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signs of alcohol abuse

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse, 6.2% of adults have a chronic relapsing brain disease called Alcohol Use Disorder, or AUD. This disorder is characterized by a lowered ability to control alcohol use despite all consequences. People who deal with AUD and alcohol addiction often don’t realize how severe their drinking has affected their lives. Knowing the signs of alcohol abuse early on is important.

Alcohol addiction is dangerous and can lead to death. If you or someone you love is experiencing any of these signs, you may want to consider entering into recovery or an addiction intervention. 

You Drink For Comfort 

Many people use drinking as a way to loosen up during social events. For most people, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a drink or two at a social function or relaxing after a long day of work. But if you find that you can’t relax or loosen up without a drink, you’re using alcohol as a coping mechanism. 

When you self-medicate with alcohol, you can cause lifelong, irreversible damage to your body. It can also lead to alcoholism that can have devastating consequences beyond your own personal health. 

You Get Blackout Drunk 

When you drink too much, the alcohol in your system impairs your brain’s ability to create new memories. The more alcohol you drink, the less memory you will retain. This leads to a symptom of alcohol abuse called “blackout drinking.” 

If you wake up from a night of partying and realize that there are chunks of the evening that you can’t remember, this is a good sign that you have a problem with alcohol. Most people don’t experience blackout drinking after a drink or two, but after overindulging in alcohol in a short period of time. 

If you’re not sure of your alcohol threshold and go overboard one time, you likely don’t have anything to worry about. As long as you can get control of your drinking and monitor your intake the next time you decide to have a few beers, you won’t make a habit out of it. 

But if you notice that you wake up and can’t remember what you did the night before regularly, you need to seek treatment. 

You Hide Your Drinking 

Another good sign that you have an alcohol abuse problem is that you hide when you drink. Whether it’s lying about how many beers you’ve had or hiding your empty wine bottles in the bottom of the trash can, you’re hiding for a reason. Whether you feel shame for the amount you’ve had to drink or you don’t want to face the social consequences of drinking too much, you should talk to someone. 

Alcoholism is a disease that is steeped in shame. Don’t let that shame keep you from getting the help you deserve. 

You Only Drink Alone 

This sign goes hand in hand with the last one. If you prefer to drink alone, take some time to figure out why. Do you not like dealing with people when you’re drunk? Or are you struggling because you don’t want people to know just how much you drink?

Drinking isn’t always a social activity. Having a glass of wine when you unwind with a book can be a great way for many people to rest after a hard day. But if you’re pounding back beer after beer on your own, it could mean that you need to seek help. 

You Have a High Drinking Tolerance 

Have you noticed that you need to drink more and more alcohol to experience the same effects that used to take one or two drinks? This is a sign that your body is building a tolerance to alcohol. 

In a society where we glorify and uplift people who can consume lots of alcohol, it may seem like a right of passage. However, when your body needs more alcohol to experience the relaxing effects, you could be developing an addiction. 

The more alcohol you consume, the more you’ll have to consume. This could lead to a serious problem if you don’t get a handle on your drinking. 

Your Personality Changes When You’re Drunk 

Alcohol is a depressant. If you drink too much, it can cause your brain chemistry to become unbalanced. Every person has a unique brain chemical makeup and everyone experiences the effects of alcohol a little differently. 

If you become depressed, anxious, or violent when you drink, it could be a sign that you need to back off the alcohol or seek treatment if you can’t. 

Alcohol Has Hurt Your Relationships 

Alcohol makes it difficult for us to clearly see the line that divides what is appropriate and what is inappropriate in relationships. It can cause us to act out in certain ways, whether it be through anger or unwanted advances. Our inhibitions start to fade away as we drink more alcohol and we may do things drunk that we would never do sober. 

If you notice that alcohol use has put a strain on some of your relationships, it may be time to seek treatment. 

You Experience Withdrawal When You Stop Drinking 

If you have a hard time when you try to stop drinking, that’s a clear sign that you have an alcohol problem.

Likewise, if you experience withdrawal when you stop drinking, it means your body has developed a dependency on the alcohol to function. Some common signs to look out for are: 

  • Shaking 
  • Headache 
  • sweats 
  • Anxiety 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 

Depending on the severity of your dependence, you could have seizures, hallucinations, and even fever. Getting help from an alcohol treatment facility can help you manage these symptoms. 

Do You Recognize These Signs of Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol abuse runs rampant throughout the United States. To make matters worse, it is often glorified in the media and used as a status symbol for people of all ages. But if you’re not careful, prolonged alcohol abuse could lead to injury or death. 

If you or someone you love have any of these signs of alcohol abuse, it may be worth it to stage an intervention. The sooner you can get a handle on alcohol abuse, the healthier you’ll be. 

For more information about alcohol abuse treatment, contact us today.