There are many stereotypes and assumptions about what alcohol addiction looks like. Media and pop culture often focus on the most severe signs of a drinking problem, such as homelessness and intoxication. And while those signs may indicate a drinking problem, the signs of an alcohol addiction can also be much more subtle.
It is important to recognize the signs of a drinking problem early on so that you or your loved one can get the help they need. An alcohol detox center as well as a rehab program can provide the necessary treatment for someone struggling with an alcohol addiction. Building healthy habits and tools to manage triggers can help those in recovery maintain sobriety over time.
If you’re concerned that you or someone you know may struggle with alcohol addiction, knowing the signs of a drinking problem can help you recognize and address the issue.
Drinking Problems and Alcohol Addiction
Is there a difference between an alcohol addiction and a drinking problem? While the signs of an alcohol addiction often overlap with signs of a drinking problem, there are subtle differences.
A drinking problem is often seen as a pattern of excessive drinking or dangerous behaviors related to alcohol use. These signs are usually much more outward and can include blacking out from drinking, driving under the influence of alcohol, engaging in dangerous activities while intoxicated or frequently missing work or school due to drinking.
Alcohol addiction, on the other hand, is a more severe form of an alcohol problem and can include signs such as physical dependence on alcohol, inability to control drinking despite wanting to stop, and signs of withdrawal when not drinking.
Common Signs of a Drinking Problem
Four indicators can make it clear that a person should be seeking help with their drinking. What are the signs of a drinking problem? Ask yourself or your loved one:
- Do you drink in the morning? Many people who have reached the place of having a drinking problem will drink in the morning to get the courage to go through the day or to help ease the symptoms of a hangover from the night before.
- Do you have negative feelings about your drinking? Often, only the individual knows about these feelings. When thinking about what are the signs of alcoholism, a loved one can ask if the person ever promised they would try to quit and then showed remorse when they slipped up. Many people with drinking problems genuinely want to stop when they realize they have a problem, but they can’t do it alone.
- Is alcohol impacting your moods? Getting upset, even angry, when someone brings up the possibility. If the subject is approached when both you and your loved one are sober and calm and the person in question gets defensive, that is a good indicator that there is a problem.
- Have you ever felt that maybe you should cut back on the amount you drink? If that thought has occurred to you, then it is a good indicator that you know you have a problem.
The more of these you can answer in the positive, the more likely you are dealing with a drinking problem.
Other Indicators of a Drinking Problem
There are other behavioral signs that can help you identify a drinking problem. They include:
- Missing school, work, or family events because of drinking
- Drinking alone to hide the amount you drink
- Having blackouts when drinking
- Drinking when it could be dangerous, such as while driving
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you try to abstain
This is only a partial list. The best judge is to ask yourself if your life or health has been impacted by your drinking. Early intervention is the best way to prevent a drinking problem from becoming an alcohol addiction. If you recognize signs of a drinking problem in yourself or someone you care about, seek help right away.
Dangers of Not Getting Help
Your drinking problem may not be directly affecting your life at the moment, but alcohol problems have a way of snowballing over time. The longer you wait, the higher the chance of seeing alcohol use cause damage to your relationships, life, and health.
Addiction is isolating. It can take you away from the people and activities that bring joy and fulfillment. It’s easy to feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to, but there are professionals who understand and can help.
Conquer Your Addiction at Promises Behavioral Health
Effective, evidence-based treatment for alcohol addiction can help you or your loved one heal. The path to recovery starts with the right treatment team that can provide emotional, physical, and spiritual support. From alcohol detox to aftercare, Promises Behavioral Health is here to help. Our highly trained professionals are here to offer the support and guidance you need to get on the path to lasting recovery. With multiple treatment centers, a full continuum of care, and a range of programs, we can help you get the treatment you need.