spotting the signs of problematic drinking

Spotting the Signs of Problematic Drinking

Alcohol is legal in almost all countries and is widely consumed in social situations. It is easy to develop problematic drinking without realizing it. About 85% of people 18 or older have ever taken alcohol, and 5.3% of people ages 12 or older have alcohol use disorder.

Alcohol can be beneficial when taken in small quantities. If it becomes problematic, it affects the health and well-being of the drinker and, by extension, the lives of those around them. People should intervene if they believe a friend or family member is abusing alcohol.

In this post, you will learn how to recognize the warning signs of a drinking problem and how to speak to and support a loved one suffering from this chronic but treatable condition.

Warning Signs of Alcoholism

There are several physical and behavioral signs of potential alcohol use disorder. It is easy to ignore them because of how widely accepted alcohol abuse is. But what may seem a minor issue can become quite dangerous.

Be on the lookout for the following early warning signs of alcoholism in your loved one:

• They drink more than planned

• They spend a lot of time drinking

• They are regularly intoxicated

• They have a higher alcohol tolerance

• They crave alcohol from time to time

• They lose interest in activities they used to enjoy

• They don’t keep up with their responsibilities at home, school, or work

Many of these warning signs of a drinking problem could easily be indicators of something else. So, they should only be considered indicators of problematic drinking if accompanied by other telltale signs of an alcohol problem.

You can tell whether your loved one is intoxicated by observing them. If intoxicated, they could have bloodshot eyes, alcohol on their breath, lack of balance, and slurred speech.

Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

If a loved one engages in problematic drinking, they could have various symptoms depending on several factors, such as the severity of the drinking. Some of the most common symptoms include:

• Continuing to drink alcohol even though it leads to physical, social, work, or relationship issues

• Lying about their alcohol intake amount

• Making excuses for drinking, such as to deal with stress or to relax

• Experiencing short-term memory loss

• Feeling hungover even when they didn’t drink

• Irritability and extreme mood swings

• Trouble sleeping, depression, restlessness, nausea, etc.

• They want to stop drinking, but they can’t

• Drinking to the point of passing out

Knowing the signs of an alcohol problem above can help you prepare to talk to your loved one about their drinking problem. 

While there are some identifiable warning signs of problematic drinking, some signs might be hard to identify. There are also cases of why individuals try to hide their alcohol abuse problem by drinking privately and isolating themselves from other people. In such cases, it becomes difficult for loved ones to intercede. 

People need to be entirely sure, and they can consult a physician who may recommend the following treatment options. By partaking in a treatment program, people and their loved ones can identify warning signs of problematic drinking and get ideas for combating them to prevent a relapse. 

Treatments for Alcoholism

If a loved one exhibits some of the warning signs and symptoms above, they could be suffering from alcohol abuse disorder. They can get treatment by seeking help from a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous, taking medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, or self-detoxification.

However, the first step should be seeking help from a healthcare professional. A professional can evaluate your loved one, tell you if they need assistance, and create a customized treatment plan. They can also refer your loved one to a specialist, treatment center, or counseling center.

Depending on the severity, a treatment center is an excellent option as it employs various treatment methods. They are also better equipped to deal with withdrawal symptoms. Being around people who have gone through the same thing can help them recover faster.

How to Talk to Someone about Drinking Too Much

Most people with problematic drinking don’t get treatment because they don’t realize they have a problem. So, it is up to the person to help a loved one recognize and accept they need help by talking to them.

When approaching them, one must make sure you don’t sound like you are judging them, or they may be reluctant to listen to you and acknowledge they have a problem. The goal is to get them to listen, which is the first step in the treatment process. The tips below should help you.

• Create a list of the points they plan on discussing so one can cover everything and stay on track.

• Express concerns and how the loved one’s alcohol use is affecting their relationships

• Explain how they are worried about the health, well-being, and future of the loved one

• Avoid using labels like “addict” or “alcoholic,” or they could become upset or defensive

• Be understanding and empathetic in the choice of words

• Present treatment options instead of giving demands

The loved one likely doesn’t understand they have a problem. Speaking to them while following the tips above should help lower their guard and be ready to seek treatment. If there is someone close to both parties that overcame problematic drinking, they are the best choice to speak to them.

Medical professionals can also help loved ones talk to the person struggling and offer drug and alcohol treatment options.

Help your loved one Recover

Problematic drinking affects everyone around the alcohol abuser. That is why you must seek the best treatment as soon as you spot the above signs of a drinking problem for your loved one.

At New Method Wellness, your loved one will have the best chance for long-term sobriety. We are a licensed and accredited residential treatment center. Our treatment strategy involves treating substance addiction and the underlying mental health issues, which often co-occur. We pair your loved one with two therapists to ensure the individualized high-quality care they deserve.

Contact us today to take the first step.

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