The federal government estimates that the average American consumes 2.3 gallons of pure alcohol each year. Since many people imbibe, it can be challenging to know when someone is drinking too much. What are the signs of alcohol abuse, and how will you know when it’s time for alcohol addiction treatment? Here are some common signs of alcoholism to watch out for.
What is Alcoholism?
Before you can recognize the signs of alcohol addiction, you must first learn what the disease is. It involves being unable to manage your drinking. For example, you may drink despite the known dangers. You may also find it impossible to avoid using alcohol or to stop drinking once you have started.
These days, clinicians often refer to alcoholism as Alcohol Use Disorder or AUD. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 14.4 million American adults suffer from the condition. Of those, fewer than eight percent received alcohol addiction treatment treatment during the past year.
What Are Some Common Signs of Alcoholism?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders lists 11 symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder. The first involves consuming alcohol in more significant amounts or for a longer period than initially intended. Some other signs include:
• Making unsuccessful attempts to quit
• Spending a great deal of time using or recovering from alcohol
• Having cravings for alcohol
• Failing to meet basic obligations due to drinking
• Giving up social or recreational activities to drink
• Continuing to use despite the physical or mental health problems caused by alcohol
• Using even when it is dangerous to do so
Developing a tolerance to alcohol is another telltale sign. Strong tolerance to alcohol can lead to withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, shakes, or hallucinations.
Effects of Alcohol on the Body
Alcohol addiction can consume your life and cause irreparable damage to your body if not addressed quickly. The effects of alcohol on the body can be influenced by many factors such as the amount of alcohol consumed, medical history, alcohol tolerance, as well as other drugs – legal or illegal – mixed with alcohol. Chronic and excessive alcohol consumption is associated with many severe health problems. Below are some of the ways alcohol may affect the body:
Stages of Alcohol Use Disorder
Physicians classify Alcohol Use Disorder as either mild, moderate, or severe. Your condition is mild if you display only two or three symptoms. It’s considered moderate if four or five symptoms are present. When six or more symptoms are present, you have severe AUD.
Alcoholism tends to begin slowly, with only a few symptoms. It then becomes more dangerous the longer you drink. Don’t wait until you have a severe form of AUD to seek an alcohol rehab center. Contact us right away if you or a loved one show any of the above signs of alcoholism.
Those with alcohol abuse disorder do not always have messy lives. Some are referred to as “high-functioning alcoholic” because they appear healthy on the outside. For example, many have great careers, lovely homes, lots of friends, and what seems to be a strong family. These individuals can successfully hide their alcohol abuse for months or even years. They may also deny they even have a problem because of their success.
Someone in this category may talk about drinking often. They might joke about their alcohol use to downplay the severity of it. A high-functioning alcoholic regularly drinks alone or first thing in the morning. Many will claim they “need” to drink to soothe their nerves or unwind after a hard day.
Chronic, long-term drinking can lead to serious health problems such as cirrhosis of the liver. It also increases one’s risk of alcohol poisoning, accidental death, or DUI. Don’t be afraid to confront someone about his or her alcohol use, even if it appears that a person has it all together. Learn how to help an alcoholic by looking for hidden signs that might indicate someone is hiding his or her alcohol use.
Risk Factors for Alcohol Abuse
Scientists are not quite sure what causes alcoholism. However, many believe that genetics does play a role. Accordingly, you have a higher chance of developing alcohol use disorder if a close relative also suffers. You are also at risk if you grew up in a family where drinking was considered normal or even encouraged.
Those with a mental health disorder have a higher-than-average risk of substance abuse. As such, you should watch for the signs of alcoholism in anyone diagnosed with depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or anxiety.
Over time, regular drinking can lead to a high tolerance for alcohol. Someone with a high tolerance may also consume ever-increasing amounts of alcohol without feeling any effects. If you purposely drink more to feel drunk, the odds of you developing alcohol use disorder are much higher.
Men suffer from AUD more often than women do. Approximately 7.6 percent of adult men are alcoholics, as opposed to only 4.1 percent of women. Males are also more than twice as likely to experience alcohol-related deaths than women.
Comprehensive Rehab Programs
If you are wondering how to help an alcoholic, you’ve come to the right place. At our rehab facility, we offer a variety of resources to assist people in achieving sobriety. A few of the programs we might include in your treatment plan are:
• Individual therapy
• Group therapy
• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
• Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
• Family therapy
• Relapse prevention
Any rehab plan to beat alcohol abuse should always start with medical detox. Through detox, you can learn to manage the physical withdrawal symptoms. At the same time, you can learn ways to cope with your cravings so you will not want to take a drink again. By the time you have finished detox, you will be ready for the challenging rehab that lies ahead.
Following detox, we’ll provide you with a custom treatment plan designed by our experienced addiction specialists. Created with your needs in mind, this plan will allow you to achieve optimum results, with the end goal being total sobriety. Surrounded by our compassionate staff, you’ll have the best possible opportunity in which to attain success.
Beat your Alcohol Addiction
Do you or a loved one display the signs of alcohol abuse? Has your drinking caused considerable damage to your personal, professional, or social life? Stop denying you have a problem and reach out to us right now for assistance. Call us at to take a very positive, life-changing step toward recovery.