Signs of Drinking Problem
Alcohol use disorder can be easily concealed until someone is physically dependent on alcohol. However, even before this stage, there are signs of alcohol addiction that could indicate you or someone you care about is struggling to control their alcohol consumption. Eleven key signs of a drinking problem are:
- Loss of control – You might not be able to stop drinking when you start, find you need to drink every day or drink alcohol during the day.
- Denial – Refusing to recognise or accept that your drinking could be a problem — becoming defensive if someone is concerned about how much alcohol you consume or how often you are drinking.
- Dependence – Drinking daily for three months or more or not being able to last more than a couple of days without drinking alcohol.
- Not able to fulfil responsibilities – Heavy drinking the night before or during the day means you cannot go to work or fulfil responsibilities such as taking children to school.
- Negative consequences – You no longer care about the negative social implications of consuming alcohol.
- Social isolation – You avoid meeting up with or spending time with friends or loved ones because you want to drink alcohol.
- Secret drinking- Hiding your drinking and the amount of alcohol you consume from friends and loved ones.
- Poor health – Health-related symptoms include heartburn, stomach, or bowel problems, urinary tract infections, bruising easily, and feeling achy.
- Blackouts and memory loss – Becoming unconscious due to the amount of alcohol you have consumed and having memory gaps.
- Moodswings – Cycling between feeling irritable, anxious, and, or depressed.
- Increased tolerance – You need more alcohol to induce the same effect.
It is important to understand the difference between alcohol addiction and alcohol abuse. Alcohol addiction is a progressive disorder and often goes unrecognised until physical signs of alcohol dependence are apparent. Recognising a drinking problem early can help to improve the chance of effective treatment for alcohol addiction and reduce the risk of relapse. If you have noticed any of the above signs of alcohol addiction or alcohol use disorder (AUD) in yourself or someone else, do not ignore them. The sooner alcohol dependence is treated, the less harm it can do.
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