Many people around the world consume alcohol in social settings. For most people, deciding to have a glass of wine with dinner or an occasional night out drinking a few beers with friends is not a problem. However, some people become dependent on alcohol and it affects their lives in a negative way. If someone is suspected of excessive drinking or alcoholism, then the following signs can be watched out for.
1. Mood Swings
Irritability and mood swings can be a sign of alcohol addiction. People who drink may stop acting like themselves and become belligerent in unwarranted situations. The change in mood can occur while alcohol is being consumed, during the hangover or when it has been a long time since they had their last drink. Depression and anxiety can occur as well, both during the drinking and as one of the effects of alcohol withdrawal.
One of the things that are most often associated with binge-drinking is blackouts. Consuming too much alcohol can cause the brain to stop recording experiences as memories. It is possible for a person who is blackout drunk to engage in activities like socializing with friends, eat, shower or do other routine tasks without any memory of them. They can also do dangerous things like driving, spending money recklessly or engaging in sexual encounters without being in full control of their actions.
3. Memory Loss
Excessive use of alcohol can cause memory lapses. Blackouts cause short-term memory loss and can cause serious inconveniences. People have woken up in strange places or woken up at home and then been unable to figure out where they left their car or how they got back to their house. Alcohol can also damage nerve cells in the brain and affect how the brain processes vitamins like thiamine. A thiamine deficiency can contribute to dementia, leading to permanent memory loss.
4. Drinking Secretly
When someone conceals their activity from loved ones, that is a huge warning sign. They are likely aware of the fact that their actions are not acceptable, so in order to avoid dealing with family and friends, they hide from them. This can create many problems, as people may try to drink in the car before or after work and then drive incapacitated, risking their own and other driver’s lives.
The symptoms of a hangover vary depending on the person and can include nausea and vomiting, muscle aches, dizziness and irritability. Depending on the person, how much they drank and how much sleep they got, the symptoms can last up to 24 hours. Usually, symptoms will go away on their own, but signs of confusion, seizures, irregular breathing and pale or blue-tinged skin can indicate alcohol poisoning. In that case, the person should receive medical attention immediately.
Constant cravings for alcohol can indicate a problem. Waking up in the morning and reaching for a bottle of beer or a glass of whiskey is a bad sign. Cravings can occur at any time during the day or night and can be triggered by many different things. If meeting up with friends at a certain bar or restaurant involves drinking, then walking into the building can trigger a craving. For people who drink at home, it can be as simple as sitting down to dinner and wanting wine.
7. Decreased Quality of Life
All of the symptoms of alcohol addiction can contribute to a decreased quality of life. Memory loss, mood swings and irritability can cause problems at work, as customers and coworkers complain about the behavior they have to endure. Relationships with family members and friends can change as priorities shift away from spending quality time together and center on finding people and places to consume alcohol. Hobbies can be given up as more and more free time is spent drinking, and the ability to do enjoyable activities suffers.
If someone displays symptoms of alcohol addiction, then they should be provided resources to help them. It is important that they know a strong support system exists and that their loved ones will be there for them during their struggle. Many programs exist that help people recover and live full, normal lives again. The battle to overcome addiction can take a long time, but it is not impossible.