Alcoholism 10 signs

social drinking

Many people like to kick back every once in awhile with a few drinks, but are they closer to having a drinking problem than they might realize?

The difference between the "almost alcoholic" and the true alcoholic is a matter of degree, according to Dr. Robert L. Doyle, professor of behavioral health at Harvard University and psychologist Dr. Joseph Nowinski. Their is a fine line where a person can be well on their way to full-fledged alcoholism.

Alcoholism has extensive physical, psychological, and social consequences, but sometimes it can go years without being detected if loved ones don't recognize the subtle signs of addiction. If you know someone exhibiting all or many of these symptoms, he or she may need help with alcohol addiction.

The true alcoholic is physically dependent on alcohol, and will experience symptoms of withdrawal if he or she stops. The true alcoholic will answer "yes" and "always" or "almost always" to most or all of the following statements. 

 Men and women who are somewhere in the almost alcoholic zone, however, will be able to identify with some of these statements as describing their drinking behavior. 

Here are Alcoholism 10 signs to be aware of:

You regularly drink more than you intend to

“I’ll just have one,” you say. Sure, right. If you can’t help yourself from indulging on a regular basis, try alternating with nonalcoholic drinks and always eat before you hit the piss. Being inappropriately drunk (i.e., at a kid’s birthday party) or constantly hitting the level of ridiculous-drunk is embarrassing for yourself as well as others. Sort yourself out and pull on the reigns 

So many reasons to drink:

Drinking every day: If a person is finding excuses to drink on an everyday basis, this usually means that he or she is avoiding being sober.

You drink alone

Though there was a time when you almost always drank only in the company of others, these days you are just as likely to have one or more drinks when you are alone.

 As alcohol use increases, a person needs to consume more to get the same pleasurable effect. Therefore, it becomes common for people suffering from alcoholism to drink alone. They may also drink before or after social events to be at the same level of intoxication as their friends.

Increased isolation: As a person becomes more dependent on alcohol, he or she tends to ignore other aspects of life. This may include avoiding friends and relatives or refusing to attend social gatherings. A person suffering from alcoholism may also start to lose interest in activities or hobbies that used to bring great enjoyment.

You drink to relieve boredom or loneliness

You are retired, widowed, a single parent, or unemployed. You feel lonely or bored at times, and you find that a drink or two is comforting.

You drink to maintain a "buzz"

You're a "sipper." You do not down your drinks quickly, nor do you drink to the point where you pass out. Rather, you like to keep drinking slowly so as to maintain a "buzz."

 Drinking at inappropriate times: Drinking early in the morning, especially right after waking up, is a definite sign of someone having an alcohol problem. Drinking large amounts at lunch or early afternoon can also be a warning sign.

Drinking in the Morning

If you’ve started drinking first thing in the morning, you almost certainly have a problem with alcohol. There’s no reason to be drinking in the morning, unless your body is so addicted that you feel as though you can’t start your day without a drink. Chances are you have to drive somewhere that day as well, which means that you’re willing to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. If you’re drinking in the morning, you need to seek help as soon as possible to address your issues before your problem ends up putting your life and the lives of others in danger.

However, be wary of falling into a cycle of excusing your behavior because you’re able to confine your drinking to other, more appropriate times of day. If you are drinking excessively day in and day out, or several times per week, your behavior is reaching problematic levels and you should get help before things spin out of control.

Anxiety, Insomnia, Nausea When You Stop Drinking

You have come to rely on a drink or two to relieve stress, "unwind" or "de-stress." 

Sure, many of us experience anxiety, insomnia, and nausea after a night of drinking—these symptoms are normal parts of a hangover. However, if you experience these symptoms for days after you’ve tried to stop drinking, it’s could be because you are physically addicted to alcohol. It is your body’s way of telling you that you are going through alcohol withdrawal. Many people in this phase of recovery also experience lingering depression and loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed.

The good news is that these symptoms will subside once you’ve eliminated alcohol from your system for an extended period of time, and your body has readjusted to a healthier state. The flip side of the coin is that most people with physical dependencies on alcohol require professional help to reach this state. It is very difficult to kick a problematic drinking habit without experienced guidance and an extensive support system.

Although it can be tempting to drink or use drugs, don't do it. Substance use and abuse can wreak havoc in people with depression. People who suffer from depression and anxiety often turn to alcohol and drugs to relieve their symptoms, but that strategy tends to be harmful in the long run. Drinking and drug use affect brain chemistry, and they can cause problems in relationships, work, and other aspects of life. (They can also be dangerous when combined with some antidepressants.) Although the occasional glass of wine probably won't hurt you, people with depression should limit their alcohol consumption,

 Withdrawal symptoms: If someone is alcohol-dependent, withdrawal symptoms will start to occur within just a few hours after his or her last drink. These include sweating, shaking or trembling, flushed face, blotchy skin, and nausea. He or she also might start to become very irritable, especially if alcohol is not immediately available once these symptoms start to be exhibited.

Stashing alcohol: Usually, a person suffering from alcoholism will need to be able to drink whenever his or her withdrawal symptoms start to flare up. Often this will require hiding alcohol in random places, such as bathroom cabinets, top shelves, garages, closets, clothes, bags, suitcases, in a car, or at work.

 Denying there is a problem: Despite exhibiting obvious signs of distress, many people suffering from alcoholism will refuse to acknowledge that anything is wrong with them or their behavior. They will probably get offended whenever someone tries to confront them about it or attempt to help them with their disease. 

Flushed Skin/Broken Capillaries on the Face

One of the physical signs of chronic alcoholism is flushed skin and broken capillaries on the face. This symptom can present in a variety of ways, ranging from rosy cheeks to visible blood vessels that spread across your face like a spider web. These symptoms occur because of the constant presence of alcohol in your bloodstream, which can damage the skin as well as smaller blood vessels that carry blood to localized regions of your body.

If you’ve noticed a change in your appearance, or if others have pointed out a change in your appearance, you may want to consider either cutting back on your alcohol intake or eliminating it altogether. Once your body starts to undergo physical changes as the result of routine drinking, it’s a warning sign that things are reaching a problematic level. If you’re struggling to give up drinking or cut back, seek help.

Your performance at work is not what it used to be

If you look at it objectively you are not as sharp at work these days as you were a couple of years ago. This may be reflected in mistakes, a poorer annual performance evaluation, or less of a merit raise.

Drinking in Social situations

You aren't comfortable in social situations where there is no drinking

You are likely to turn down invitations to social events where you know that no one will be drinking, or where alcoholic beverages are prohibited.

You find that drinking helps you overcome your shyness

You've discovered that a drink or two - either before a social engagement or shortly after it starts - helps you "come out of your shell" and enables you to have a better time.

Frequent mood swings: Alcohol use and withdrawal greatly influences a person’s mood and the way he or she thinks. Intense rage, sudden outbursts, depression, and sadness are common.

You look forward to drinking

You find yourself looking forward to that cocktail, glass of wine, or beer while you are on the way home after work. Or you find yourself glancing at your watch to see how close it is to Happy Hour.

Alcoholism 10 signs are described further in Addicted Kids Our Lost Generation preview it here: