Symptoms of Alcoholism: A Complete Guide
Alcohol is a legal substance as well as a celebrated part of many cultures, including American culture. This can make it difficult for people to realize when their drinking habits have crossed the line into dangerous alcohol addiction, or when to believe their loved one when they say they are okay. Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms of alcoholism, whether you have concern for a loved one or concern for your own drinking habits.
Symptoms of Alcoholism in a Loved One
Watching someone you love suffer at the hands of alcoholism can be one of the most devastating things to witness. If you suspect that your loved one’s drinking habits may be spiraling out of control, take note of the following physical and behavioral symptoms. If they are exhibiting most of them, chances are, your loved one is suffering from alcoholism.
More often than not, the last person to realize they are suffering from alcohol abuse is the individual themselves. Approaching your loved one with your concerns the wrong way can lead to denial, defensive actions, and volatile arguments. That is why it is important to recognize all the symptoms of alcoholism and learn how to get help for your loved one before you approach them with your concerns.
Heavy alcohol use can change a person’s appearance in many ways. If you notice your loved one hasn’t quite looked like themselves lately, you’re probably right. Physical symptoms of alcoholism include:
- Weight gain or weight loss. Heavy drinking can lead to poor nutritional choices. This can include binge eating unhealthy food or not eating at all, since some types of alcohol can suppress the appetite. In addition, some types of alcohol — such as beer — are high in calories and carbohydrates and can cause weight gain.
- Red skin and face. Alcohol causes broken capillaries on the face and nose, which causes the face to become red. This is especially true for individuals of light complexion and of Asian descent. Alcohol can dilate the blood vessels temporarily, which makes frequent alcohol consumption lead to longer-lasting broken blood vessels and redness on the face.
- Dry or damaged hair, skin, and nails. Alcohol quickly dehydrates the body, which leads to dry hair, skin, and nails on people who drink heavily.
- Disheveled appearance. If your once clean-cut loved one is starting to look more disheveled, do not ignore it. Alcoholism can cause poor hygiene habits as their priorities shift.
- Jaundice symptoms such as yellow eyes or skin. This should be the symptom of the largest concern because jaundice is a symptom of liver damage — which is caused by alcoholism.
- Performance suffering in work or school. If work or school is becoming a low priority, or if your loved one has dropped out or been fired, this should be taken seriously.
- Increased agitation or irritability. Have you found that your loved one has become easily angered or irritated? This is a symptom of alcoholism.
- Change in social circle. People suffering from alcoholism will surround themselves with others who can share in their habit, which can cause a change in social circle and relationships.
- Isolation from loved ones and important events. If your loved one is spending more time apart from you and other loved ones, as well as no longer showing up to important events due to their alcohol use, this should be a huge cause for concern.
- Frequently hungover. Suffering from a hangover can happen to even the most responsible drinkers, however, if your loved one is frequently hungover multiple times in a week, you should be concerned.
- Financial issues. Alcoholism can cause individuals to have financial issues as they neglect their responsibilities and bills in favor of purchasing alcohol.
- Legal problems. If your loved one has suffered legal consequences from their drinking habits, such as a DUI, getting them help is imperative.
How to Get Help
If you’re ready to get your loved one help for their alcoholism, here are the steps you can take:
- Do your research by learning about alcoholism so you can know what to expect and learn how your loved one is suffering.
- Find some rehab facilities that you feel would be a good match for your loved one. Our admissions specialists are available 24/7 to talk with you and give you any information you may need.
- Set up a time and place to talk with your loved one.
- Come to them prepared, and be ready to talk with compassion and sincerity, coming from a place of love rather than frustration.
- If you see the conversation start to turn volatile, tell them you love them and that you will talk to them about this at another time.
- If your attempt fails, you may want to consider hiring a professional interventionist to help.
Signs Your Drinking Habits Might Be Alcoholism
While there is generally nothing wrong with having a glass of wine with dinner, having a glass of scotch after a long day, or going out for a night with friends every once in a while, there is a line between enjoying alcohol responsibly and suffering from alcoholism. If you feel as if your drinking habits may be spiraling out of control, keep reading to see if it’s time to ask help in getting your drinking under control.
10 Questions to Ask Yourself
Looking in the mirror and accepting that you need help with your drinking habits can be extremely difficult. If you’re wondering whether or not it’s time to make the call for help, ask yourself the following 10 questions. If you answer yes to most or all of them, it might be time for you to change your life for the better and make the call for help before it is too late.
Am I Getting Drunk Every Day?
