11 Signs of Alcohol Addiction
What are some symptoms you should look for if you worry someone you love has a drinking problem?
Everyone has a friend who drinks a bit too much, but do they show signs of alcohol addiction? Perhaps they binge drink heavily on the weekends or they partake in a daily drink or two. Not every heavy drinker or daily drinker is an alcoholic, though. People with alcoholism exist in an entirely different class.signs of alcohol addiction
This doesn’t mean binge drinking isn’t a problem as well. It’s a common practice among 18- to 34-year-olds across the United States. They find themselves in unsafe or risky situations due to their drinking, such as driving under the influence or behaving aggressively. Some binge drinkers may even show a few signs of alcohol addiction.
Still, despite the dangers that result from binge drinking, there are some big differences that separate alcoholics from binge drinkers. Physicians today diagnose people who show signs of alcohol addiction with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). It is a serious and progressive condition that eventually leads to hospitalization, incarceration, or death.
There are some things to look for if you worry your friend falls in this category of drinkers. They can find help if they’re willing and interested in making a change. Continue reading to find out more about Alcohol Use Disorder, the signs of a problem, and the options for treatment.
What is Alcohol Use Disorder?
Alcohol Use Disorder is the present day medical diagnosis for an individual who shows signs of alcohol addiction. You might know the condition as alcoholism. These people cannot seem to control their drinking and are in a negative mood until they’re able to take a drink.
Research estimates that 16 million adults in the United States have an active AUD. More than 600,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 actively live with the disorder as well. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) lays out 11 criteria that qualify these individuals for an AUD.
11 Signs of Alcohol Addiction
The criteria for an Alcohol Use Disorder as outlined in the DSM-5 include the following 11 signs.
1. The person drinks greater amounts of alcohol or for longer periods of time than they mean to.
One of the most obvious signs of alcohol addiction is someone’s inability to control their drinking. They may set out to have only a few drinks but find themselves closing down the bar night after night.
2. They try to slow down or cut back on their drinking, or quit drinking entirely, but aren’t able to.
It’s incredibly challenging for someone with an AUD to cut back or quit drinking alcohol. They may succeed for a period of time but often fall off the wagon when they do it alone.
3. People with an AUD spend much of their time drinking or sick as a direct result of their alcohol consumption.
Heavy drinking on a regular basis makes people sick. When someone has an AUD, they find themselves sick often because of drinking so much.
4. The person has alcohol cravings, both when drinking and when not drinking.
Alcohol cravings refer to the irresistible urge for a drink. If they haven’t yet had a drink they’re thinking about taking one. Once they’re drinking then they’re thinking about having another.
5. Their drinking interferes with their responsibilities at places such as school, work, or home.
It’s difficult for someone with signs of alcohol addiction to carry out their responsibilities because they’re drunk on a regular basis.
6. They don’t stop drinking even when it causes issues with their friends or family.
Once loved ones notice how much a person with an AUD drinks, they start demanding the person stops. Drinking is usually more important than family or friends, though, and this leads to arguments and fallouts.
7. The person stops participating in hobbies or activities they used to love in order to drink more often.
People with signs of alcohol addiction slowly but surely replace activities they once loved with drinking. Drinking becomes the forefront of their lives and everything else falls to the wayside.
8. People with AUDs regularly find themselves in risky, harmful, or dangerous situations while under the influence.
Alcohol use decreases inhibitions and the ability to make good decisions. Someone who drinks on a regular basis is likely to make poor decisions more often.
9. Their drinking causes physical illness or psychological unrest but they don’t stop.
As physical and psychological health problems develop due to drinking, the alcoholic responds by drinking the symptoms away. They are unlikely to seek help.
10. They develop a tolerance for alcohol.
When someone develops a tolerance it means they need to drink more to achieve the desired effect. Their bodies adapt to the alcohol and they have to drink greater amounts to get drunk.
11. The person shows signs of alcohol withdrawals when they haven’t had a drink for a period of time.
Alcohol withdrawals are a dangerous and sometimes deadly result of an AUD. They are the physical and psychological reactions that happen when someone with alcohol addiction hasn’t had a drink in some time. Withdrawal symptoms can start as soon as two hours after the last drink for severe alcoholics.
Who Qualifies for an Alcohol Use Disorder?
The DSM-5 categorizes AUDs in three levels: mild, moderate, and severe. The severity of the diagnosis depends on the number of criteria the person shows. People with 2 to 3 signs of alcohol addiction qualify for a mild AUD. Those with 4 or 5 signs receive a moderate AUD diagnosis.
When someone shows 6 or more signs of alcohol addiction, they have a clinically severe alcohol problem. These individuals often require some form of treatment to first separate from alcohol before they can start on a path of recovery. Alcohol detox is a life-saving way for people to quit drinking and get sober.
Inpatient alcohol rehab is a beneficial next step after the detox facility releases them. Plenty of fantastic facilities exist across the nation to help alcoholics find sobriety. Hawaii Island Recovery is one of the best options in the country for people looking to get sober.
Hawaii Island Recovery combines holistic methods as well as tried-and-true approaches to therapy. This provides a well-rounded treatment for signs of alcohol addiction. If you think your friend may need help, give our admissions counselors a call at 877-721-3556. We can help you determine the best way to get your friend to where they need to be.