Lots of people consume alcohol regularly without it getting out of control. Because it is legal, relatively cheap, and easy to acquire, though, it can be easy for many people to let their drinking get out of control. Watching out for the warning signs of alcoholism is essential so that you can get help if you need it. If you have a loved one who you are concerned about, then you may want to look out for these signs so that you can determine if he or she needs help, too.
Drinking to the point of blacking out or experiencing short-term memory loss is a warning sign. If this is something that happens frequently, then there is even more cause for concern.
Having Extreme Mood Swings
Everyone experiences changes in mood from time to time. If you feel like you have a lot of mood swings or that you feel irritable a lot, though, it could be a sign of alcoholism or another substance abuse problem.
Hanging Out With a Different Crowd
There is certainly nothing wrong with meeting new people and making new friends. If you have found that you hang out with a completely different group of people from who you used to hang out with, though, it could be related to your alcohol abuse. This is particularly true if you have chosen to start hanging out with people who like to drink a lot.
Making Excuses to Drink
One common problem that many people who abuse alcohol have is making excuses to drink. If you're always looking for reasons to drink -- such as for celebrations, when having a bad day and more -- then it could be a sign of a much bigger problem.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to spend time by yourself now and then. However, if you are becoming isolated from your family and friends, it could be an indication of a bigger problem. This is particularly true if you regularly isolate yourself from family or friends so that you can drink or so that you can hide your drinking from your loved ones.
Putting Responsibilities to the Side
Some people, including some people who have alcohol abuse issues, drink regularly, and are still able to take care of their responsibilities. A lot of people find that they start slacking off at work, slacking off on their household chores, and more when they drink a lot.
Feeling Withdrawal Symptoms
When you think about going through withdrawal symptoms, then you might think about significant symptoms. After all, you might have heard about just how dangerous withdrawals from alcohol and other substances can be. It's true that people can become very sick or can even die from alcohol withdrawals, but your symptoms do not have to be this severe for there to be a problem.
If you find that you feel discomfort or that you feel hungover when you aren't drinking, for example, it could be an indication of an issue with alcohol use.
Feeling Anxious About Drinking
Many people who have alcohol abuse problems find that they feel very anxious about their drinking. If you feel anxious and unsettled when you aren't able to drink or if you feel anxious in the hours leading up to when you will be able to drink, for example, it could be a sign that you do not have a healthy attitude toward drinking.
Thinking You Should Stop Drinking
If you have ever had feelings that you should stop drinking, then it could be a sign that you might realize that drinking is having a negative impact on your life. You may experience guilt or might wonder about how your life would be different if you were to quit drinking, for example.
Getting Defensive About Your Drinking
Many people who suffer from alcohol abuse issues find that they get very defensive about their drinking. If someone asks you about how much or how often you are drinking or about whether you think you have a problem with alcohol, for example, you might find yourself snapping back at that person or getting defensive.
Having a Drink First Thing in the Morning
For most people who have a more healthy relationship with alcohol, drinking first thing in the morning is not usually a good idea. If you find that you sometimes -- or often -- want to have a drink when you first wake up, such as if you do so to combat the hangover or to steady your nerves -- then it might be an indication that your drinking has become unhealthy.
Feeling Unable to Stop Drinking
You may have decided that you want to stop drinking, but you might not be sure of how to. The idea of stopping drinking might feel impossible or very difficult for you. If you aren't able to stop drinking on your own, then it's an indication that you might need help.
Getting Into Legal Trouble Because of Drinking
Even though alcohol is legal for adults of the appropriate age, it is possible to get in legal trouble because of alcohol. If you ever find yourself getting arrested for being intoxicated in public, drinking, and driving, buying alcohol for minors or other alcohol-related crimes, then you could face serious consequences. You may want to think about what might have led you to this point and what you can do to avoid getting in legal trouble with alcohol in the future.
If any of the signs above seem familiar to you, then it's essential to take the situation seriously. Whether you are the one who is exhibiting signs of alcohol abuse or if it's a friend or family member who you are concerned about, you should know that there is help out there. Seeking help as soon as possible can help you take back control of your life before things spiral out of control.