Adam’s life spiraled out of control after his wife left him.
He turned to alcohol to fill the void. Drinking became his coping mechanism for everything. Adam’s family and friends were concerned about him but weren’t sure if he had a “real” problem.
Alcohol abuse doesn’t always present itself as a life-or-death situation, but it is. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol, don’t wait for things to worsen. The path towards healing starts now by learning the top warning signs.
Read on to learn the top symptoms of alcohol dependence.
1. Urges to Drink
Alcohol cravings can be extremely powerful and difficult to resist. They may come on suddenly or may build up slowly over time. For some people, specific events or situations, such as seeing someone else drink alcohol or being in a place where alcohol triggers cravings.
For others, cravings may occur without any obvious trigger. Regardless of the cause, alcohol cravings can be very intense and hard to ignore.
People who experience cravings often report a strong need or desire to drink and physical symptoms such as sweating and trembling. Cravings can vary in frequency, from happening several times a day to only occurring occasionally.
If you’re struggling to control your alcohol consumption, finding ways to cope with cravings when they occur is essential. Some helpful strategies include distraction, deep breathing exercises, and talking to a supportive friend or family member.
2. Needing a Drink to Unwind
One of the signs of alcohol dependence is feeling like you need to drink to relax or calm down. This happens because alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. That means it slows down the communication between your brain and your body.
When you drink, you may feel like your worries are melting away, and you’re finally able to relax. However, this is only temporary.
Alcohol makes it harder for you to cope with stress and can contribute to anxiety and depression. If you find that you’re relying on alcohol to help you relax, it’s essential to reach out for help. There are many resources available to support you on your journey to recovery.
3. Alcohol Abuse
If you find that you’re regularly drinking more alcohol than you had planned to or more than you intended to drink, it could be a sign that you’re developing alcohol dependence. It could also be a sign of alcohol abuse. This is a serious matter, and it’s essential, to be honest about what’s happening.
Alcohol dependence can lead to many problems, including liver damage, financial difficulties, relationship problems, and even legal trouble. If you’re worried that you might be dependent on alcohol, it’s essential to seek out professional help.
There are treatment options available that can help you get your life back on track. Remember, you’re not alone in this – service is out there.
4. Addicted to Alcohol
It can be hard to know if you’re addicted to alcohol. After all, social drinking is a common and accepted part of many cultures. However, there are some signs that you may be dependent on alcohol.
One of the most common signs is having trouble cutting down or controlling your drinking habits. If you find that you’re regularly drinking more than you are intended or unable to stick to the limits you set for yourself, it may be time to seek help.
Other signs of alcohol dependence include:
- Feeling the need to drink to relax
- Feeling guilty or ashamed
- Experiencing financial problems
After a night of drinking, do you wake up feeling ashamed? Even if you didn’t do anything you regret, you feel a heavy sense of guilt or something being wrong. If this sounds familiar, you might be tuning into a part of yourself that wants a change.
If a loved one becomes defensive when you comment on their shame towards drinking, it could be a cry for help.
If you’re concerned about alcohol use, talk to your doctor or a professional counselor. They can help you assess your situation and make the best health and well-being decisions.
5. Negative Consequences in Personal Life
One of the most common signs of alcohol dependence is experiencing negative consequences due to your drinking. This can include problems with work, school, relationships, legal issues, and so on.
For instance, we’re you on a fast track to promotion but suddenly find yourself falling behind? Were you due to graduate but find yourself struggling to keep up with coursework? When you used to be able to do something but now find it impossible, alcohol could be to blame.
Don’t worry, though, the negative effects stop almost immediately when the drinking stops. Soon, it becomes possible to go after life goals with the energy and tenacity you need!
6. Drinking Despite Problems
It’s normal to enjoy a drink now and then, but it’s not normal to feel like you can’t live without alcohol. If drinking has become more important than other things in your life, it may be a sign that you’re dependent on alcohol. One major sign of dependence is continuing to drink even though it’s causing harm or problems in your life.
For example, you may keep drinking even though it’s causing financial problems or making you miss work. Or, you may continue drinking even though it harms your health or damages your relationships.
If you’re struggling to control your drinking, it’s important to get help. Alcohol dependence is a serious problem, but there are treatments that can help you recover.
7. Developing a Tolerance
When someone first starts drinking alcohol, it doesn’t take much to feel the desired effects. However, over time, the body becomes tolerant to the substance and requires more and more to feel those same effects. This is because chronic drinking causes brain changes that lead to tolerance.
For example, chronic drinking can lead to a decrease in the number of GABA receptors, which are responsible for inhibiting neural activity. As a result, the brain becomes less responsive to alcohol’s sedative effects.
In addition, chronic drinking can also lead to an increase in glutamine synthetase activity, which makes the brain more resistant to alcohol’s inhibitory effects. As tolerance develops, it becomes increasingly difficult for someone to control their alcohol consumption, which can lead to dependence and addiction. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the signs of tolerance so that you can seek help before it’s too late.
8. Lack of Joy
It’s normal to feel down every now and then. The world happiness report finds that people tend to worry about the state of the world on a frequent basis. However, that doesn’t mean your life should be devoid of joy.
One of the signs that someone may be alcohol dependent is losing the joy in their life. If activities that used to bring pleasure no longer do, alcohol may be impacting mood or cognitive functioning.
For example, if a loved one used to enjoy going out with friends but now find themselves feeling anxious or depressed when they try to socialize, it could be a sign that they’re relying on alcohol to cope. If you’re worried about someone you care about, reach out to them and offer your support. They may not be ready to admit there’s a problem, but letting them know you’re there for them can make a world of difference.
9. Feeling Depressed
Alcohol dependence and depression often go hand-in-hand. People dependent on alcohol may start to experience symptoms of depression, and those who are already struggling with depression may turn to alcohol as a way to self-medicate. There are several reasons why these two conditions so often co-occur.
For one, alcohol is a depressant, so it can exacerbate existing symptoms of depression. Since depression symptoms are similar to symptoms of alcohol dependence, it can be hard to notice the additional irritation at first.
Additionally, drinking can interfere with sleep, which can further contribute to feelings of depression. Finally, alcoholism can lead to social isolation, triggering or worsening depression.
If you are struggling with both alcohol dependence and depression, help is out there. Addiction treatment often includes therapy and medication, and working with a mental health professional can help you to manage your depression in a healthy way. With treatment, it is possible to live a sober and fulfilling life.
Symptoms of Alcohol Dependence
There’s no easy way to admit that alcohol abuse is happening. However, once you identify symptoms of alcohol dependence, you can start taking steps towards recovery. The sooner you reach out for professional assistance, the sooner the healing can begin.
Detox To Rehab is here to answer any questions you might have. If you want access to the best resources and caring individuals, we can help.
Life doesn’t end because of alcohol dependence. It begins when you start treatment. Let’s work together to stop substance abuse; contact us today.