The signs of alcoholism may be overlooked or even condoned by the people around us due to the fact that it is such a legal and cultural activity. From formal dinners to business meals or even casual outings; there is no rendezvous without it. Alcohol abuse isn’t treated with quite the taboo that other similarly addictive substances are subject to.
In fact, its access and convenience can be compared to that of a cup of coffee, which is the reason why alcoholism is such a treacherous and reticent addiction- one that many want to escape from when it’s already too late. An increasing 5.9 percent of all global deaths have been attributed to alcoholism, being also one of the leading risk factors for premature death and disability.
Have you noticed you may be headed towards that path? Well, here are 5 warning signs of alcoholism and how to detect them before it’s too late.
1. Same Amounts Fail to Bring Along the Same Effects
Do you drink a lot more than other people without getting drunk? Do your friends consider you to be a ‘heavy weight’? This sign appears during the early stages of alcohol abuse; you should start to get concerned when 2 glasses of wine used to make you feel a little warmer but now 4 won’t come anywhere near that reaction; this means you’ve already developed tolerance to this substance.
It has been proven by scientists that alcohol is able to make changes in the brain encouraging you to want to drink more, and the more that you do, the more noticeable these changes will be.
2. No Alcohol, No Fun
Ever felt that fun and drinking go hand in hand and there’s no way to enjoy certain situations without a drink? Alcohol helps you loosen up by releasing your inhibitions and as a result, you feel less shy, taciturn or preoccupied.
I started to realize I had a problem after attending a concert with some friends. We were not drinking, nor we were planning to; what struck me the most was that I was right in front of one of my favorite artists and all I could think about was drinking a glass of whiskey on the rocks, or a glass of wine, or even a beer. More than anything, it worried me. I knew I had to stop. If you can’t enjoy your time without a little -or plenty- of alcohol in your system, it’s time for you to seek help.
3. Choosing Drinking Over Other Responsibilities and Obligations
Have ever skipped a certain family trip, or friends gathering because you know they won’t have any alcoholic drinks available? Alcohol consumption can affect your social life and destroy it. You may start to miss out on important reunions due to severe alcohol intake and find you would rather stay at home and have a drink -perhaps go to a bar- in order to satisfy your craving.
As a result of this, many of your relationships and acquaintances, as well as work-related assignments, could be spoiled due to the fact that most of your time is spent either drinking or recovering from the latter.
4. Unable to Stop Once Engaged in the Activity
Just because you open a bottle or a pack of beers, does not mean you have to finish it right away. If you find yourself under the need of drinking it all, just because, you may have a problem. Sometimes you may think that you haven’t had much and that you will be able to handle driving or heavy machinery, so you take no precautions when faced with such situations.
Sadly, the stop sign for many is blacking out, which in turn, in my case, would always result in inadequate behavior and short-term memory loss. Blackouts indicate high levels of intoxication, again being the base of poor judgment and poor decision-making.
5. Withdrawal Symptoms Appear
Withdrawal is the reaction of your body to the lack of alcohol. It usually appears six hours to a few days after you stop drinking because your body has become dependent on the substance and your nervous system isn’t easily adapted to going without a drink after long periods of abuse. You may start feeling an intense headache accompanied by nausea, anxiety, and irritability, as well as emotional imbalance and insomnia followed by nightmares and even seizures, in extreme cases.
Alcoholism will affect your personal and professional relationships, and scientifically it leads to other problematic body responses such as liver damage -including cirrhosis-, cardiovascular diseases, increased risk of cancer, depression and even dementia. If you have children and they are raised in an environment where they are exposed to alcoholism, they are 4 times more likely to abuse it.
Keep in mind that your drinking doesn’t only hurt you: it also hurts the people around you, forcing them to deal with your addiction, and as much as you would want them to step away, if they care for you, they are most likely to be on your back about this.
On a brighter note, the sooner you decide to quit, the faster you will see a change. There are many benefits of quitting alcohol. Do have any other signs of alcohol abuse we may have missed?