Drinking alcohol every day is one thing — wine with dinner, or a drink after a stressful workday. However, getting drunk every day is quite another. If you are getting drunk every day or multiple times a week, do your best to cut down. If you can’t, it’s time to get help.
Do I Drink More Than I Intend To?
How many times have you told yourself that you’re not going to drink today, you’re only going to have one drink tonight, or have ended up blacked out when you didn’t intend to? If this happens frequently, take note.
Does Drinking, or the Side Effects of Drinking, Take Up Much Of My Time?
If you spend most nights (or days) drinking alcohol, going out to bars or clubs, finding money for alcohol, being hungover, or thinking about alcohol, then it is time to get help.
Do I Engage In Risky Behavior?
Alcohol can lower your inhibitions, which can cause you to engage in risky behavior. This can include unsafe sex, driving under the influence, heightened confidence which can lead to arguments or fights, and much more.
Have I Suffered Negative Consequences Due To My Drinking?
Negative consequences due to your drinking can include anything from getting fired, your marriage failing, financial issues, neglecting your children, damaging property or your body, and much more.
Has The Amount of Alcohol Needed to Get Drunk Increased?
If a couple of glasses no longer get you the buzz you’re looking for and you find that you need to drink much more in order to feel drunk, this means your tolerance for alcohol has grown. Tolerance building is a symptom of alcoholism, which quickly leads to dependency.
Do I Drink to Feel Better?
If you are drinking to get rid of your hangover or to feel emotionally better, this is a big sign of having negative coping skills that need to be worked on. Getting help for your drinking can help you turn to healthy coping skills, which will reduce your urge to drink.
Do I Drink at Inappropriate Times or Places?
A major symptom of alcoholism is drinking at inappropriate times or places, such as:
- In the morning
- At work
- With children
- While driving
- At an event where alcohol is not appropriate, such as your child’s recital or soccer practice
Am I Hiding My Drinking?
One of the easiest ways to conceal the fact that your drinking has gone out of control is by hiding it from your loved ones. If you find yourself lying about the amount you have consumed, how often you consume it, or are physically hiding while drinking alcohol, it is time to get help.
Do I Keep Drinking Anyway?
If you answered Yes to most or all of the above questions but continue to drink anyway, it is time to get help for your alcohol use. Drinking despite all of the warning signs doesn’t make you a bad person — it simply makes you a person who is addicted to alcohol. Your brain has become rewired to require alcohol, which makes it almost impossible to quit by yourself successfully.
How to Get Help
If you’re ready to get help for your alcohol use, here are two ways you can approach it:
- Talk to a loved one. Whether it’s sitting down face-to-face, writing a letter, or sending a text, make sure you reach out to someone you trust and let them know you’re ready to get help. Chances are, they are already aware of your alcohol use and will be more than happy to help you.
- Find an alcohol rehab that is right for you. Spend some time doing research on alcohol treatment centers that would be a good fit for you. Our treatment center offers 24/7 admissions staff that can talk with you and walk you through the entire process.
About Seasons in Malibu
Whether you finally have decided to take action to change your life, or if you’re assisting your loved one, taking the first step is the most important. By now, you recognize the disease has overtaken your entire existence, and either is or is beginning to, destroy many of the things that you hold most dear. We understand how you feel and how difficult it is for you to be here right now. But know, we can help you and we can help your loved one.
The alcohol rehab programs at Seasons In Malibu starts with detox and carries through to aftercare. The alcohol treatment centers on our philosophy of systemic treatment. Read more about what to expect when you enter our alcohol recovery programs.
At Seasons Malibu alcohol rehabilitation programs, we believe that in order to be maximally effective, treatment cannot be designed in the abstract. It must be tailored to fit the individual’s needs and goals. This is why we have a ten-person team of doctors, therapists, and councilors dedicated to designing a treatment plan that meets your personal, individual needs and evolves with you over the course of your alcohol abuse treatment. During Alcohol Rehab Programs we offer an incredibly wide range of therapy and counseling so that we can be certain that we will provide exactly what is necessary to resolve your underlying issues and help you to achieve lasting recovery, and ultimately, a happy and fulfilled life.
Upon arrival at Seasons alcohol rehab programs, you will be seen immediately by an MD that specializes in addiction medicine and alcohol detox with many years of experience in this process and they will carefully assess your risk and closely monitor your detox process.
We are a California State licensed, CARF accredited, world-class treatment center, licensed in both substance abuse and mental health, celebrating over 12 years of service. We will stay with you every step of the way, working with you to get your life back on track before, during, and after your residential stay at our Malibu alcohol treatment centers.
For more information, visit seasonsmalibu.com