It can be hard to tell when an occasional social drink turns into dependence or alcohol addiction. For most adults, moderate alcohol use is likely not harmful. Moderate use means no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman and no more than two if you’re a man.
Because drinking alcohol is legal and socially acceptable, there’s a misconception that it isn’t as dangerous as other illegal drugs. However, alcohol addiction is dangerous to your health and can even be fatal. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 14.5 million adults in the US have an alcohol use disorder.
Signs of Alcoholism
There are many signs of alcoholism, and knowing them can help you recognize these early signs in yourself or someone you love. Here are several early signs of alcoholism:
Using alcohol to cope. For example, drinking to relieve stress.
Changes or problems in relationships.
Problems at work.
Missing obligations to drink.
Denial or lying about drinking.
Frequent binge drinking.
Extremely high tolerance for alcohol - needing more alcohol to achieve the desired effect.
Dangerous or risky behavior like drinking and driving, or promiscuity.
Isolating to drink alone.
An excessive amount of money spent on alcohol - to the point of financial troubles.
When To Seek Treatment
Studies show alcohol addiction is not a simple choice, there is a physical change in brain chemistry after months or years of alcohol consumption, so an individual can’t just stop in one day. Oftentimes the simplest way to define alcohol addiction is when the four C’s of addiction are present: compulsion, craving, consequences and control.
There are also criteria for an alcohol use disorder published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism that are used by healthcare professionals to diagnose Alcohol Use Disorder.
If a person believes they are experiencing signs of alcoholism, they should seek advice from a healthcare professional as soon as possible. There are many forms of substance abuse treatment catered to helping individuals struggling with alcohol related problems.
Want to hear about the early signs of alcoholism from those that have traveled the path to sobriety? Listen to the Sober.Coffee podcast with Mike and Glenn, sharing stories of experience, strength and hope in recovery.
If you’re not sure if your alcohol use is a problem, why don’t we complete a confidential evaluation? Feel free to contact our Illinois rehab at: 630-402-0144