Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that works by slowing down vital functions in one’s body. Alcoholism, also known as addiction to alcohol or alcohol use disorder (AUD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic brain disorder. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) explains that “alcohol use disorder is a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.” Individuals that are addicted to alcohol will prioritize satisfying alcohol cravings above all else. There are several warning signs that can be indicative of alcohol addiction. The Mayo Clinic provides the following list of common signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder:
- Increased tolerance to alcohol: Drinking more in amount and frequency to feel the same effect
- Isolating from others to drink
- Impaired control over alcohol use: An inability to limit drinking and/ or continued alcohol consumption, even when aware that it exacerbates physical or psychological problems
- Missing work, frequent tardiness, or other problems occupationally
- Giving increasing priority to alcohol: Spending more time drinking than with family or friends, overlooking important activities to drink, allocating an increased amount of time seeking alcohol
- Neglecting responsibilities and performing poorly at home, work, or school
- Depressed mood, anxiety, sleep disturbances or problems relating to others
- Impaired judgement: Getting into dangerous situations such as driving under the influence, using heavy machinery while intoxicated, or having unsafe sex
- Development of alcohol withdrawal symptoms when not drinking
The signs and symptoms exhibited by an individual struggling with alcohol addiction will be informed by several contributing factors (e.g., the amount of alcohol consumed, how quickly the alcohol is consumed, whether the individual mixes alcohol with other substances, one’s overall heath, etc.). Some of the signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction can be subtle and may not be immediately evident, which can make them slightly more difficult to notice. Every individual is different and has the propensity to present with a somewhat unique combination of signs and symptoms when it comes to alcohol addiction.
For Information and Support
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.