What Are Alcohol Abuse Symptoms & Signs?
You need to know if someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse. It’s the only way to protect them from some of the most dangerous effects of alcohol dependency. You can’t help if you don’t recognize alcohol abuse symptoms.
You should reach out to a professional as a first priority. If your loved one isn’t ready to take that step, this guide may help. It covers some of the most well-known warning signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse. You can use it to determine if your loved one may have a problem that they may be concealing from you and others.
There are many different symptoms and warning signs associated with alcohol abuse. While the individual signs may not mean much on their own, any combination of them may point to a problem that needs quick intervention.
There are three types of signs that you can watch for…
- Warning Signs in Personal Behavior
- Warning Signs in Social Behavior
- Physical Warning Signs
Warning Signs In Personal Behavior
You will often only notice changes in personal behavior if you are close to the person involved. In many cases, people who abuse alcohol will withdraw from their social groups. This can make detecting abuse much more difficult.
Those with developing alcohol use disorder may withdraw slowly or quickly from their social groups. A person suffering from the disorder may show up to social events, drink a reasonable amount, and then leave as soon as that limit is reached so that drinking can continue out-of-view.
As soon as social conditions no longer permit drinking (because of pressure to slow down or embarrassing events) social ties will be cut to allow drinking to continue without judgment. This is a dangerous process that can leave your loved ones with few people to rely on if they need help.
If you are close to the person you are worried about, you may be able to watch their behavior for warning signs. Watch them closely to determine if they…
- Are unable to control how much they drink
- Are unable to control when they drink
- Are drinking because they are experiencing a craving
- Have an unusually high tolerance, and adapt by consuming larger amounts
- Report drinking to feel normal or to feel good
- Store alcohol in hidden places, such as at work, in the car, or in odd places in the house
- Have started drinking alone or in secret
- Are experiencing blackouts, can no longer remember things they said or places they have already been
You may need to rely on them openly sharing some of this information with you. Just remain open to listening to them whenever they need someone to talk to. They may share something with you that you can use to save their life.
While a combination of these warning signs may point to alcohol abuse, they can also point to a lot of other problems. Before you approach someone about alcohol abuse, make sure that you have more information.
If you want to confirm the alcohol abuse symptoms you suspect, make sure that you also consider the social warning signs.
Warning Signs: In Social Behavior
While some people may withdraw when they begin drinking excessively, others have no problem working their excessive drinking behavior into their social lives.
Alcohol addiction can easily develop from social binge drinking. People who learned to drink heavily in social settings may prefer to keep their behavior social. However, they can still give off warning signs. Active alcohol abusers may…
- Become competitive with alcohol consumption
- Encourage others to drink heavily to mask excessive use
- Frequently change venues (from happy hour, to a diner, to a bar) drinking moderately at each location, but heavily over the course of the night
If your loved one is engaging in any of these behaviors, you should be concerned. Binge drinking is not safe, and even short-term binge drinking can result in health problems years down the road.
While all of the behaviors covered so far are recognized warning signs, the symptoms coming up are a more reliable indicator of the presence of advanced alcohol abuse symptoms.
Warning Signs: Physical Symptoms
Alcohol use disorder can involve physical symptoms that may or may not be obvious to others. Your loved one may report any of the following symptoms:
If these symptoms persist, you and your loved one should seek medical attention. There are few organs that excessive alcohol use doesn’t damage. Permanent conditions can develop very quickly after repeated binge drinking.
If your loved one is reluctant to seek care, they may be aware that excessive alcohol is the reason for their symptoms. This can be a great time to talk to them about different recovery options.
Have you Spotted Alcohol Abuse Symptoms? Here’s What to Do Next
If you have spotted alcohol abuse symptoms, you should reach out to your loved one and let them know you want to help. Let them know that there are many different treatment options out there and that you’d be willing to help them find one that meets their needs.
It’s important that you reach out early because alcohol abuse becomes far more dangerous to excessive drinkers as the behavior goes on. As binge drinking continues, the body suffers through increasingly long-term and painful conditions. These conditions can be avoided with fast intervention.