The signs may creep up little by little of an alcohol use disorder. Maybe you find yourself looking forward to the next time you can drink. You may notice you feel sick when the alcohol wears off, or might not even remember the events of the prior evening. You may have even taken to hiding alcohol at work or inside your car. All of these are signs of having a problem with alcohol.
Although it is hard to admit it to ourselves or others, it just doesn’t pay to deny we have an alcohol use disorder (AUD). The longer an AUD progresses unchecked, the more devastating the disease will ultimately be. Learn more below about how to recognize the signs of an AUD, and about how it can be successfully treated.
How Can I Tell if I’m an Alcoholic?
The spectrum of AUD ranges from mild to severe disease. In fact, those with a mild AUD may question whether they even have a problem. Further, some people have an enhanced innate ability to process alcohol and may show few symptoms, even though they could indeed have a moderate AUD.
To help us better determine if we have an AUD, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) has created an online questionnaire. NCADD provides a list of common signs of AUD to consider. The more of these that you recognize in yourself, the greater the chance you have an AUD:
- You avoid friends and family while drinking, preferring to drink alone
- You consume higher quantities of alcohol as time goes on
- You drink in response to stress, sadness, anger, or disappointment
- You have hand tremors the morning after drinking
- You cannot remember things you said or did the night before
- You are experiencing financial, legal, career, or family problems due to drinking
- Your doctor advised you to cut down on alcohol consumption
- You lie about how much alcohol you drink
- You are preoccupied during the day with drinking or crave alcohol
- You drink to intoxication several days in a row
What Are the 4 Signs of Alcoholism?
In most cases, routine alcohol misuse will precede alcoholism. This simply means that problem drinking, when it becomes consistent, can cause tolerance to increase. As tolerance increases, consumption also increases. Over time, alcohol use becomes an intrinsic part of one’s daily routine, which results in an AUD.
4 common signs of alcoholism include:
- Uncontrolled Drinking. Someone suffering from alcoholism will be unable to moderate their drinking behavior. They may wish to stop drinking, but can’t. As tolerance builds, consumption increases. Even when not drinking, they may experience alcohol cravings.
- Behavioral Changes. When someone has an AUD, they may prioritize their drinking at the expense of all else. The person may lose interest in socializing or engaging in their usual pastimes. They may begin to ignore their family and work obligations. They may also begin to ignore their appearance and personal hygiene.
- Negative Consequences. As a result of the drinking, consequences mount. Some examples include losing their job due to poor work performance or excessive absences, their significant relationships may suffer, they may be arrested for a DUI or an assault, or they may experience serious financial consequences due to unpaid bills.
- Withdrawal Symptoms. When an AUD takes hold, the body becomes dependent on the alcohol, so the person has to drink just to avoid feeling adverse effects. When the effects of alcohol wear off, the individual begins experiencing withdrawal symptoms. These include nausea and vomiting, hand tremors or shaking, mental confusion, fever, and irritability.
Treatment for Alcoholism
The disease of alcoholism can be treated through a commitment to abstinence and being willing to adopt a sober lifestyle. This can be achieved with the expert support from a professional treatment program.
Recovery begins with safe, supervised withdrawal management before transitioning to active treatment. The patient then participates in various therapies and activities that help them make needed changes in their lifestyle. Rehabilitation equips the individual with essential recovery skills and ongoing support to help them achieve a sustained, successful recovery.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and is accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer both inpatient and outpatient programs, holistic addiction treatment, drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to heal each individual with respect and dignity, and reflects on our ongoing commitment to meet new challenges. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.