How To Identify An Alcoholic: Signs And Symptoms Of Alcohol Abuse

Many people addicted to alcohol also turn to 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). There are also other support groups that don’t follow the 12-step model, such as SMART Recovery and Sober Recovery. When is it common in society, it can be hard to tell the difference between someone who likes to have a few drinks now and then and someone with a real problem. To learn more about alcohol treatment options and search for quality care near you, please visit the NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator.

As a result of consuming too much alcohol, certain physiological symptoms of alcoholism will appear and work colleagues or teachers will definitely start to notice this. Alcoholics might have troubles getting to work or school on a regular basis and might eventually get poor grades or low-performance feedback which in turn will worsen the situation. Alcohol abuses also have a hard time focusing for long stretches of time. There are other ways alcoholics tend to deny the issue and that is by blaming others for various problems. In some cases, alcoholics point out a stressful job or relationship as the source for their bad drinking habits. Alcoholics also try to rationalize this behavior by finding “excuses” to get drunk such as a going to a friend’s birthday party, attending a live event, etc.

Experiencing Blackouts After Binge Drinking

For example, any alcohol consumption by a pregnant person can be considered alcohol misuse, as well as drinking under the legal age of 21. However, since alcohol affects people in different ways, recognizing AUD in yourself or in others can be subjective and challenging. Read on to learn more about the symptoms, risk factors, treatments, diagnosis, and where to get support. When all behaviors and health problems are taken into consideration, a doctor may determine that a person’s drinking is in fact an addiction.

Millions of readers rely on for free, evidence-based resources to understand and navigate mental health challenges. Please donate today to help us save, support, and change lives. If someone has been binge drinking and is an unconscious or semiconscious state, their breathing is slow, their skin clammy, and there’s a powerful odor of alcohol, they may have alcohol poisoning. Many drinking problems start when people use alcohol to self-soothe and relieve stress (otherwise known as self-medicating). Getting drunk after every stressful day, for example, or reaching for a bottle every time you have an argument with your spouse or boss.

Alcohol Addiction & Abuse: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

They may also use blood tests to assess your overall health, paying special attention to areas of the body most impacted by alcohol, including the brain and other parts of the nervous system, as well as the heart and liver. Treatment of AUD focuses on relieving symptoms of alcohol withdrawal in the short term and then suppressing alcohol cravings in the long term. Because denial is common, you may feel like you don’t have a problem with drinking.

There is help and support available for both you and your loved one. Those problems could include depression, an inability to manage stress, an unresolved trauma from your childhood, or any number of mental health issues. Such problems may become more prominent when you’re no longer using alcohol to cover them up. But you will be in a healthier position to finally address them and seek the help you need. You don’t have to be homeless and drinking out of a brown paper bag to be an alcoholic.

Do I Have an Alcohol Problem?

An intervention from loved ones can help some people recognize and accept that they need professional help. If you’re concerned about someone who drinks too much, ask a professional experienced in alcohol treatment for advice on how to approach that person. If you can stay within these limits (and not use other substances), the NIAAA found that only 2 out of 100 people develop alcohol use disorder. This doesn’t mean it’s not possible and it doesn’t mean that alcoholism can’t develop or progress later; it just means that it is less likely to be found in people drinking at those levels. Symptoms of alcohol use disorder can range from mild to severe. Even mild symptoms can have negative effects in a person’s life, both personally and professionally.

how to recognize signs and symptoms of alcoholism and alcohol abuse

Combined with medications and behavioral treatment provided by health care professionals, mutual-support groups can offer a valuable added layer of support. Not all alcohol abusers become full-blown alcoholics, but it is a big risk factor. Sometimes alcoholism develops suddenly in response to a stressful change, such as a breakup, retirement, or another loss. Other times, it gradually creeps up on you as your tolerance to alcohol increases. If you’re a binge drinker or you drink every day, the risks of developing alcoholism are greater.

Effects of alcohol misuse

When alcohol use begins to interfere with your daily life, it is time to seek treatment and find recovery from addiction. If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism, call us to get information about available facilities, treatments, therapies, helpful facts about alcohol abuse, and the path to recovery. Today, we know that the symptoms of alcoholism can vary from one person to the next.

how to recognize signs and symptoms of alcoholism and alcohol abuse

However, when you lose control of your drinking, compulsively consume alcohol despite negative consequences, and/or experience cravings when not drinking, you may have developed an addiction to alcohol. When alcoholism is severe, an individual how to recognize signs and symptoms of alcoholism and alcohol abuse may develop a physical dependence on the drug. That said, regular heavy drinking is an important warning sign for alcohol addiction, according to addiction experts at the
National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Frequently Asked Questions About Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Experiencing repeated legal problems on account of your drinking. For example, getting arrested for driving under the influence or for drunk and disorderly conduct. There are various types of alcoholics, and not everyone with an alcohol problem fits a stereotype. Very high concentrations of alcohol in the blood can cause breathing problems, coma, or death. AUD refers to what is colloquially known as alcoholism, which is a term that the DSM-5 no longer uses.