According to research published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 85.6% of people ages 18 and up reported they had drank alcohol in their lifetime. Further, 54.9% reported drinking in the past month. While most adults have drank and more than half of adults drink regularly, not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic.
The NIAAA estimates that nearly 15 million Americans struggle with alcohol use disorder (AUD), the formal diagnosis given for alcohol addiction. However, these numbers may be significantly higher due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as rates of drug and alcohol abuse across the country have reached all-time highs. So, how do you know if you are an alcoholic?
Hint: If you have to ask yourself (or the internet) if you’re an alcoholic, you probably are. The good news is our team at Daylight Recovery Center can help.
Here are six tell-tale signs of alcohol addiction.
1. You Prefer to Drink Alone so You Can Drink as Much as You Want Without Anyone Finding Out
Alcohol is a fairly socially acceptable substance in the United States. People view it as normal to have a glass of wine with dinner or meet friends at the bar after work. Many people can have one drink and go on with the rest of their day, but alcoholics struggle to stop drinking once they’ve begun.
If you are an alcoholic, you may prefer drinking alone rather than going out. You may enjoy being by yourself so the people around you cannot see or judge how much you drink. You may even continue going out with friends and drinking with them but return home only to drink twice as much as you did earlier. If you feel the urge to keep your drinking habits a secret or hide alcohol from loved ones, you’re probably addicted to alcohol.
2. You’ve Lost Interest in Activities You Once Enjoyed–You’d Rather be Drinking
The more your alcohol addiction progresses, the more important drinking will become. You may end up losing interest in hobbies or activities that you were once passionate about. You may stop showing up to social events because you’d rather be drinking. If alcohol has become a top priority in your life and you feel as though you cannot function without it, you may be an alcoholic.
3. You Have to Drink a Lot More Than You Previously Did to Get Drunk
Another tell-tale sign that you are addicted to alcohol is if you’ve developed a tolerance. The longer and more frequently you drink, the more tolerant your body becomes to alcohol, and the more alcohol you need to consume to feel drink.
While two shots may have given you a nice buzz a few months ago, you may now find yourself drinking a pint of liquor every day. If you have noticed you’ve had to increase your alcohol intake to feel the effects you desire, you are well on your way to becoming an alcoholic.
4. You Wake Up With The Shakes and Get Sick If You Don’t Drink
Alcohol addiction wreaks havoc on the mind and body. In addition to tolerance, alcoholics also develop physical dependence. Dependence occurs when the body can no longer function normally in the absence of alcohol. If the body depends on alcohol in the system to function, you experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms like sweating, body aches, anxiety, restlessness, and tremors when you don’t drink. You may find yourself unable to go to work, care for your kids, or complete tasks due to how sick you feel until you consume alcohol.
One of the earliest signs of a drinking problem is waking up with the shakes. If you feel shaky, unsteady, or general discomfort before you start drinking, you may be suffering from alcoholism.
5. Alcohol is All You Can Think About and Cravings Are Consuming Your Life
Alcohol cravings are obsessive thoughts or intense urges to drink. Cravings may come unexpectedly or when triggered by a person, place, or emotion, or event. As your drinking problem progresses, your cravings may become more intense. You may be tempted to leave social events early so you can drink or find yourself unable to focus until you’ve consumed alcohol. These cravings get worse and more intense the longer you go in between drinks, and they accompany withdrawal symptoms when you try to sober up.
6. You’re Still Drinking Even Though it is Causing a Decline in Your Mental and Physical Health
As cravings begin consuming your life, you may find it difficult to stop drinking. You may rely on alcohol to get through the day. However, alcohol is extremely dangerous when abused and can lead to an array of mental and physical health issues.
If you have been drinking a lot, you may experience weight gain, acne, hormonal issues, depression, anxiety, and mood swings. If you have been chronically drinking over the years, you may have developed more severe issues, like liver damage or digestive issues. But, if you are still stuck in the grips of alcohol addiction, none of this will be able to convince you to stop drinking.
Many alcoholics will continue drinking despite consequences, including those that affect their mental and physical health.
Find Help for Alcohol Addiction Today
Alcoholism can destroy your health, your career, and your family. Although admitting you have a problem isn’t easy, it’s the most vital step in changing your life for the better.
“We understand that when someone takes the first step and gives us a call, he/she is at a crossroads. Usually, all options have been exhausted and the feeling of hopelessness has sunken in. It’s at this moment you have chosen to make a change and Daylight Recovery is here with open arms.”– Daylight Recovery Center
Our detox and treatment program can help you kick your drinking problem once and for all. Call us now to get started.