Are you wondering if you or someone you love is an alcoholic? The signs of an alcoholic sometimes aren’t obvious.
They may be passed off as just having a good time, or having a drink with friends. If these occasions get out of hand too often, then it is time to address what may be a problem that can become worse.
There could be dire consequences if the situation isn’t addressed.
In the U.S., there are 15 million adults who have an alcohol use disorder, and alcohol is responsible for 88,000 deaths every year.
If you want to know if your situation needs to be addressed, keep reading to learn the signs of an alcoholic and how to get help.
1. Drink Alone or Feel You Have to Hide It
Are you drinking alone because you don’t want anyone to tell you that you’re drinking too much? Maybe you feel that you have to hide your drinking to avoid feeling judged.
In either case, if you feel that you have to hide how much you drink, you probably have an issue with alcohol.
2. Memory Loss or Blackouts
Drinking to the point where you have to piece together what happened the night before means you drank way too much.
This occurs when your blood alcohol levels are high, and they inhibit the brain to function normally.
If you experience blackouts regularly, you should consider treatment options. Drinking that much regularly could cause irreversible damage to the brain.
3. Drink to Relieve Stress
One of the signs of an alcoholic is to drink to relieve stress. This may seem like a normal drinking behavior, but it is not.
In the long term, drinking to relieve stress can lead to mental health issues like depression and anxiety. This is because you’re not finding healthy ways to cope with stress.
4. Become Isolated or Alone
If you find that you’re hiding your drinking or you want to avoid people altogether so you can drink, you could have a problem.
Alcoholics frequently find themselves isolated or alone because they are uncomfortable being around friends because of their drinking and will become more and more isolated.
This is important to recognize early before the problem gets worse.
5. You’ve Tried to Quit Drinking
Have you tried to quit cold turkey but couldn’t do it?
If you’ve tried to limit or eliminate alcohol and could not do it, you should seek help.
Over time, your body becomes dependent on alcohol, which makes it more difficult to quit on your own with just willpower.
6. You Hang Out with a Different Crowd
You may not be drinking in isolation, but you could be hanging around with a different crowd. You might be mistaking your drinking buddies as your friends. If you tell them that you’ve stopped drinking, see how fast they disappear from your life.
7. Drinking to Feel Better
Alcoholism occurs in stages.
It’s important to know this because many us of will have a drink to “take the edge off” or to feel better if we’ve had a rough day.
8. You’re Irritable or Have Mood Swings
Does your personality change when you drink or when you stop drinking
One of the common signs of an alcoholic is to see mood swings. When a person is addicted to alcohol, they may become aggressive or irritable when they start to drink again.
The same could be true when a person doesn’t drink. They may have severe mood swings or become aggressive because they need to have a drink.
If they calm down after a drink, they may be addicted to alcohol and should seek help.
9. Change in Physical Appearance
When you consistently have high levels of alcohol in your system, your physical appearance can change.
For example, there may be weight loss or weight gain that’s noticeable. There are also changes in the face. You may experience flushed skin or notice blood vessels across your face.
10. Withdrawal Symptoms When You Stop
Have you ever had anxiety, trouble sleeping, or shaky hands when you’re not drinking?
These could be signs that you are going through an alcoholic withdrawal. Your body has physically become addicted to alcohol, and when the level of alcohol is reduced, you suffer from withdrawal symptoms.
How to Get Help
If these signs of an alcoholic hit close to home, it may be time to seek help. There are many options available to get the help that you or your loved one needs.
If you’re dealing with a loved one, approaching them to help may be the most difficult thing to do. An alcoholic may not be themselves and could get defensive.
It’s important not to blame them or come across as attacking them. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment before you talk to them. How would you like to be approached? This will help you find kindness and compassion that will need to be conveyed to get the message through to your loved one.
When you do talk them, don’t start off with You statements like “You’ve been drinking way too much.” This can be seen as blaming.
Instead, use I statements like “I noticed that you’re drinking more and I’m concerned about you.”
That type of approach may open them up to conversation instead of shutting you out.
Treatment centers, such as a private rehab center, can assist with getting the help that an alcoholic needs to recover.
There are some basic things you can expect from treatment centers.
They offer confidential treatment and many have inpatient and outpatient services. Treatment stays range from 30-90 days, which will enable you to get the support that’s needed to get sober.
AA is a nonprofessional group that offers support to people who are recovering from alcoholism. Based on the famed 12-Step Program, AA is a spiritual journey as much as it is a tool to get sober.
Technology Can Aid Recovery
You can also use the power of technology in your sobriety. For instance, in South Korea, doctors are employing virtual reality to help patients.
There are many apps available that can help you maintain sobriety and assist in recovery.
The Warning Signs of an Alcoholic
There’s a difference between drinking socially and drinking to relieve stress and anxiety. When you drink to relieve stress and anxiety. Knowing the signs of an alcoholic to guide you towards making a life-saving decision.
If you or a loved one needs help, there are options available, from smartphone apps to treatments centers.