Because alcohol consumption is legal and socially acceptable, it can be hard to tell if someone is drinking too much. Many people have a glass of wine at the end of the day and stop at that. It becomes a problem when a person loses control over their drinking.
These six signs your loved one is drinking too much may help you recognize the problem and encourage them to seek help before it destroys their life.
1. They Hide Their Drinking
Addiction often has a stigma attached to it that makes people feel ashamed. Your loved one may realize that they are drinking too much and not want anyone else to know.
They may hide alcohol bottles around their house so no one can tell how many they have or how much they are consuming.
If you notice alcohol on their breath, but they won’t admit to drinking, that’s also a red flag.
2. They Spend An Excessive Amount Of Money On Alcohol
When a person drinks alcohol all the time, they build a tolerance to it. Over time, two drinks may have the same effect that one drink used to have. The longer someone drinks heavily, the higher their tolerance grows.
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If your loved one is drinking too much, they’ll need to buy more and more alcohol. This quickly gets expensive and can cause financial struggles.
People who suffer from alcohol addiction may sell their possessions, borrow or steal money from loved ones, and never seem to have enough to pay their bills.
3. They Depend On Alcohol To Get Through The Day
If your loved one is hiding their drinking, you may not see this sign. However, if you notice them drinking at odd times of the day—such as in the morning before work—they likely have a problem.
People who are addicted to alcohol may drink it all day long to prevent its effects from wearing off. They might stash some liquor in the office or even in their car so they are never without it.
Someone who is struggling with alcohol abuse may not realize they are addicted. They may pass off their “day-drinking” as fun or socially acceptable, but if they need to drink to get through each day, they’re drinking too much.
4. They Have Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol withdrawal is not the same as a hangover. While someone may feel groggy, be nauseous, or have a headache after drinking too much, this feeling can be associated with a single occurrence of heavy drinking.
When someone experiences withdrawal symptoms, it is an indication that they are regularly consuming too much alcohol. Their body has become physically dependent on alcohol and they feel more normal when they are drinking than when they are not.
Withdrawal can begin less than eight hours after the last drink and may involve the following symptoms:
- loss of appetite
- nausea or vomiting
- mood swings
Severe alcohol withdrawal is called “delirium tremens” and can be deadly. It has symptoms like agitation, hallucinations, fever, and seizures.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms cause many people to continue drinking because it is too painful to stop.
5. They Put Themselves Or Others In Danger While Drinking
Alcohol affects judgment and can lead people to do things that they wouldn’t do sober.
Driving under the influence, unprotected sex, and violent behavior are common among people who drink too much. Some people abuse alcohol while doing a dangerous job or when they are supposed to be supervising children.
These actions can have serious consequences—namely car accidents, disease transmission, and physical harm—that hurt more than just the person who is drinking.
6. They Have Health Problems From Alcohol
Alcohol poisoning is a physical health problem that can result from binge drinking—drinking a lot of alcohol in a short amount of time. A person may experience confusion, vomiting, irregular breathing, seizures, and loss of consciousness if they drink too much at once.
Heavy alcohol consumption over time often leads to long-term damage like high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, or cancer. It can affect a person’s memory, learning ability, and mood.
Mental health issues like depression and anxiety can stem from alcohol abuse as well, and may lead a person to drink more in order to cope.
If you are concerned that your loved one is drinking too much, pay attention to changes in their health that may be related to alcohol consumption.
Help Your Loved One Overcome Alcohol Addiction
Individuals who struggle with drinking too much are usually unable to cut back or stop on their own. At The Bluffs, we support your loved one’s journey to sobriety with individualized inpatient care.
Overcoming addiction requires a person to change their thought patterns and behavior. The goal of treatment is to help the individual develop positive coping techniques and replace drinking with healthy activities. As your loved one learns to live without alcohol, they also gain the tools to experience fulfillment in recovery.