others, are ashamed of how much you drink, or get annoyed with people commenting on your drinking, you may have a problem.
Alcoholics often hide their drinking to escape facing their issues head-on. They don’t want others to know they have a problem or force them to get treatment. This causes them to isolate themselves from family and friends to hide their secret.
4. Blackouts and Memory Loss
Have you ever woke up after a night of heavy drinking not remembering the events that occurred? Do you experience memory loss often after drinking?
If this happens frequently, you may have a dangerous issue, and it is important to seek help. Alcohol impairs the brain after a few drinks, but for heavy drinkers, the damage can be more serious.
Upwards of 80% of alcoholics have a deficiency in thiamine, an essential nutrient required the tissue in your body, most importantly, your brain. This deficiency leads to very serious and damaging brain diseases that cause mental confusion, paralysis of the ocular nerves, and difficulty with muscle coordination.
5. Withdrawl Symptoms
A hangover is the normal symptom of too much alcohol after a night out and having one doesn’t make you an alcoholic. An alcoholic exhibits much more serious withdrawal symptoms when cutting down or eliminating booze.
These symptoms can be anything such as nausea, shaking, irritability, anxiety, mood swings, vomiting, mental cloudiness, headaches, and depression. These symptoms can occur within the first 2-6 hours after your last drink.
More severe alcoholics can experience withdrawal symptoms as serious as agitation, fever, hallucinations, confusion, and seizures. The symptoms may take longer to set in but can last for several days.
6. Problems With Work, School, or Relationships Related to Alcohol
Have you ever gotten yourself into trouble or situations that have harmed yourself or other when drinking? Have you experienced trouble with the law while drinking?
More often than not, an alcoholic’s drinking interferes with their life, causing troubled relationships. It is common for alcoholics to experience problems with work or school schedules since they prioritize drinking over other commitments and aren’t sober when they need to be.
Whether it’s you or a loved one in this situation, getting addiction help can be difficult, but we are here to help. Read this article for tips on how to convince an addict they need help.
What Can You Do?
Alcoholism is a serious disease, but luckily, each stage of alcohol abuse is treatable. If the signs of an alcoholic apply to you or someone you know, it is important to seek help.
Substance abuse treatment centers provide everything from inpatient and outpatient services, interventions, and detox programs. Programs do more than treat the physical aspects of the disease but also address the psychological aspects of abuse as well.
Contact us today to find out more information on our customized addiction treatment programs. Help is only a phone call away.