In the US, almost 15 million Americans over the age of 12 have alcohol use disorder (AUD). Alcohol can be a huge part of our culture, and some lines can become blurred between having a good time and addiction. Not to mention, while addiction can seem very obvious in some people, it's much harder to tell for others.
The truth is, there are varying degrees of alcoholism. So you might not even be aware that you have a substance abuse problem.
But have you been asking yourself: am I an alcoholic? Then you'll want to read on. Here are 6 silent signs of alcohol addiction you should know.
1. A Lack of Interest in Previous Hobbies and Activities
It's normal for people to grow out of certain hobbies and activities. We're constantly growing and changing, which means some interests might come and go.
However, have you noticed that you've dropped everything you were previously interested in? Is there a lack of replacement for these interests and instead, you've replaced them with solely drinking? Then this might be a sign that you have an alcohol problem.
Addiction can slowly take over someone's life, so much so that they don't have any time or energy for anything else.
Along these lines, alcohol might be all you can think about. You might always be obsessing about when you're going to get your next drink and how you can get out of obligations so you can get access to alcohol.
With high-functioning alcoholism, you might be able to carry on with normal obligations such as work and school. But otherwise, your ability to take care of responsibilities might deteriorate too.
2. Self-Medication With Alcohol
It can be very hard to seek help when you're going through difficult times. You might even want to bury those feelings so you don't think about or feel them. In that case, alcohol is the self-medication of choice for many people.
Do you find yourself pouring a glass of wine every time you're upset? Do you reach for the liquor bottle whenever you're feeling anxious? Then these are signs that you're self-medicating with alcohol.
While drinking can make you feel better temporarily, it's harmful in the long run. Getting into rehab can help you work through traumas so you won't have to use alcohol as a crutch.
3. Needing to Drink More
When you had your first alcoholic beverage, it might've taken just half a glass of wine for you to feel tipsy. But over time, you've gotten used to it and can handle one or two glasses of wine just fine.
However, if you have an alcohol problem, you might find that you need to drink more and more to get the same feelings as before. If you find that you can drink 5 beers and barely feel a thing, then this a big indicator that you've built up your tolerance. This is a sign that you have an alcohol dependence.
4. Difficulty Stopping Once You Start
What most people don't understand is that you don't have to drink every day to have an alcohol issue. Perhaps you only drink once in a while, but it always turns into binge drinking.
For example, you might tell yourself you're only going to have 2 drinks while out with your friends. But then you get tipsy so you have another drink, and then another. Before you know it, you're completely drunk and have had 5+ drinks.
This scenario can happen every once in a while to anyone. But if it's pretty much every time have a drink, then that's a red flag. Things can quickly spiral out of control and alcoholism can become a very real threat.
5. You Become a Different Person When Drinking
It's true that alcohol can help you loosen up and be more relaxed around people. But it shouldn't change you so dramatically that you're basically Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Those with an alcohol dependence or addiction might turn into nasty people when drunk, but are otherwise the kindest people while sober.
Alcoholism doesn't just involve personality changes either. Those with an alcohol problem might have a complete change in morals and ethics once they start drinking. For example, they might drive drunk recklessly or they might have unprotected sex with multiple partners in one night.
Also, if you constantly black out when drinking, this is a red flag that you're drinking more than you should.
6. Withdrawal Symptoms When You Don't Drink
The biggest warning sign that you're an alcoholic is if you get withdrawal symptoms if you don't drink constantly.
Think about when the effects of drinking wear off. Do you feel shaky, restless, anxious, and/or depressed? Do you have trouble sleeping and even get seizures or hallucinations?
These are all huge signs that your body's become dependent on alcohol, especially if you've noticed that you've built a tolerance as well.
Am I an Alcoholic? Now You Know the Answer
If you've been wondering, "am I an alcoholic," we hope this article has given you some direction and clarity. It can be difficult to recognize the signs of alcohol addiction in yourself, but once you do, it can be freeing and empowering to seek help.
Once you're in recovery, you'll be able to turn your life around and improve not only your health, but also your relationships with your loved ones. So while things might seem dark for now, know that there's always hope!
If you'd like to get started on treatment, then get in touch with us now. We'll help you by giving you the tools to maintain sobriety for years to come.