According to Our World in Data, approximately 107 million people around the world have an alcohol use disorder. Most people enjoy having the odd drink, and there is nothing wrong with drinking alcohol within recommended limits, but if you drink regularly, your drinking could be becoming more of a problem than you think.
The sooner you are able to recognize the signs that you may be on the brink of alcohol addiction, the easier it will be to seek help and take steps to prevent becoming an addict. So, here are eight ways to recognize the start of alcohol addiction.
1. Not Being Able to Control the Amount of Alcohol You Drink and the Times When You Drink
If you are unable to control how much alcohol you drink or when you drink, it is a clear sign that you are starting to become addicted to alcohol. After all, the very meaning of addiction is someone cannot stop using something or engaging in some activity.
As long as you are easily able to resist the urge to drink, and not be mistaken that you think you can resist the urge, you can help prevent becoming addicted. But feeling compelled to drink alcohol or having uncontrollable cravings to drink alcohol and not being able to limit the times you drink and the amount you drink are signs of an alcohol use disorder.
2. Consuming More Alcohol Because You Have Built Up a Tolerance
If you find you have an increased tolerance to the alcohol you consume, and are therefore drinking larger quantities of alcohol to experience the same effects that you once experienced with smaller amounts of alcohol, it is an indication that you are becoming addicted.
3. Needing to Drink Alcohol to Feel Normal
If you regularly drink alcohol to feel “more normal” or to feel good, it is a sign that you have a problem. It is also often a sign that you are not addressing underlying problems that are causing your drinking behavior.
4. Stashing Alcohol
Do you find yourself stashing away alcohol in places like your car or at work? Perhaps you have a secret place at home where you keep a bottle of alcohol. If that is the case, or you find yourself often drinking alone or in secret, you have an addiction problem.
5. Irritability When You Are Unable to Drink Alcohol
If you feel irritated when you cannot drink alcohol when you want to, it is another sign that you could have an alcohol use disorder.
6. Continuing to Drink Despite Negative Consequences
If you know your drinking is having negative consequences, on your family and work, for example, and you continue drinking alcohol anyway, it is a clear signal that you are becoming addicted.
7. Experiencing Blackouts
Are there times when you experience blackouts? If you have periods in which you cannot remember what you did, who you were with, and where you were, it’s more than likely that you have an alcohol addiction.
Drinking alcohol moderately does not cause someone to have blackouts, so if you are finding yourself experiencing memory blanks, it is time to take control of your drinking problem.
8. Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms
Physical symptoms can also be a sign of alcohol use disorder. If you go without an alcoholic drink and then experience symptoms like nausea, sweating, and shaking, it will be clear that you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
And that is a strong indication that you have a drinking problem. Withdrawal symptoms can also include vomiting and hallucinations. The symptoms arise because your body will feel like it cannot function normally without alcohol.
Options for Seeking Help with Your Drinking
If you are showing any signs of an alcohol use disorder, it is time to seek help. Available options include therapy sessions, short-term residential treatments, and long-term residential treatments; such as at the drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility Fort Wayne Recovery.
But your first step should be to speak to your doctor or another medical professional. You can then learn about the various treatment options that are available, access appropriate resources, and take the first step toward recovery.
Diagnosing Alcohol Addiction
When you consult a doctor, the first thing he or she will do is examine you to diagnose you with alcohol use disorder or another problem. There is no one way of testing for alcohol addiction, but common methods that are employed include taking all of your behaviors and health problems into consideration and using questionnaires to evaluate your dependence on alcohol and how you behave when you consume alcohol.
Sometimes, doctors ask family members, friends, and colleagues to fill out questionnaires too. That can help the doctor further get to the root cause of your problem and come up with an accurate diagnosis. It can also help to identify any behaviors that trigger your drinking.
Once you are diagnosed with alcohol use disorder, your doctor can help you to explore the treatment options that are available, such as those outlined above.
Do not let alcohol control your life. If any of the above ways of recognizing alcohol addiction ring true, it is time to seek professional help and get your life back on track.
Begin by talking to your doctor. He or she will keep your confidence, identify whether you are addicted to alcohol, and help you explore the various treatment options that are available.
So, to recap, look out for the following signs of alcohol use disorder:
- Not Being Able to Control the Amount of Alcohol You Drink and the Times When You Drink.
- Consuming More Alcohol Because You Have Built Up a Tolerance.
- Needing to Drink Alcohol to Feel Normal.
- Stashing Alcohol.
- Irritability When You Are Unable to Drink Alcohol.
- Continuing to Drink Despite Negative Consequences.
- Experiencing Blackouts.
- Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms
You may also be interested in this article about the health benefits of going with non-alcoholic drinks.