It can be difficult to know if you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol abuse. It can be the case that symptoms aren’t obvious, and the problem can happen over a period of time, so it may seem the norm.
Different cultures accept different levels of drinking, and this makes figuring out the line between social drinking and problem drinking hard to recognise.
Even though there aren’t symptoms of alcohol addiction in every case, there are some signs to look out for.
Hiding your drinking habit
Do you ever find that you feel guilty or ashamed of your drinking? Do you tell lies to others or try to hide your drinking?
If you have found that you have crossed the line from social drinking and you are now finding ways to hide the fact you are drinking alcohol, this indicates that deep down you recognise it could be an issue and that others would judge the habit. Therefore, you seek to hide it.
Using alcohol for a purpose
It can be the case that you find yourself using alcohol for a reason. Drinking alcohol might seem a method to relax, or to forget about problems. This is a common symptom of alcohol abuse.
The use of alcohol when it isn’t appropriate
You may find yourself drinking when you shouldn’t. For example, you may work with machinery or need to drive, and you find yourself doing this after you have drunk alcohol.
This could have already led to repercussions such a drink driving offence or dismissal from work. You may even not have had any alcohol before the event, but due to physical symptoms such as delayed reflexes from the alcohol abuse, it can still be a problem to do certain things.
Needing more alcohol for the same effect
Do you find yourself needing more alcohol to create the same effect? This is due to an increased tolerance.
Tolerance means that over time you will need more and more alcohol to feel the same effects. This is a symptom you may notice by thinking about how much alcohol you used to drink and comparing it to how much you drink now.
People suffering from alcoholism understand the risk of drinking before driving, for instance, but they can’t stop themselves doing it. They are not in complete control of their actions, and if you constantly find that you have to finish a bottle once you open it, you are suffering from alcoholism.
There are several physical symptoms that may indicate a problem with alcohol. Speech is often affected, and you may notice that speech becomes slurred, words are muddled or even forgotten.
Balance can be affected. You may notice symptoms such as stumbling or struggling to walk in a straight line. Do you trip up more than you should or behave in a clumsy manner?
There can be changes in physical appearance. This can lead to symptoms such as a person’s face becoming redder than normal. Heavy drinkers may also carry extra weight. This is due to the high level of calories in alcohol and poor diet that can accompany a drinking problem.
Memory Loss or black outs
Often when the use of alcohol becomes an issue, people note they have periods of time through the day they just don’t remember.
You may find yourself falling asleep at unusual times of the day even when at work. You may be passing out after consuming too much alcohol. If this is happening to you, it’s time to assess your relationship with alcohol.
Can’t stop once you start
It can become clear that alcohol is a problem when you can’t stop drinking. This could be once you have started drinking that day, or just breaking the promises to yourself or others that you will stop.
It is important if you recognise any of these symptoms or believe you have a problem to speak to a professional and take steps to get treatment for the dependency on alcohol.