How Do I Know If Someone is Abusing Alcohol?

Alcohol consumption is something that’s not uncommon at all. In fact, many adults report they are at least light or occasional drinkers, frequently in social situations or when they want to unwind. Alcohol can also be used as a way to relax, and while alcohol consumption that’s done in moderation isn’t necessarily problematic, it is a substance that can increase the likelihood of adverse consequences occurring, and it can also lead to dependence and addiction. Understanding the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse or dependency versus consumption can be a difficult distinction to make, but it’s important to be able to recognize potential warning signs of alcohol abuse if you think a loved one might have a problem. There can be a lot of blurred lines that come with identifying and distinguishing signs of alcohol abuse, and it can be harder to spot a problem as compared to warning signs that someone is on drugs.
how do i know if someone is on alcoholic
For most people, there’s going to be a significant difference between drinking a glass of wine with dinner and having several shots of liquor in terms of behavior and visible impairment, but alcohol can actually be impacting you a lot more than you’re aware of or the people around you realize. As soon as you take a sip of alcohol, it increases your blood alcohol concentration level. The higher that BAC goes, the more likely you are to show outward signs of impairment.

If you’re unsure of how much someone around you has had to drink, look for symptoms including:

  • Slurred speech
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Impaired coordination and motor skills
  • Sense of confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Concentration problems
  • General personality changes

Some of the other physical signs someone is drinking or intoxicated include glassy or bloodshot eyes, talking loudly, or increased moodiness. Unlike many other drugs, the smell of alcohol can also be a big warning sign someone is drinking. Alcohol has a strong odor that is not only present right after someone drinks, but it also tends to linger on their breath or even their clothes. The changes that can occur because of drinking may be subtle, such as someone becoming more talkative or social. That’s actually a big reason a lot of people drink in social situations. The signs that someone is drinking can also be severe and include aggression, violence or engaging in risky behaviors.

If you see someone occasionally drink or even become impaired, it may not signify an alcohol dependence, but it could indicate alcohol abuse or even alcoholism. This is where things can get tricky when it comes to knowing the warning signs of alcohol abuse. First, alcohol abuse typically refers to people who aren’t necessarily dependent on or addicted to alcohol, but they do drink heavily, and they ignore negative consequences that can occur, even if it’s just something like a hangover.

Common warning signs of alcohol abuse or binge-drinking can include:

  • Being preoccupied with drinking. This can seem innocent, such as constantly looking forward to visiting bars with friends on the weekend, but if it becomes a key focus area, this can mean alcohol abuse is a problem.
  • A lack of interest or involvement with activities including school or work.
  • Inability to control drinking. This could even mean someone who promises to “take it easy” every weekend and then ends up drinking too much, frequently.
  • Violence or erratic behavior.
  • Drinking despite the fact that the person knows they will have to do something like driving that can be risky when impaired.
  • Drinking even though physical conditions can be made worse because of it.
  • Hangovers interfere with other activities or commitments.
  • Memory loss
  • Blackouts

As mentioned, there can be warning signs of alcohol abuse without addiction, but abuse can often turn into an addiction and even a physical dependency on alcohol. If you’re wondering how to tell if someone is addicted to alcohol, some of the following are common signs:

  • A person builds up a tolerance to alcohol, so they need to drink larger amounts to get the same effects
  • When someone doesn’t drink, they experience withdrawal symptoms which can include feeling sick, anxious or sweaty.
  • The person foregoes things they used to like in lieu of
  • Damage can be done to relationships, careers and other areas of a person’s life but they keep drinking.
  • A person who is addicted to drinking will often start drinking early in the day and will be drunk for long periods of time.
  • One of the common signs of alcohol addiction is drinking alone, and trying to hide drinking.
  • Another way you can tell if someone is addicted to alcohol is considering whether or not drinking is the primary focus of the person’s life. Do they always put much of their attention on making sure they have enough alcohol and do most of the things they do involve alcohol?
  • A big red flag of alcohol abuse or addiction is getting into dangerous situations repeatedly when drinking such as having unsafe sex or driving under the influence.
These are common symptoms that someone around you might have a drinking problem, but what if you’re wondering if you yourself could have a drinking problem?

Think about whether you lie to cover your drinking, or often feel guilty about it. Do you feel like you need to drink to relax, or do you often black out while drinking? These can be representative of a potential alcohol abuse problem. Many of the symptoms and signs of alcohol abuse that are listed above may be indicative of alcohol use disorder (AUD). In order to be diagnosed with an AUD people must meet criteria that are outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). People who meet two of 11 criteria during a 12-month period may have an AUD, and severity is classified as mild, moderate or severe.

If you’ve identified some of the common signs of alcohol abuse or dependency present in someone you love, what should you do next?

Along with learning more about alcohol use disorder including the warning signs of an alcohol problem, you can start preparing how you will broach the conversation with the person. You can also research information regarding treatment and recovery centers for alcohol addiction or contact an alcohol abuse hotline. Researchers find that most individuals who have an alcohol use disorder, regardless of severity, can benefit from treatment, but unfortunately, only a small amount of people actually receive help, which is why proactively identifying an alcohol problem can be so critical; call The Recovery Village support team today, we can help: 844-245-0166.