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The Red Flags: 5 Signs of Alcoholism

The Red Flags: 5 Signs of Alcoholism
Written by Seth Fletcher on January 22, 2016
Last update: February 9, 2023
signs of alcoholismAlcohol is now the third-leading cause of the global burden of disease and injury, and it's showing. This is one of the main reasons an alcohol rehab exists.Here we will show you five signs of alcoholism so you're aware.Did you know that a Centre for Addiction and Mental Health study found Canadians drink more than 50% above the global average?Substance abuse has now cost the Canadian health care system about $8 billion.Worse, it claims a staggering 47,000 lives in Canada each year, too.It's a problem that needs addressing, no matter how tough that may be.

Here are 5 signs of alcoholism to look out for.

If you suspect a friend or a loved one may have an alcohol problem, you need to help them get into an alcohol rehab. Why alcohol rehab? Because trying to recover by themselves will not be an easy task. It may work for short periods of time and then you might relapse bigger and badder. This can then turn into a cycle.

Sign #1: Lying About Drinking.

One of the first signs that there's a problem is when the person starts lying about their drinking.Denial is very common amongst people struggling with a drinking problem, so many alcoholics and problem drinkers often drink in secret or lie about how much they have to make it seem like it's no big deal.This can be tough on their loved ones, as it's hard to spot, but it's a sure sign that there's a problem.

Sign #2: Neglecting Responsibilities

As alcohol use progresses an individual may find it more difficult to follow through with their responsibilities. This is often caused by a shift in their priorities; making obtaining and using alcohol their primary focus. However, as alcohol use worsens an individual may not be physically or emotionally well enough to maintain responsibilities. As alcohol abuse worsens, an individual may attempt to let go of some responsibilities [knowingly or not], for example getting rid of a pet, or no longer participating in things they once cared about- sports, relationships, wellness, education etc. While individuals who abuse alcohol may not recognize a change in their responsibilities or participation, others around them are more likely to notice these changes, due to the disruption is has on them. Many family members or friends notice hygiene practices slipping, calling into work sick, a change in mood, or no longer being accountable.

Sign #3: Drinking to De-Stress

Having a drink to unwind is fine, but there is a line that shouldn't be crossed. alcoholism signs

Many people often begin problem drinking as a result of their habit of having a drink to relax. If a person you know reaches for the bottle after every stressful situation, there's a problem.

For many people, alcohol use is the norm, on a social platform and often referenced as a way to unwind after a stressful day, as part of an enjoyable addition to a meal or celebratory event.

However, for those who struggle with an alcohol abuse disorder, utilizing alcohol as a form of coping can cause serious risk. It should be noted that using alcohol as a means to unwind, or deal with difficult situations does not pose risk for everyone, however, some may find themselves unable to stop using alcohol despite their stress-provoking situation improved.

For individuals with an alcohol abuse disorder, they find comfort or relief from consuming alcohol, and the appeal of alleviation from stressful situations becomes the reinforcer for continued use.  Alcohol provides relief following a bad day at work, a fight, financial stressors, or loss of a loved one by making an individual relaxed, forget worries and reduce inhibitions. However, after an extended period of alcohol use, many will no longer find alcohol beneficial in providing relief but rather add to lives complications.

This is caused from a chemical change in an individual's brain, where the production of important chemicals are reduced inducing anxiety and irritability. In thus, a person continues to drink to avoid feeling bad.

Sign #4: Blacking Out Regularly

If a person is blacking out regularly, they are obviously in need of alcohol rehab help.Blackouts are episodes of partial or total loss of memory, where an individual is capable of participating in events which they cannot recall.Simply put, it's what happens when a person drinks too much.Individuals who consume too much alcohol in one sitting may experience gaps in their memory or find themselves engaging in high risk activities, that they may not participate in if sober. For some individuals, they will regularly experience a blackout, after consuming alcohol and some are individuals may consume alcohol and never blackout.  When a blackout occurs, it is assumed that an individual would be seen engaging in ways that make them noticeably intoxicated; for instance having difficulty standing, or slurring words. However, when a blackout occurs, it is not alway easy to identify. Some individuals may be able to participate in activities such as carrying on a speech or driving an automobile.  Individuals who experience blackouts may find themselves to with significant negative consequences as a result; for example, unplanned pregnancy, injury, legal issues and relational conflict.  

Sign #5: Showing Signs of Dependency

Once the person you know begins showing signs of dependency, no question remains.They need professional help of an alcohol rehab.According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, people who are alcohol dependent will need to drink more and more and more to get drunk, experience withdrawal symptoms, consistently fail to cut down their drinking.They will also give up important work or personal time to drink, spend a lot of time getting drunk and recovering, and continue to drink despite knowing they have a physical or psychological problem exacerbated by drinking.Anyone who over consumes alcohol is at risk of developing a dependency. However, there are some populations who are at a greater risk of experiencing complications related to alcohol use. Such populations are those who have mental health, physical illnesses, live in poverty, and individuals who lack coping strategies to manage the pressures of life. Individuals with an alcohol dependence/use disorder will often experience difficulty with interpersonal relationships, problems with their education and/or employment, finances and legal problems. Some individuals may complain of other issues related to their mood, such as irritability, and interruptions in their sleep cycle, whether they have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or insomnia.For an individual to be diagnosed with an alcohol dependency disorder, it is important to acknowledge that an established set of criteria must be met, which can be found in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual- 5 . Psychiatrists utilize this manual to help distinguish the severity of an individual's substance use, which is done through a specific set of questions, to measure who meets this criteria. Alcohol dependency is a very serious diagnosis and identifies those individuals who have been most negatively impacted by the consumption of alcohol.  Psychiatrists assess alcohol dependency through several questions that are review an individual's withdrawal or tolerance to alcohol; how often alcohol is used or the amounts  consumed; having the desire to cut down or control alcohol use unsuccessfully; time spent obtaining alcohol, using alcohol, or recovering from alcohol; missing important occupational, social, or recreational activities; continued alcohol use despite persistent physical or psychological problems that has likely been caused or made worse by alcohol.

"If a person experiences at least three of these signs of alcoholism, they are alcohol dependent."

 In the event that any of these signs of alcoholism sound familiar, get your loved one alcohol rehab help. Only alcohol addiction treatment centers are cut out for doing a great job with minimal chances of relapses. We, the Canadian Centre for Addictions are a highly trusted ontario alcohol rehab.

A Certified Addiction Counsellor, Seth brings many years of professional experience working the front lines of addiction in both the government and privatized sectors.

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