Becoming an alcoholic can subtly happen in many ways: alcohol is legal, and it associates with plenty of social activities and relaxing. There’s nothing wrong with having a drink every once in a while. However, signs and symptoms of alcoholism can appear at any time.
For an alcoholic, the most challenging part of noticing these symptoms is accepting that they could be due to alcoholism. Plenty of justifications can explain why drinking so much might be necessary, but the appearance of lasting effects of alcoholism can vary depending on the individual. Addiction Care Treatment Program provides resources for those showing alcoholic symptoms and those wanting to educate on how to tell if someone is an alcoholic.
Contact our compassionate team now by calling 706-480-8733 to finally get the help you’ve been looking for and deserve. Our team is waiting to recognize signs and symptoms of alcoholism and learning to cope with them.
Catch It Early
More than half of the adults living in America drink alcohol. More seriously, about 16% of the population binge consumes or drinks large alcohol quantities in one period.
With over 10 million residents, Georgia experiences close to the same percentage as the entire United States. 15.8% of its citizens binge-drank in 2015. While this is a problem behavior, it can be hard to tell when it has crossed over into addiction territory.
Someone doesn’t merely turn into an alcoholic instantly. The growth of alcohol abuse starts with subtle drinking habits, as usual, depending on the situation. However, you can still see the signs and symptoms of alcoholism if you pay close attention.
Alcoholic symptoms are much more than heavy drinking, but it is the first and most evident of alcoholism signs. Eventually, the signs and symptoms of alcoholism worsen when the drinker is consuming enough to blackout regularly.
The ability to take a step back and analyze someone’s behaviors is vital when discussing how to tell if someone is an alcoholic. Don’t rule anything out right away. Look at how they behave when sober and how their behavior changes when they drink. You may notice a pattern emerging, featuring any or all of the following signs and symptoms of alcoholism:
- A lack of interest in previously enjoyable activities
- Appearing intoxicated more regularly
- Needing to drink more to achieve the same effects
- Appearing tired, unwell, or irritable
- An inability to say no to alcohol
- Anxiety, depression, or other mental health problems
- Becoming secretive or dishonest
Physical signs and symptoms of alcoholism become more apparent as an alcoholic continues down the proverbial rabbit hole. Weight gain is typical, but weight loss can also occur and is potentially more troubling.
A poor diet can contribute to weight loss, but adding alcohol to the mix can speed up the process. Alcohol also can affect a persons metabolism. Instead of chemically breaking down like food, alcohol continues to circulate due to its chemical attributes making it “insoluble in fats and oils” and able to distribute “…from the blood into all tissues and fluids in proportion to their relative content of water.”
This means that alcohol maintains its chemical makeup but can spread itself throughout the body like water. When this happens, alcohol deceives the body into thinking it has calories to use for energy instead of recognizing the empty calories alcohol carries. If there’s no energy for the body to work, it will begin to burn fat reserves.
If these signs are noticeable, it may be best to seek our experts’ advice before bringing it to their attention. You’ll want to be informed and prepared before addressing the signs and symptoms of alcoholism and suggesting treatment.
Beginning Is The Hardest Part
Attempting to stop drinking alcohol is a positive step, but withdrawals are a significant hurdle. Withdrawals are responses the body has when its routine exposure to an addictive substance is interrupted.
When an alcoholic stops drinking alcohol for any reason, the body experiences symptoms from a few hours to a few days after the last drink. The symptoms can be especially severe in those who have built a high tolerance.
Alcohol tolerance builds by the bottle, priming the body to be dependent on alcohol to function. Having a high tolerance essentially means raising the minimum amount of alcohol required to get drunk. The problem with that is simple: alcoholics want to get drunk, increasing their intake to get there.
For an alcoholic, that sounds like a good time. For their body, it’s detrimental. Some of these withdrawal symptoms will occur when your body becomes highly reliant on alcohol:
- Anxiety or jumpiness
- Shakiness or trembling
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
Are you concerned for someone you know? Then call us today. Our experts can help anyone that is struggling with alcohol addiction. We have the tools and resources need to help get you, or your loved one, back on the right track.
Medical professionals use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, or DSM-5, to diagnose psychiatric disorders, including alcoholism. The DSM-5 uses several criteria to determine a result based on the patient’s behaviors and feelings from the past year. Professionals ask the following questions:
- Have you had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
- More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
- Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
- Experienced craving — a vital need, or urge, to drink?
- Found that drinking — or being sick from drinking — often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
- Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
- Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, to drink?
- More than once, gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
- Continued to drink even though it made you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
- Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
- Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?
Deeper Than You Think
If you are looking to approach a loved one who is displaying signs and symptoms of alcoholism, you can use the same questions, assuming the other person is willing to answer. Some alcoholics might open up about the problem right away. They know their drinking is an issue and can’t seem to find the strength to stop. They even try to convince themselves that they will quit at a specific time, yet never seem to make that thought a reality.
For alcohol abusers in denial, the road gets longer but not impossible to drive on. Functioning alcoholics are usually in denial, which can take several forms, including:
- The belief that they are not alcoholics because their lives are still manageable and successful
- Avoiding recovery because they are “not that bad.”
- Labeling their drinking as a habit or vice rather than an addiction
- Comparing themselves to alcoholics whose lives are more clearly falling apart
- Making excuses for drinking or feeling entitled to drink because they have worked or studied hard (using alcohol as a reward)
- Thinking that drinking expensive brands of liquor or at sophisticated events implies they are not alcoholic
- Experiencing recurrent thoughts that because they have not “lost everything,” they have not hit bottom and are not alcoholic
- Have a “Teflon brain” that forgets the negative consequences of their drinking and only remembers the positive aspects
Do you need further assistance with approaching your loved one? Then call our experts today. Our trained professionals will be able to walk you through the best process for you and your family, one step at a time.
It takes a lot of strength and confidence to approach the signs someone is an alcoholic, especially for people you love and care for. Some people don’t like to get critiques about what they are doing and how they’re doing it. However, sharing your honesty and support with someone you feel shows signs and symptoms of alcoholism can go a long way, and it certainly won’t do more damage than heavy drinking. They may be resentful and deny everything, but this, too, is a sign of needing help.
If alcoholic symptoms are becoming more transparent, reach out to us today for additional professional support. Our resources in Athens, GA, are available for anyone looking to secure adequate treatment for themselves or someone they care about.