Trying to decide whether you are struggling with alcoholism or possibly drinking just a little too much will require you to take a closer look at your drinking. Do you find yourself drinking alone? Do you crave an alcoholic beverage when you wake up? Do you lie to people about how much you have had to drink? These are all possible warning signs of alcoholism and should be addressed to decide whether some form of treatment is needed.
When left untreated, alcoholism can spiral out of control very quickly. When a person develops a drinking problem and it starts to affect their life in a harmful manner, this is diagnosed as an alcohol use disorder (AUD). According to a study, in 2014 there were 16 million American adults in the United States alone that were diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder.
What are some warning signs of alcoholism?
Detecting key indicators of alcohol abuse can be accomplished by identifying a variety of universal warning signs. Some of these signs are easily recognizable while others may be harder to identify yourself. While you might be able to realize you potentially have or are developing a problem with drinking, it may be easy to normalize some bad habits, making it harder for others to notice and preventing you from getting the help you need.
Isolation can be extremely unhealthy and is one of the most common warning signs of alcoholism. Some individuals may hide their drinking from others by drinking alone and separating themselves from family or group activities. This can make it difficult for family members or loved ones to step in and help you.
Denial is a key reason why a large number of people do not receive the treatment that is needed to overcome alcohol addiction. Denying you need help or even that you have a problem with drinking can have serious health-related consequences. Some individuals will start to rationalize their drinking, coming up with excuses as to why they need to drink throughout the day. Others will get defensive when approached about their drinking, oftentimes blaming others for why their drinking is out of control.
Anger and irritability are some of the most common symptoms associated with alcoholism. Alcohol is notorious for making people feel angry, and this is due to the fact that heavy drinking prevents the brain from functioning normally, preventing the brain from receiving a normal amount of dopamine. This can result in a person having mood swings and feeling angry towards themselves and others.
When a person starts drinking heavily, their tolerance for alcohol can skyrocket. When this happens the individuals will need to consume more alcohol to feel the same effects as they would with a normal amount. Every alcoholic is different but with heavy alcohol use, the outcome is almost always the same. Heavy drinking deteriorates the body, creating health problems such as memory loss, weight loss, and tremors.
After developing an addiction to alcohol, individuals can experience withdrawals as soon as 2 hours after their last drink. Alcohol withdrawal requires medical attention and can be especially dangerous, sometimes resulting in death. Some common symptoms of withdrawal are:
- Shaky Hands
- Heart palpitations
- Increased Blood Pressure
- Increase Heart Rate
If you are experiencing alcohol withdrawal you should seek medical attention. Symptoms can start off mild, gradually getting worse over time. The most severe alcohol withdrawal symptom is Delirium Tremens which involves sudden and severe mental and nervous system changes.
Health Risks of Alcoholism
According to Medical News Today, heavy drinking has been linked to over 60 different health conditions. Although drinking every once in a while probably won’t affect your overall health, heavy drinking can significantly reduce the lifespan of an individual. Alcoholism is one of the leading preventable causes of death. Some common health conditions associated with heavy drinking are:
- Ulcer and Gastrointestinal problems
- Immune system disfunction
- Brain damage
- Heart disease
- Accidents and injuries
According to the CDC, heavy drinking is defined as having more than 4-5 drinks daily for men, and for women 3-4 drinks daily. Alcohol is one of the most widely abused substances in the United States, partly due to the fact that it’s legal to buy if you are over the age of 21, making it highly accessible to individuals throughout America.
Alcoholism is a destructive disease that nobody should have to fight alone. At Knoxville Recovery Center we understand how difficult it can be to try and quit drinking. After all, our treatment center was created by people in recovery for people in recovery.
Through our detox program and addiction treatment services, we will help stabilize individuals suffering from addiction and identify the underlying reasons for what led to addiction in the first place. We will give you the tools necessary to create healthy coping mechanisms to prevent future relapse. Our various types of therapy and counseling services are designed to give you the capability of being fully immersed in the healing and recovery process.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, call our highly trained staff today and give yourself the chance of living the life you deserve.