Alcohol use is one of the most common activities in the United States, with over 87.6 percent of individuals 18 or older reporting that they have drank alcohol at some point in their life in 2012. Since that time, the numbers have grown. Alcohol abuse quickly escalates into a problem that can have severe repercussions if not treated.
While a number of people can be classified as “functioning alcoholics,” knowing the signs of a developing dependence can make a difference. Most individuals do not realize they have a problem until it starts getting out of control. The careful observance of alcohol consumption can help recognize if treatment is recommended.
Although there are others, these are 7 common signs of alcohol abuse:
- Masking Behavior
- Hygiene Issues
- Employment Issues
- Withdrawal Symptoms
- Mood Swings
- Legal Issues
Let’s dive into how each of these could be a sign of alcohol abuse…
Experiencing situations where the amount of alcohol consumed is uncontrollable, or if you or someone close to you is always trying to find a reason to have a drink, there is cause for concern. Additional consumption behaviors include gulping drinks down in an effort to have another, drinking as soon as you awake, or an increasing need to consume more alcohol.
Drinking in secret, or hiding alcohol so that no one will know you are drinking. Feeling guilt or shame because you don’t want to hear anyone saying anything about the amount of alcohol you consume is a major indicator of alcohol abuse.
Many people who are abusing alcohol have issues with their hygiene. Things to look for: avoiding taking a shower, having wrinkled and dirty clothing on, an unclean house, neglecting to comb your hair, and a general disheveled appearance. Most of these signs are also accompanied by the smell of alcohol.
If alcohol consumption has started to create work problems like hindering job performance, consistently calling in “sick”, coming in late, and missing meetings, your consumption has escalated to a dependency. Problems on the job occurring from alcohol abuse can have negative consequences, legally, socially and financially.
Like any other addiction, alcohol can have negative effects on the body, including withdrawal symptoms like shaking, headaches and nausea. Other withdrawal symptoms that can occur include anxiety, fatigue, loss of appetite, insomnia and sweating.
Alcohol abuse brings on different mood changes such as depression, aggressiveness, and defensiveness. Frequent mood swings are a constant, and the shift in mood swings is uncontrollable.
Alcohol abuse leads to a number of problems. You may be put on suspension or fired, possibly confronted with legal problems that stem from drinking too much such as car accidents or violent behavior. You may also experience problems at home because of your mood swings and withdrawals. People who abuse alcohol often experience financial difficulties because all their obligations are being neglected to purchase alcohol.
When displaying signs of alcohol abuse and dependency, it is important to take action quickly before it turns into an addiction. While this is a serious situation for you or your loved one, there are solutions available for addressing with this type of problem. Just know you are not alone. Seeking help is the right choice and can help you avoid more serious problems in the future. Contacting a treatment facility to speak to a counselor is the first step in taking responsibility on the path to reclaiming your life.