The symptoms of alcohol addiction vary. Some people become physically addicted. Others abuse alcohol habitually or binge drink. Some people drink daily. Others go days between drinking sessions. There is no clear way to define alcoholism. You simply have to look at the symptoms. If you show the signs of alcoholism, you should reach out for help.
If you have symptoms of AUD, you need treatment. The signs of alcohol addiction include:
- Using alcohol to start your day or throughout the day
- Drinking alcohol at work, family functions, or at other inappropriate times
- Trouble with work, relationships, and finances because of alcohol
- Hiding alcohol and lying about your alcohol use
- Withdrawal and cravings when you can't get alcohol
Long-term alcohol addiction has physical signs that include:
- Digestive problems such as ulcers or stomach bleeding
- Increased infections
- Sexual dysfunction
- Skin changes such as jaundice or ruddiness
- Vision problems
- Weight changes
You may notice signs of AUD around a loved one’s living space. They can include empty bottles, hygiene changes, and even a permeating smell of alcohol.
1) You Drink More Than You Should
In most cases, drinking occasionally does not hurt you. But often, people have a drink once in a while, and over time, they start drinking more. Eventually, they drink heavily in volumes that affect their health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CD), moderate drinking consists of 1 drink per day for women or 2 drinks per day for men. If you drink more than this level daily, you are drinking too much.
Binge drinking can also indicate alcohol abuse. For women, binging is 4 or more drinks in 2 hours, and for men, the rate is 5 drinks or more. Research shows that even intermittent binge drinking can damage your liver. Even if you don’t drink regularly, if you binge drink, you may have a problem.
2) Your Thoughts Are Focused on Alcohol
Are you always thinking about alcohol? Before going places, do you make sure alcohol is going to be available? If you have to go somewhere without alcohol, do you anxiously wait for the chance to drink?
If alcohol is taking over your thought patterns, you may be addicted. If you’re constantly thinking about alcohol and where to get your next drink, it’s time to break the cycle and get help.
3) You Almost Always Feel the Effects of Alcohol
Many people who abuse alcohol feel its effects all the time. They are either drinking, hungover, or sick. Note that in many cases, people who drink a lot do not experience hangovers. But they tend to feel sluggish throughout the day. Unfortunately, if you feel like this every day, you may not even know how much alcohol is compromising your life.
4) You Have Stopped Other Hobbies
Alcohol is a big component in many areas of our culture. Many people serve alcohol at parties, drink with meals, or share drinks with coworkers. Drinking socially once in a while can be fine. But having no other hobbies can be a sign of addiction.
This is especially true if you had hobbies but you have quit them all since drinking. Do you no longer enjoy activities without alcohol? Have you stopped activities or hobbies that don’t involve alcohol? Have you stopped pursuing your passions? Do you prefer to only spend time with other people who drink? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, drinking may be taking over your life.
5) Alcohol Creates Problems With Your Life
Alcohol doesn’t just hurt your health. This drug impairs your judgment, changes your personality, and alters your focus in ways that can have serious impacts on your professional, social, or family relationships.
Excessive drinking can cause people to get in trouble at work or even lose their jobs. If you have been late for work due to being hungover, unable to focus while working, or have drank while on the job, alcohol is affecting your professional life.
Drinking can also affect your personal life with your family and friends. Alcohol makes some people angry and more likely to fight with the people they love. Alcohol also causes memory lapses, mood swings, or changes in behavior that can be hard on your personal life. You may make poor decisions that hurt your family.
6) You Continue to Drink in Spite of the Effects
Being drunk or even “tipsy” increases your risk of facing injuries or getting into accidents. This drug may make you more violent. You may take sexual risks or make other poor decisions.
In many cases, people face severe consequences for drinking. They get charged for drunk driving, lose their jobs, or compromise relationships with friends or family. In other cases, they feel depressed or anxious due to drinking. Regardless of how alcohol is affecting your life, continuing to drink in spite of negative effects is a sign of alcoholism.
7) You're Drinking More
Are you drinking more now? Have you watched your drinking increase slowly over the long term or rapidly right after you started drinking? If so, you are not alone. The way alcohol affects your brain tends to cause people to increase how much they drink.
Here’s what happens. When you drink alcohol, your brain releases endorphins. These feel-good chemicals give you a sense of happiness, but over time, your brain wants more and more alcohol to create the same effect. At the same time, your brain starts to have trouble producing endorphins in response to other activities so again, you turn to drinking to feel good.
8) Your Family or Friends Are Worried
Sometimes, you can’t tell on your own that you are drinking too much. But an outsider may be able to see the symptoms of alcohol addiction more clearly. If your friends or family have expressed concern about your drinking, listen to them.
Even if you didn’t appreciate how they approached you, their concerns are in the right place. They care about you, and they want to see you be happy. They can see how alcohol is affecting your life, and they know that you will be better off if you quit drinking.
9) You Can't Stop Drinking
Quitting drinking on your own can be very difficult. Often, people stop, but they start again. If you have tried to quit but were unable to stop, you are struggling with alcohol addiction. The right support can help.
10) You've Had Withdrawal Symptoms
When people are physically addicted to alcohol, they have withdrawal symptoms when they quit. These symptoms are very serious, and they can be deadly. They include anxiety, shaking, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. More severe symptoms include hallucinations and seizures.
You do not need to have all these symptoms. If you have any of the above issues, you are abusing alcohol, and you may be addicted. But you don’t have to struggle alone.
Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
You can get the help you need. At Bedrock Recovery Center, we help people who are struggling with drug and alcohol addictions. We can offer you therapy and services to help you get back on track. Contact us today to learn about our programs.
You deserve good health. You deserve to feel happy. You deserve to live a life without addiction. We can help.