What are the Signs That a Loved One Has a Drinking Problem?
Alcohol is an incredibly addictive substance. While alcoholic beverages may be paraded around the public consciousness in pop culture and advertisements as if it is a harmless and casual beverage, it has the toxic capability to totally and completely take over a person’s life. Alcohol addiction is a chronic condition that is increasingly prevalent, with a 2015 study finding that 32 million Americans have had an alcohol use disorder. That is nearly 1 out of every 7 adults!
So how do you know the difference between a friend, family member or other loved one liking a casual drink and an alcohol problem? How do you know the difference between a loved one liking to have a drink to take the edge off after a long day at work and embarking on a downward slide right into alcoholism? We offer some signs that a loved one may have an alcohol problem.
Blackouts from Drinking & Short-Term Memory Loss
Blacking out is scary. This is when you have issues remembering what you did under the influence of alcohol the next day. While this alcohol-induced haze may be played for laughs in movies and television, it is a scary and serious issue that may be indicative of a larger issue. If someone you know is routinely binge drinking so much alcohol that blackouts become a regular occurrence, they may have an alcohol problem.
Mood Swings and Increasing Irritability
Extreme mood swings and irritability are a common sign of an addiction problem. As someone comes to depend on a substance to feel good or even just to reach their chemical homeostasis, a lack of that substance can lead to moodiness. That is why someone with an drinking problem may often seem to be moody and irritable. They are just jonesing for a fix of their substance of choice, and without alcohol they are experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Drinking Alcohol to Relax or Feel Better
For many people, alcohol can be a stress release. It is a way to temporarily escape the pressures that come with being a part of modern society and the responsibilities that come with it. However, someone constantly needing alcohol to relax or to improve their mood is a sign that they may have a drinking problem. Alcohol addiction can oftentimes begin as an emotional response, in that people drink alcohol to temporarily ward off negative emotions and feelings. What they may not know is that it is just a band-aid for larger issues, and when the buzz wears off they may find themselves in a worse mood than before they started drinking. This can lead to a cycle of alcohol abuse that can eventually morph into alcoholism and alcohol abuse problems.
Drinking Alcohol Alone or in Secret
Most people begin drinking alcohol as a “social” activity. It is a way to get together with friends and celebrate good times. However, if drinking becomes a solitary activity for a friend or loved one, it may be a alcohol problem. Drinking in private or hiding the amount of alcohol consumed from your peers and social circle is a sign of a drinking problem.
Join a Clinical Research Trial for Alcohol Treatment
The Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research is currently hosting alcohol clinical research trials. There is one study for those who drink alcohol but do not need treatment as well as a research study for alcoholics who need help. If you or someone you know drinks alcohol regularly and wants to help end alcoholism, whether they want treatment or not, have them give us a call at (858) 784-7867.