Alcoholism ruins lives, separates families and couples, and can alienate its victims from their friends and loved ones. Regardless of speculations and critics, and the lighthearted way it is shown in the media, it is a very harmful disease. However, alcoholism is not something that happens overnight. You don’t wake up one morning and become an alcoholic—it develops over time. The more you depend on alcohol to “have a good time,” to “relax,” or to feel better about your own shortcomings, the more your body becomes dependent on it.
If you know the subtle signs of alcoholism ahead of time, it’s easier to face and confront a potential problem before it gets worse. The sooner the disease is caught and treated, the better.
Signs of Alcoholism
- An increased tolerance
- Growing preoccupation with drinking (planning recreational time around it)
- Drinking alone
- Lying about the amount of consumption
- Drinking before activities where there will be drinking
- Mood changes when drinking (“good” or “bad”)
- Changes in behavior while drinking (doing things out of character)
- Memory loss
- Lack of control over drinking (not knowing when to stop or slow down)
- Missing work or school, or a decrease in performance
According to the U.S. Library of Medicine, some people are more likely to become dependent on alcohol. Those at the highest risk:
- Are under peer pressure, especially teens and college-aged students
- Have depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, or schizophrenia
- Have easy access to alcohol
- Have low self-esteem or problems with relationships
- Live a stressful lifestyle
If you witness any of these signs in a friend, a loved one, or yourself, don’t brush them off. The sooner an alcohol problem is dealt with, the better. Initially, just expressing concern about the level of drinking is a good starting point. Research has shown that compassion and empathy are the most effective methods for dealing with someone who shows signs of alcoholism or who may be dealing with an alcohol problem.
According to the National Institutes of Health, “the ideal approach is to help people realize how much their alcohol use is harming their life, and the lives of those around them.”
Studies show a more positive response from alcoholics who have a supportive group of family members, friends, and employers who are not only honest with them about their concerns, but also try to help them see that drinking is preventing them from reaching their goals.
If you or a loved one is suffering from or showing early signs of alcoholism, help is available. Find more information on our website by clicking here: Livefree!