It’s hard to be objective when assessing whether or not you or a loved one has a drinking problem. Emotions run high, and it’s hard to understand where the line is between what is acceptable and when it’s gone too far. Although boundaries may be fuzzy, there are classic signs of alcohol dependence that materialize in different ways. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one having a drinking problem, we’ve put together ten common warning signs of alcohol addiction.
1. Failing to cut down on consumption.
Do you find that you are actively trying to cut down, but the temptation gets the better of you? Over time, drinking causes physical dependence which makes it that much harder to kick the habit. Feeling the need to finish an entire bottle of wine, liquor, or beer once it’s opened shows a lack of control. The inability stop drinking is the first sign of addiction.
2. Your cravings for alcohol affect your concentration.
The term “craving” refers to a range of thoughts and feelings that tempt you to drink, even when you know you shouldn’t. These urges begin to manifest the body becomes dependent on alcohol to function. Because alcohol is a depressant, withdrawal occurs when the brain produces excessive adrenaline. Your mind begins to race a mile a minute, and you struggle to focus without it.
3. Pathological lying.
Being dishonest about the amount of alcohol you consume, especially to friends and family, highlights problems with alcohol. Denial is a pervasive problem amongst alcoholics, but it’s a crucial sign of a more serious problem. If you can’t talk truthfully about your drinking, you’ll need to seek professional assistance. At the end of the day, if you thought it was normal, you wouldn’t be lying to cover it up.
4. Blacking out when you drink.
Drinking to the point of blacking out is a red flag that there is an underlying issue. The inability to recall events after a heavy night of consumption means there was an excessive amount of alcohol in the bloodstream. If this is happening every time you drink, you’ll want to seek treatment. Long-term alcohol abuse can cause permanent brain damage.
5. You experience shakiness in your hands.
Trembling hands the day or night after a lot of drinking is a sign of nerve damage due to excess intake of alcohol. Additionally, you can experience these symptoms if you’ve been drinking a lot and then suddenly stop. It’s called “delirium tremens,” and in short paints a broader picture of physical dependence. Living with this issue will make it harder to complete simple tasks, like writing.
6. Having strained relationships with family and friends.
Frequent arguments with loved ones about drinking problems denote your habits are more severe than you think. Experts agree issues within close personal relationships is a clear sign that drinking has become problematic. If you can’t give up alcohol for those who mean the most to you in life, you may be addicted.
7. You find yourself dealing with increased anxiety, insomnia, or nausea when you stop drinking.
Anyone would argue the symptoms mentioned above are just a part of a routine hangover. When the liver works hard to process the toxins found in alcohol, it’s possible to find your body and mind are not at ease. It becomes a red flag when these signs are present days after you’ve tried to stop drinking. It’s your body’s way of telling you that you are going through withdrawal.
8. You have a drink first thing in the morning.
There really is no need to drink first thing in the morning, unless your body is addicted to alcohol. If you feel like you can’t make it through the day unless you start with a drink, chances are you need to seek help immediately. Drinking before driving to work impairs your vision and response time which puts your life in danger and relationships at risk.
9. Neglecting your daily responsibilities.
When alcohol has crossed the line from the occasional indulgence to something more serious, it collides with your ability to complete day-to-day activities. You might notice you are falling behind on deadlines at work, failing to do your half of the household chores or forgetting to
pick up kids at school. Frequent, yet small incidents like these that creep in are indicative of a more significant issue.
10. Finances are affected by your need to drink.
The first expense associated with excessive drinking is the cost of the alcohol itself. Whether it’s purchased from a bar or liquor store, you have to obtain it before you can start drinking. On average, you can expect to pay $260 a month just to keep up the habit. Drinking can also negatively impact your finances when you spend unwisely while under the influence, you lose your job, or have medical expenses for treating injuries related to drinking.
Are you or a loved one struggling struggling with alcohol? Contact us today for more information. Give us a call at (860) 927-3772 or fill out our confidential online form at this link.