Alcoholism is a disease that can be debilitating for many, but there are also a great deal of functioning alcoholics. Whether the addiction prevents you from fulfilling your everyday obligations or not, excessing alcohol consumption is dangerous. If you or a loved one has a drinking problem, then it is important to seek help sooner than later. If you are not sure what alcoholism looks like, here are the warning signs of alcoholism.
What Are the Warning Signs of Alcoholism?
There is more than one way to identify the potential abuse of alcohol. It is easy to spot some signs, but others are more difficult to recognize. It can be especially hard for loved ones to spot the signs because alcoholics may try to hide their substance use. This means the warning signs may be different depending on the severity of the addiction. It may be difficult to intervene and to know when to intervene.
Also, alcohol consumption is so socially acceptable in our society that it is easy to overlook mild alcoholism. Paying attention to early warning signs and taking action quickly can prevent mild alcoholism from quickly turning into a more serious and dangerous situation.
Common Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse
An alcohol use disorder (AUD) is when alcohol consumption starts to have negative impacts on a person’s day-to-day life and causes harm. Recognizing the symptoms and getting yourself or your loved one into treatment quickly can prevent the situation from spiraling out of control and getting worse. There is no exact way to identify alcoholism, but some of the most common symptoms include:
- Changes to one’s physical appearance and the people they spend most of their time with (new friends)
- Isolation from family and friends that they were previously close with
- Hiding drinking behavior or drinking alone
- Neglecting responsibilities and obligations to drink
- Hangover symptoms when they aren’t drinking
- Blacking out or experiencing short term memory loss
- Irritability and mood swings
- Making excuses for drinking such as to relax, deal with stress, or feel normal
How to Recognize Alcoholism
There are 2 main tools that are commonly used to screen for alcoholism.
CAGE Alcoholism Screening Questionnaire
CAGE is a method that you can use yourself to screen for an alcohol use disorder. It simply involves 4 questions and if you, the person drinking, answers “yes” to two or more of the questions, then it is advised to reach out to a professional drug and alcohol rehab for assistance now. The questions are as follows:
- Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
- Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
- Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
- Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get over a hangover?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
The DSM is essentially the bible for health professionals when it comes to diagnosing mental disorders. It outlines a set of questions or factors to look at in determining whether someone has a specific disorder, including an alcohol use disorder.
The Dangers of Alcoholism
The bottom line is that alcoholism is a dangerous disease that can lead to serious life and health-related consequences. The alcohol detox process is risky and gets worse the longer you drink, so it is best to get into treatment sooner rather than later. If you think that you or a loved one might have a substance use disorder, contact us Compass Detox today to get started on the road to recovery.