How to Recognize Alcoholism
Are you worried that you or someone you care about is an alcoholic? Around 15 million American adults struggle with alcohol use disorder (AUD). Less than 10% receive treatment.
Warning signs of alcohol use disorder can look different depending on the person.
Alcoholism can be treated. Find out how to identify the common signs and where to go for help. Support is available if you’re ready to lead a healthy, sober lifestyle.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism (alcohol addiction, alcohol use disorder, or alcohol dependence) is the strong, often uncontrollable, desire to drink alcohol.
Excessive drinking often causes physical and emotional harm. Someone suffering from alcoholism will often put drinking above other obligations, like work, family, and friends. People with the disorder also tend to build up a physical tolerance to alcohol, meaning they drink more for a similar effect and have withdrawal symptoms if they quit.
Common Warning Signs of Alcohol Abuse
If left untreated, people with alcohol use disorder (AUD) can spiral out of control quickly. Knowing the warning signs of alcohol abuse can make a substantial difference in recovery. That said, it can be hard to spot the symptoms of alcohol dependence. People with alcoholism tend to be secretive about their drinking.
Some of the most common signs of alcohol abuse are:
- The inability to control how much you drink
- Drinking at inappropriate times
- Feeling uncontrollable cravings to drink alcohol
- Building a tolerance to alcohol
- Having to drink to feel normal
- Hiding alcohol at work, in the car, or other unusual places
- Drinking alone
- Getting upset if you can’t drink when you have a craving
- Drinking despite negative consequences
- Choosing to drink over engaging in other activities like seeing friends or family
- Blacking out after drinking
Remember that there’s no exact formula to diagnose a person with AUD, and symptoms usually co-occur. In most cases, one sign snowballs into another, causing additional problems.
What About the Physical Symptoms of Alcoholism?
Physical symptoms like nausea, sweating, shaking, hallucinations, and convulsions may happen when an addicted person can’t drink. These are typical withdrawal symptoms and often telltale signs of physical addiction.
What to Do if I Think Someone Has an Alcohol Problem?
It can be hard to know the best thing to do if someone you care about shows signs of alcohol abuse. You may feel anxious, nervous, scared, or frustrated. All of these emotions are normal, and there is help.
Most experts suggest having an honest, open conversation with the person you’re worried about. Try to persuade them to visit a physician. It’s hard for people with alcoholism to admit they have a problem, so it’s best to be supportive and non-judgmental to help make them feel safe.
How is Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) Diagnosed?
There’s no simple or standard test to diagnose alcoholism. Instead, doctors diagnose alcohol disorders by considering specific behaviors and health problems. Some healthcare professionals will use questionnaires or screening tools to evaluate alcohol dependence.
One of the most common tools is called the CAGE method. The four CAGE screening questions are:
- Have you ever felt you drink too much?
- Have people upset you by criticizing your drinking habits?
- Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
- Have you ever consumed alcohol first thing in the morning to ease your nerves or get over a hangover?
Sometimes family members, coworkers, and friends are asked similar questions about the person. People closest to them can help doctors understand the root cause of the drinking issue. The more information the healthcare provider has, the easier it will be to find the best therapy for the person’s specific situation.
Alcoholism Treatment in Columbus, Ohio
Overcoming alcohol use disorder should be done under the care of medical professionals in a specialized treatment facility. Joining a recovery program will give you the best chance for long-term sobriety. Complete Healthcare is one of the leading addiction treatment & rehabilitation centers in Columbus, Ohio. We’re here to help individuals through every step of the recovery process.
Achieve your sobriety goals with proven solutions. Contact us to start your recovery journey today.