Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism
There is not really an easy way to determine if your drinking has escalated to a problem of alcohol abuse or even alcoholism (dependency). There is not a definite line in the sand to look at when it comes to someone's drinking to indicate 'hey, you have a problem.' Instead, we have to take a look at a number of factors to determine if someone has an abuse problem or something more serious like dependency (this is also called alcoholism or an alcohol use disorder in today's diagnostic terminology).
The first questions you must ask is are you concerned about your drinking, or has someone expressed concern about how much you consume? This is the first indication that maybe it has gotten out of hand. Some can take or leave being intoxicated, but others cannot get through life without. So what are some of the signs of alcohol addiction? This post will provide some basic indicators for individuals who may think they have a problem, and also indicators for others who may be concerned about a loved one's drinking habits or struggles.
Do I Have a Problem?
A drinking problem can be due to many different factors. One factor that's often looked at is family history of drinking problems. Some folks just have the genes that make them more likely to abuse the bottle than others. Other factors involved are social environment, upbringing and home life, and psychiatric disorders like depression or anxiety. In addition to that first indicator, the inability to drink in moderation, here are some more questions that you can ask yourself about your drinking behaviors.
- Do you feel guilty when you drink?
- Do you hide it from others?
- Have loved ones expressed concern about how much you drink?
- Do you need to drink to feel better?
- Do you drink more than you feel you should?
Does Your Loved One Have a Problem?
It is entirely another concern or problem if it is a loved one that may be drinking too much. The erratic behaviors and the drunkenness takes its toll on everyone involved, even children. But how can you tell if that loved one is struggling with dependency, or just abuse? It may very well be the same thing. You can ask your loved one the same questions provided above, but you can also determine for yourself based on other indicating behaviors such as:
- The time of day they start drinking
- The amount they seem to drink (are they drinking more than they used to?)
- Showing a drop in performance at work, school and at home
- Keeping abnormal hours
- Continuing to drink even when you have expressed concern, or they have promised to cutback
- Blame yourself
- Try to take control
- Try to cover it up
- Enable or help their drinking behavior
- Put up with unacceptable behavior
Getting Help for Alcoholism
In most cases, an alcohol addiction is severe enough that it needs professional treatments and therapies. This can be found through many different programs, but that first step is often the hardest one to take. If you are the one struggling with such problems, you may want to start with your personal physician for recommendations. You may also want to find out more about alcohol treatment programs and providers that are available to you. If it is your loved one struggling with drinking, you may need the help of an interventionist.
You must understand that treatment is not a punishment. It is a program to help you. It helps you to dissect the chaos in your life and your need to medicate with alcohol. It is also a program of rehabilitation, teaching you how to live your life without the need to self-medicate with things. For family members this type of alcohol treatment also provides you with services. Many programs will involve family types of services to help the loved ones of alcoholics with healing and therapies when needed. People can and do recover. It is a process, but now more than ever people are finding through treatment the solutions for alcoholism.