Alcohol abuse is a very tricky subject. It can be difficult to know when a line has been crossed from enjoying a drink socially to becoming dependent on alcohol. Alcohol addiction can come in many forms and happen to anyone from any walk of life.
It doesn’t discriminate. The issue is that the problem grows over time, with nothing really noticeable about the habit changing day-to-day.
It’s only when you look back and consider how much alcohol you used to drink and compare it to now that it can become apparent there is an abuse problem.
You may be concerned about your own habits with alcohol or you may have seen the signs of dependency on alcohol in some you care about.
What does alcohol abuse look like from the outside?
Ask anyone to picture an alcoholic and they are likely to paint a similar picture. In reality, this is not the case. Alcohol abuse can impact anyone, from any culture or background. You may not be able to spot someone has an alcohol problem unless you know them quite well.
In knowing the person, you may be able to spot subtle changes in their behaviour. You may not even know this is down to alcohol abuse initially as abusers are usually very good at hiding the problem, but you may be aware something isn’t quite right.
You may recognise the issue yourself if it is you who is dependent on alcohol. If you find yourself craving alcohol and unable to stop drinking, it could be that you have become dependent on alcohol.
What is always the same is that the person who is abusing alcohol needs to admit there is a problem.
Symptoms of alcohol abuse
There are some clearer signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse, but sometimes the more subtle signs are the ones that present themselves first.
Behaviour to look for could include:
- hiding alcohol intake
- making excuses to drink
- mood swings, irritability, anger and aggression
- a hangover, even if the person claims they haven’t been drinking
- cravings and withdrawal symptoms
Seeking help for alcohol abuse
Alcohol abuse is, unfortunately, a very common problem. This means there are lots of ways to seek help.
If it is you with the problem, acknowledging the issue is the first step. If you believe someone else has the problem, having an honest discussion with them is important and finding out the extent of the issue. You could direct them to websites such as How to Stop Drinking for them to assess the situation themselves.
Once the problem has been acknowledged the next step is to decide how to tackle the abusive relationship with alcohol. These early days are the hardest and it does get easier. Many people have beaten dependency on alcohol, it is about seeking the right help.
There are many routes to beating the addiction. The NHS offer counselling, there are private rehabilitation centres and there is counselling available, amongst other methods.
Online counselling may be preferable if you want to remain anonymous. You need to select the best method for you and remember there are many experts available to support and help you.
People can and do beat alcohol abuse every day.