One of the most difficult addictions to identify is alcoholism. Firstly, because people like to pass it as regular recreational drinking, and secondly, because it is socially accepted. So, what if I got drunk during a party, the holidays or a Friday night? Sadly, these things are deemed normal and most of the time we miss that someone is indeed having a problem with alcohol. Whenever we see someone sharing a cocktail or a beer with a friend, drinking heavily while partying, our immediate thoughts are ‘look how much fun they’re having’. We see the consumption of alcohol as something positive. The problem relies on when do we know when ‘regular’ drinking is crossing the line towards alcohol abuse and alcoholism? Here are 5 alcohol addiction symptoms to look out for:
1. Drinking Alone is Not a Problem
Drinking during parties is not really a problem. After all, a glass here and there a few times a month can even be healthy for you. However, social definitely doesn’t mean drinking in secret or lying about how much are you drinking. Drinking alone is one of the very first symptoms of alcoholism. Usually, it starts to happen after someone points out that you’re drinking heavily or suggests that you should lower your intake. The response to this is starting to drink alone. This will not arise any questions and people won’t notice the problem. It’s the first step of denial as well, if there is nobody to notice then there is no problem.
2. You See Alcohol as the Solution to Feel Better or Relax
Taking a glass of wine or a beer after a hard day of work is one of the things seen as normal. It is also a dangerous habit to take. Making alcohol the go-to solution for relieving stress, anxiety, anger or any negative feelings is the gateway towards an addiction. Taking on a substance to control and manage your feelings is not only unhealthy, but also a choice to make that substance (alcohol, in this case) the safe passage for you to feel. In no time, your body and your brain will need alcohol in order to feel positive emotions.
3. You Don’t Stop Drinking Once You’ve Started
It starts for you as just taking one or two drinks, not a problem, casual drinking. And then you hope. Reality sinks in and after your first drink comes the second and before you actually realize it, you have gone through a bottle or two, and you don’t feel like stopping. This is the main difference between casual drinking and addiction. Stopping is never an issue for a casual drinker while an alcoholic may drink until they pass out or they ran out of supplies. Can you remember the last time when you were drinking and just decided that you had enough for the time being? If the answer is no, then you should revise your drinking habits.
4. Your Alcohol Tolerance is (very) High
It’s normal to feel proud of how much you can drink without feeling buzzed or how much more you can drink without passing out. It’s somewhat a rite of passage when you’re young. Alcohol resistance can vary due to several elements, like the body composition or metabolism. Nevertheless, alcohol tolerance can also be built over time. If your alcohol tolerance has been increasing, it means that your body is adjusting its own composition in order to be able to take more alcohol at once. This will only happen after you’ve been consuming too much alcohol for a long period. Yet, this is not something to be proud of. Indeed it is one of the major alcohol addiction symptoms. It should be concerning as you’ve reached the point, where your body is changing its chemistry in order to fit a daily dose of alcohol to function. It also means that in order to feel drunk or even buzzed you’ll need more alcohol every single time.
5. You Experience Withdrawals Whenever You Try to Quit
Deciding to stop drinking should be something easily achieved, right? After you have gotten your body used to a daily intake of alcohol and you decide to quit, both alcohol-body combination will seem decided not to let you. Experiencing alcohol withdrawal is hard. They can start from just a couple of hours after your last drink and can be minor hangover-like symptoms to seizures, anxiety or shakes. It is extremely important that you know that withdrawal doesn’t happen without addiction. So, if you feel any kind of serious physical illness whenever you’re not drinking, you have an alcohol abuse problem. This is yet one of the important alcohol addiction symptoms to be looked for.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the alcohol addiction symptoms above, the best thing for them is to look for help. This list contains only 5 of many alcohol addiction symptoms, which can indicate alcohol abuse or alcoholism. So, if you’re not sure, or if you feel like you could be walking towards the path of alcohol addiction, please, look for help.