Alcohol is a normal part of society and a rite of passage to those who are over the age of 21. However, this doesn’t preclude the fact that many people develop a problem with alcohol consumption. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, roughly 15 million Americans had a problem with alcohol that could be described as alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2018. Here are 9 signs to help determine when casual drinking becomes alcoholism.
How to Know When Casual Drinking Becomes Alcoholism
Regular Memory Blackouts
One of the common signs that alcoholism may be present is memory impairment, also known as “memory blackouts.” A person may forget key moments or not have any recollection of what happened the previous night due to their consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol. The more alcohol s consumed, the higher the impairment.
In some cases of alcoholism, memory impairment may also be caused by the presence of a thiamine deficiency, resulting in a condition known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. This syndrome can cause problems in long-term information recollection, and in the collection of new short-term memories, such as forgetting a story that they told a few minutes ago.
Unable to Stop Drinking Once They’ve Started
People with an alcohol problem find it difficult to stop drinking once they’ve started. They may try to limit themselves before drinking, but once they start, they can’t help but drink much more than they set out to.
Personal relationships often suffer as a result of alcohol use disorder. Relationships with family or friends become strained as the alcohol abuser’s priorities and behavior changes. The drinker may always let those close to them down, or they may become unexpectedly violent or aggressive, putting a strain on their relationships.
Building a Tolerance
The body becomes tolerant to the effects of alcoholism over time. The person requires higher quantities of alcohol to get the same relaxing effect that alcohol gives typically. Tolerance is a clear sign that excessive, regular drinking is taking place because the body has adapted to the frequent presence of alcohol.
Lying and Secretive Behavior
Telling lies about where they were or how much they drank can be an indication that alcohol use disorder has developed. Lying in such a way makes it difficult for those around the drinker to determine just how much alcohol is consumed frequently.
Secretive behavior includes situations such as hiding alcohol around the house, in the car, or at work. It also includes putting alcohol in other drinks such as coffee to hide the act of drinking alcohol in normal situations.
Any person with an addiction to alcohol will experience the onset of withdrawal symptoms soon after they attempt to stop drinking. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:
- Loss of Appetite
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Dilated Pupils
- Cravings for Alcohol
- Mood Swings
Symptoms tend to peak around 24 to 72 hours. These symptoms occur due to the body’s adaptation to the presence of alcohol. The body will adjust to the new amounts of alcohol present and creates a new system that can be maintained in the short-term by more consuming more alcohol. This can be a good sign of when casual drinking becomes alcoholism.
It is always important to be completely honest with yourself. If you feel like something is just not right, but you are also still unsure if you have a problem, these free assessments are available:
Cage Alcohol Assessment
The Cage Alcohol Assessment is a short test developed by John Ewing. It helps identify a problem with alcohol.
MAST Alcohol Assessment
The Mast Alcohol Assessment was created in the 70s and is a proven tool for predicting an alcohol problem. It is also the oldest assessment available.
The AUDIT Alcohol Test was created recently by WHO (World Health Organization). The assessment contains 10 questions that will identify multiple early signs that can lead to alcoholism.
As stated above, if you are unsure about a potential problem, try one of the above assessments. It is crucial to stop a drinking problem early before it becomes severe. Even if you know you have a problem, it would still be a good idea to take an assessment.
Article Source: bestdrugrehabilitation.com