Alcoholism is a common affliction in the United States. As many as 14 and a half million people suffer from alcohol use disorder in this country. While there are many options out there for treatment, recovering from an addiction is a lifelong process — it’s best that you never develop an addiction in the first place.
This is why it’s important to know the signs of alcoholism. By becoming aware of alcoholism symptoms, you can seek help for yourself or a loved one, before things truly spiral out of control.
This article will walk you through the most common early signs of alcoholism, so you can stay safe, and ensure the safety of your loved ones.
1. An Increase in Tolerance
Alcohol is a drug, and as with all drugs, your body will build up a tolerance to it the more you consume. This is why when someone first starts drinking they’re considered “lightweight” — they’re not able to handle as much as a more experienced drinker.
This phenomenon is, in most cases, very normal. Alcohol is an important part of many people’s cultures, and as one learns what is and isn’t acceptable, it’s important to build up tolerance.
However, if you’ve noticed that your tolerance, or the tolerance of a loved one, has seen a sharp increase, there may be a problem. It could serve as a sign that said person is consuming vast amounts of alcohol — a problem you/they might not even realize.
This is especially dangerous in the culture of many college campuses, where people with a low tolerance are often mocked for being “lightweights”.
Withdrawal is another symptom that’s heavily linked to the chemical aspect of alcohol. If you’ve noticed that going without alcohol for certain periods of time leaves you groggy, shakey, anxious, and hankering for a drink, you might just have a problem.
While hangovers are something anyone can experience, withdrawal is a sign of a real problem. It’s a sign that your body has worked up a physical dependency on alcohol. Considering how unhealthy alcohol is for you, and how much destruction can happen if you drink up for it, it’s best to stay away from physical dependence on alcohol.
3. You’ve Missed Responsibilities
The diagnosis of alcoholism goes far beyond standard metrics of chemical dependence. Often, like mental illness, alcoholism isn’t addressed based on physiology, but the impact it has on one’s life. If you’ve noticed that you or a loved one has started missing dates, showing up late to work, forgetting to eat, forgetting to call people, etc, they might just be an alcoholic.
This puts you in touch with one of the hard truths about alcoholism — it’s not fair, and it can seem as though it strikes randomly. One person could drink copious amounts of alcohol without it affecting their lives (though they might be suffering from some of the deleterious physical effects of alcohol). Another person could drink half as much and have their lives torn apart by alcohol.
While there are chemical signs of addiction, it’s also helpful to look at alcohol addiction the same way sex addicts look at their addiction. Once your life starts to feel as though it’s getting off track as a result of alcohol, you can consider yourself addicted. If any of your relationships have fallen apart due to your use of alcohol, you probably have a problem.
If you have found yourself missing responsibilities due to alcohol use, consider taking alcohol and drug awareness classes.
4. A Family History
One of the contributing factors to someone taking the step from heavy alcohol consumer to alcoholic is a family history. People with family histories of alcoholism are far less likely to deal with alcohol in a healthy way. Even if someone hates their parent’s addiction, and swears never to be like that, they can still find themselves falling down that road.
While it’s tough to track these things statistically since many people don’t realize they are alcoholics, the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health issued a warning, cautioning this with alcoholic parents to stay away from heavy alcohol consumption.
While it’s tough to tell when one is an alcoholic, one of the best ways to tell that someone is becoming an alcoholic is by looking at their family history.
5. Making Jokes About Alcoholism
Often, as people go down the road that leads to alcoholism, they realize the road that they’re going down. However, they believe that alcoholism is something that happens to other people. They believe that alcoholism just can’t happen to them, because they’re not that type of person, and before they know it, they’re saddled with a tough addiction.
One of the best ways to spot someone who might be falling into an alcohol addiction without realizing is to clock the jokes they make. If they’re constantly quipping about alcoholism and the fact that they’re an alcoholic, they might just be covering for something. Often, making jokes like this is a way to justify their reliance on alcohol as a new part of their personality; this is especially true of college kids, who are experiencing many changes, and often are early in their relationship with alcohol.
As David Foster Wallace once said, “acknowledgment of one’s prison is not freedom”. Knowing that you have a problem and being able to satirize it doesn’t mean you’re exempt from it.
Understand the Signs of Alcoholism So You Can Avoid an Addiction
Many Americans suffer from addiction. Very likely, it’s more than we even realize since plenty of people are in denial about their addiction. Their lives still may be falling apart as a result of this disabling condition.
Understand the signs of alcoholism so you don’t wind up falling down that road yourself. It’s always best to consume alcohol modestly and of good quality like an Exklusiv Gin.
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