By Linda Williams
One in eight Americans battle alcoholism, which comprises approximately 12.7% of the U.S. population. If left untreated, alcoholism can spiral out of control quickly. The disease negatively impacts relationships with loved ones, causes mood and emotional dysregulation, can destroy your physical health, and leaves other negative consequences in its wake.
Many studies suggest that you may have a problem with alcohol if you exhibit the following behaviors. Remember, some signs are subtle, while others are easily recognizable. Reach out to an alcohol recovery clinic if you experience you notice any of the symptoms below.
You need a drink to wake up
Alcohol should never consume your life. If your drinking is interfering with your ability to function at work, succeed in school, or maintain a healthy relationship, you may be suffering from an addiction to alcohol. If you need a drink as soon as you wake up in the morning, this is one of the most common signs of alcoholism.
Many people with alcohol addiction feel anxious or nervous when they wake up until they can soothe those feelings with that first drink. Drinking immediately upon waking can cause dehydration and increase your chances of developing alcoholic liver disease and alcoholic dementia if you consume alcohol on an empty stomach.
You need alcohol to feel normal
Have you ever said that you don’t feel normal or don’t feel like yourself until you drink alcohol? If you ever find yourself needing a substance to maintain a sense of normalcy, you can go ahead and jot it down as an addiction. You shouldn’t need any substance, alcohol included, to feel like yourself, feel relaxed, or feel normal. If you’re irritable, fatigued, or feel depressed before consuming alcohol, it is time to learn how a recovery center can transform your life and lead you to sobriety.
If you depend on alcohol to interact with friends, complete your daily work-related tasks, or cope with anxiety, your addiction may have accelerated to a life-altering level. Once it’s reached this point of severity, consulting medical professionals is non-negotiable.
Life’s full of responsibilities that should take top priority in our lives. If you neglect work, children, household chores, or other obligations in order to drink alcohol, it’s safe to say that you’re struggling with addictive behaviors that could benefit from therapy, counseling, and other rehabilitative services available at a recovery center.
If drinking alcohol is ranked more highly in your list of priorities than tending to your children or succeeding in work, lean on trained rehabilitation therapists. If alcohol seems to take precedence over your responsibilities, and you begin to neglect those duties in response, you need to confront these dependencies head-on.
Mood swings and irritability are two visible signs of alcohol dependency. When you don’t drink, do you notice that you are in a bad mood or irritable? Do you crave that next drink until you get it? Does stress overwhelm you when sober? Are you on the edge unless you have a sip of alcohol? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, it could be a sign of an addiction you shouldn’t ignore.
People tell you alcohol is a problem
Other people see what we cannot see ourselves. When other people tell you they notice alcohol-related changes in you, listen to them. It is not easy to hear your loved ones tell you they’re suspicious of alcoholism. Admitting that you have a problem is even more challenging for an alcoholic.
By taking these steps, you can help break the cycle of addiction and return to the life you’ve lost due to alcoholism. People who care to mention this care about your well-being and want the best for you. Alcohol affects relationships with the people we care most about, so you should value the loved ones’ opinions instead of shrugging off their concerns.
You feel guilty
If you say and do things while intoxicated that you wouldn’t normally do and later regret it, it’s time to sit down and have a serious talk with a medical professional. When you say and do hurtful things to family and friends, it causes a pain that you cannot take back when you are sober. If you have no recollection of what you say and do the next day, but loved ones tell you it is hurtful or embarrassing, you’ll need to commit the time and resources necessary to make a change.
You’re in poor health
Over time, excess alcohol use can lead to long-term health problems, including but not limited to heart disease, digestive issues, high blood pressure, kidney and liver disease, certain types of cancer, and poor appetite. When your health suffers as a result of alcohol dependency, it’s time to kick the habit.
Regain control of your life by seeking professional help. Don’t let alcohol dictate your priorities or interfere with your relationships. Center your attention on your recovery, and watch your quality of life drastically improve.