According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 17 million American adults have alcohol use disorders. Another 855,000 Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 years old have alcohol use disorders. If you know the symptoms, you might be able to get help before your drinking turns into an addiction. The following are some common signs:
Legal trouble – This can mean anything from getting busted for underage drinking, public intoxication, committing a crime while drunk (like robbing a liquor store for more alcohol), and driving while intoxicated.
Shifting priorities – The things that used to be important to you, such as family, friends, your work, start to fall by the wayside as drinking consumes more and more of your thoughts. If you find yourself neglecting your responsibilities in favor of alcohol, you might have a problem.
Lying – Do you find yourself lying to the people around you? Maybe you lie about why you came home late, got to work late, or missed a family event, when in truth you were out drinking. Or you lie about why you suddenly have no money when you’ve spent it all on alcohol.
Making excuses – Just because there’s a football game on, or it’s a holiday, or you had a long day at work, there’s no reason why you absolutely have to get drunk. A beer in the evenings is one thing, but frequently finding reasons to get wasted is another.
Isolation – You find yourself ignoring your friends and not going to get-togethers because you’d rather be at home drinking. Maybe you know your friends would disapprove of how much you drink, or maybe you just don’t want to be around sober people.
Then there are the physical symptoms:
High tolerance – You notice that where two beers used to give you a nice buzz, suddenly you can make your way through a six pack with no trouble. The more it takes for you to feel an effect, the more likely you have a drinking problem.
Drinking past your limit – Even if you’ve built up quite a tolerance, there’s still a point where your body throws in the towel. If you recognize that you’re so drunk you couldn’t possibly tell a difference from one more beer, but you have that beer anyway, that may be a sign of alcoholism.
Physical appearance – You might look in the mirror one day and realize that your carefully trimmed beard has turned into something that belongs on a caveman. Or your previously immaculately colored hair has an inch of grown out roots. Have you been neglecting your appearance without even realizing it? Sometimes drinking can overtake your life to the point where you forget to take care of things like appearance and hygiene.
If you recognize any of these signs in yourself, look for help. Call a doctor or a treatment center or look online for resources.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504.