For many people, alcoholic beverages are a way to unwind and socialize, but for millions of people, alcohol use leads to addiction and a whole host of problems. In time, alcohol addiction can cause physical and mental health concerns that can even lead to death. If you’re concerned about your drinking habits, below is a list of 10 signs it’s time to seek treatment for alcohol addiction:
1. You’re Spending Too Much on Alcohol
One of the first signs people notice when developing alcohol problems is that they spend more than they intend to on drinking. In some cases, this can lead to debt and late bill payments. In alcohol addiction, many people begin to slowly place alcohol above everything else in order to satisfy their cravings, and over time, this descent into addiction may mean giving up everything to spend more money on drinking.
2. You’re in Trouble with the Law
Another sign of alcohol addiction is trouble with the law. Sometimes, people who are unable to control their drinking habits get citations or even arrested for things like drunk and disorderly conduct or being drunk in public. More serious alcohol-related legal troubles may include arrests from driving under the influence or vehicular accidents.
3. You’re Becoming Forgetful
Because alcohol can affect the way the brain processes sensory information, forgetfulness can be a sign of alcohol dependence. Drinking too much can lead to hazy memories, and as tolerance builds, some people experience blackouts where they don’t remember anything while drinking.
4. You’re Having Digestion Issues
Digestion issues are often the first physical health symptoms that people notice in addiction. Dark urine and pale stool are experienced by many people who are addicted to alcohol, but malnutrition and malabsorption can also be a sign of trouble. Furthermore, things like heartburn and nausea are common in those with alcohol dependence issues.
5. You’re Isolating Yourself
Drinking is typically associated with socializing, but people who struggle with alcohol addiction often begin to isolate themselves to drink in private. This is usually done so that other people will not see how much a person is drinking, but mental and personality changes due to alcohol troubles can also lead to isolation.
6. You’re Developing a Tolerance
Most people experience feelings of euphoria and relaxation with one or two drinks, but over time, it takes more and more alcohol in order to achieve the same results. This development of tolerance can continue indefinitely until serious complications arise, both mentally and physically.
7. You’re Missing Work
Calling into work to take time off due to hangovers or to drink is a serious sign of alcohol dependence. For most people, light drinking every now and then will not produce any ill effects the next day, but for someone with an alcohol problem, the effects of a hangover can last for days due to heavy and regular alcohol consumption.
8. You’re Loved Ones Express Concern
If friends and family have expressed concern about your drinking habits, it may be a sign that it’s time to seek treatment. People without alcohol problems drink seldom, and when they do consume alcohol, it’s in moderation. The person who is developing an alcohol addiction typically won’t see that their drinking is becoming a problem until others start pointing it out.
9. You Can’t Stop Drinking
As alcohol dependence progresses, people find that they drink more than they intend to or they can’t stop drinking once they start. Some alcoholics will set limits on their consumption, but those limits are often surpassed once drinking starts.
10. You’ve Developed Signs of Liver Disease
Finally, alcohol addiction can lead to serious consequences for the liver over time. Signs of liver disease include yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, bruising easily, pain in the abdomen and vomiting. If you’re concerned about liver damage due to alcohol, it’s important to speak with a healthcare provider right away.
The good news is that help is available for those struggling with alcohol, including medical intervention, rehabilitation and counseling. If you’ve noticed that alcohol is playing a larger role in your life than you would like, or if you’ve found that you can’t stop yourself from drinking, now is the time to seek treatment from a qualified medical professional. Once again, millions of people struggle with alcohol dependence, so you aren’t alone. By taking the first step and seeking treatment, you can have a brighter future free from the shackles of alcohol addiction. To learn more about alcohol addiction and potential treatment, have a look at The Recovery Village.