It’s never too early to seek help if you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol addiction. Up to a certain point, the adverse effects of problem or alcoholic drinking are reversible. However, treating alcoholism effectively becomes significantly more difficult over time and far too many families suffer unnecessarily.
This suffering can be avoided if you understand the early signs of alcoholism. The disease of addiction affects everyone a bit differently, but alcoholism does tend to show itself in relatively uniform ways. This is good news for the problem drinker and their family. It’s good news because these early warning signs can be a springboard to constructive action and healing.
Early Signs of Alcoholism
In the remaining sections, we’ll present five of the most common early signs of alcoholism. While many non-alcoholic drinkers will demonstrate one or two of these signs occasionally, it’s definitely time to seek help if they become a consistent part of a drinker’s behavior.
1. An inability to predict or control how much alcohol a drinker consumes.
Social drinkers typically know how much they want to drink on a given occasion. If you or a loved one frequently drinks more than they planned or cannot control the amount of alcohol consumed, then it’s probably time to start asking some difficult questions.
2. Frequent Hangovers
Many people drink too much here and there and end up regretting it in the morning. However, if a drinker starts to suffer from hangovers on a consistent basis, there’s a very good chance that they’ve started along the road to alcoholism.
3. Increased Tolerance to Alcohol
Any significant increase in alcohol tolerance is a sure sign of concern. Seek help right away if you or a loved one needs progressively more alcohol to achieve the same effect.
4. Preoccupation With Alcohol and Cravings
This can be tough to spot from the outside, but anyone who finds themselves thinking about or craving alcohol at inappropriate times should probably seek out professional help immediately.
5. Alcohol Begins to Have a Negative Impact on Major Life Areas
It’s probably time to seek help immediately if alcohol is interfering with someone’s work life, their relationships, their legal situation, or their physical and mental health.
Vigilance is Key
Alcoholism isn’t a disease that shows up in a blood test, a PET scan, or an MRI. No, alcoholism is much more cunning than that. It’s a disease that can progress invisibly at times, especially to the drinker themselves. Fortunately, there are many tell-tale signs that someone’s drinking is becoming a problem.
Vigilance is the key to effective treatment. This means paying attention to you or your loved one’s alcohol-related behaviors and answering some tough questions honestly. The negative effects of excessive drinking inevitably get worse over time, so early recognition is critical to effective treatment. If you notice any of these seven early signs of alcoholism in you or a loved one’s behavior, please seek help right away.