It isn’t always easy to know when someone has a drinking problem. When it’s someone close to you, it can be even harder. If you have seen a gradual change in a loved one over time, it might not register at first. Your loved one may normalize their behavior in numerous convincing ways, using humor, self-deprecation, reverse psychology, or misdirection. It can be hard to tease out what constitutes a problem. After all, the media makes alcohol use look like the gateway to fun, laughter, and even true love. At what point do you wonder if your loved one needs an alcohol addiction treatment program rather than another drink?
Alcohol is a highly addictive substance, and millions of Americans abuse it annually. Alcohol addiction is on the rise. How can you tell if the alcohol problem that concerns you or someone you love requires alcohol addiction treatment? To learn more today about what the addiction treatment program options are for your loved one, reach out to Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge (PAATC). Our staff can answer all your questions. Call 844.442.8673 or use our online form.
Signs of Alcohol Abuse
When thinking about whether someone you love has an alcohol use disorder, consider the following signs and symptoms.
Lack of Control When Drinking
Not being in control is a standard red flag for addiction. There are several ways this can manifest. Perhaps behavioral changes are noticeable, and your loved one, when drinking, acts in ways that don’t align with the person you know well. This also reflects a loss of control. Other symptoms of loss of control include:
- Sudden inconsolable sadness
Additionally, if pledges to “only drink on weekends” or “nothing for me tonight” are impossible for your loved one to adhere to, alcohol has all the power in that scenario.
Excessive alcohol intake is different for different people, depending on gender, size, age, and other factors. Overall, “social drinking” is one to two drinks a day. Five or more is enough to be considered a binge, though far more than five is possible for highly tolerant abusers. Look for signs of lying about how much your loved one is drinking. They may also be sneaking bottles and cans out of the house or increasing their consumption over time.
Did your loved one used to drink only in social settings and now drinks whether they’re alone or they have company? Do they start drinking before you and continue after you finish imbibing? Do they “pre-game” before going out or before guests showing up, meaning do they start drinking early, or do they invariably have “just one more” when they get home from an evening out?
Do you notice that an excuse or reason accompanies every drink? Examples may include:
- I just need to relax
- I deserve one after the day I had
- It helps me unwind
- I need to warm up
Perhaps your loved one feels the need to justify drinking because they anticipate your objections to an apparent problem.
Continually Thinking About Alcohol, Drinking It, or Recovering from It
If more than 50% of your loved one’s time is spent orbiting the reality of their drinking, that’s too much. Many people abusing alcohol will start thinking about their first drink of the day hours ahead of time. Then they’ll think about and plan their second drink and their next. They’ll spend a significant amount of time imbibing and then hours or days experiencing and recovering from the effects.
In addition to the unpleasantness of a hangover, the lingering effects can also include unaccomplished tasks, reconciling their bank account around alcohol expenditures, and fractured relationships.
Withdrawal When the Drinking Stops
The most significant warning sign that your loved one needs treatment is the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is unavailable or withheld. When heavy drinkers stop, it does not take long for discomfort to set in and withdrawal symptoms emerge. Look for the signs of withdrawal, such as:
- Racing heart
- Excessive perspiration
In severe cases, convulsions, blackouts, and fever can ensue. If you see any such extreme symptoms in your loved one, seek medical help immediately.
Seek Alcohol Addiction Treatment at PAATC
Alcohol use disorder is dangerous, particularly if it goes unrecognized and untreated. The sufferer risks both short-term and permanent health consequences. However, it also reaches everyone in that person’s orbit, including family, friends, coworkers. The damage to relationships, finances, and careers can be as devastating as heart or liver disease.
An evidence-based alcohol addiction treatment program offers your loved one the greatest chance of success as well as being the least painful and disruptive option for beginning the addiction recovery journey. In addiction treatment at PAATC, the first step is medically supervised detox, followed by a treatment program designed specifically to address your loved one’s particular challenges and experiences. Compassionate care in a serene, healing environment with highly trained professionals is available at any of our alcohol treatment centers.
If you are still unsure if your loved one suffers from the disease of alcoholism, reach out to us today. Our caring, experienced staff can help answer questions and offer options for the person who requires treatment. Call 844.442.8673 or fill out our easy online form. There is hope.