Warning Signs of Alcoholism
Alcoholism is not always easy to notice; it takes many forms, and its warning signs can be quite subjective.
That said, we can offer several types of behaviors that may indicate a misuse of alcohol. Within our descriptions, note the boldfaced words. These indicate sub-symptoms you may also recognize. To quote an anonymous speaker, “Pain is the only knife sharp enough to cut through denial.” If you or your loved one are in pain, it’s time to look for help.
- Secrecy – One of the most common warning signs of alcoholism is secrecy. Secrecy comes into play with most people who are addicted to alcohol, and generally occurs because they fear judgment or fear someone will interfere with their drinking. Alcohol is often used for self-medication, and people who are addicted will rationalize their use. For example, they may say they need a drink every night to relax. The most ironic thing about secrecy is that in a way, it can actually serve as acknowledgement that someone is powerless over alcohol. If someone knows they need to stop, but can’t, they no longer have control. The general rule is, if people are telling you that you have a drinking problem, they’re probably right.
- Drinking in dangerous situations – Like any other drug, alcohol leads those who misuse it to develop a tolerance, meaning that they must consume more and more alcohol to create the effect they are looking for. Tolerance leads to dependency, and dependency leads to withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal can be deadly in severe cases; in milder cases it may present with flu-like symptoms and psychiatric symptoms like anxiety, depression, and irritability. An increase in alcohol tolerance can often lead to regular blackouts.
- Relationship problems – All the above warning signs of alcoholism are almost always coupled with relationship and other interpersonal issues. Drinking takes time and energy, and people with addiction often drink much more and for longer periods of time than others. This leads to conflict with significant others and family members; it can lead to the person withdrawing from their normal social circles and activities, and performing poorly at work or school. A normally social person may become reclusive; if they remain social, social events must revolve around alcohol.
There are many warning signs of alcohol addiction; these are but a few. If these sound familiar, it’s worth researching further. There are no negative consequences to research, but there are many to allowing drug and alcohol abuse to continue unchecked.
If you are noticing warning signs of alcoholism in yourself or a loved one, please contact us anytime at 337.456.9111.
Smith, M.A., M., Robinson, L., & Segal, Ph.D., J. (2015, August 1). Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse: Signs, Symptoms, and Help for Drinking Problems. Retrieved October 20, 2015, from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/addiction/alcoholism-and-alcohol-abuse.htm.
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