Alcohol addiction isn’t always obvious. In fact, a high-functioning alcoholic can be a member of society who can maintain their career and family while battling alcohol addiction.
It is usually only when alcohol abuse has progressed into alcoholism that the signs become noticeable to others around them. Keep reading to learn more about the six warning signs of alcohol addiction you should never ignore.
1. Drinking Heavily Alone
If you or someone you know is drinking heavily alone, this may signify they are a high-functioning alcoholic or have an alcohol addiction. When someone uses alcohol to soothe nerves, calm fears, or go to sleep, a couple of glasses can easily lead to many.
If a person drinks to avoid feeling any emotions or ‘self-medicate,’ the alcohol addiction will continue until it has taken over. They may start drinking alone to numb those feelings they are trying so hard to avoid. Unfortunately, this is when alcohol abuse has progressed to alcoholism. At that point, a person will need professional help to recover.
It’s not just alcohol addiction signs that should set off alarms. Self-medicating with alcohol could also signify early-stage alcoholism or even mental illness. Seeking help much later can make rehab more difficult for them than someone at an earlier point in their alcohol use disorder journey.
2. Lying About or Covering Up Drinking Levels
Some alcoholics will refuse to admit or lie about how much they drink. They may even cover up their alcohol use by drinking in secret places like the garage, basement, or a friend’s house. This is usually a sign that addiction has progressed. This person would need professional help such as alcoholism treatment as soon as possible.
Lying can also indicate other mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. Depression or anxiety would need appropriate treatment alongside treatment for alcohol addiction.
3. Difficulty Remembering the Last Few Hours/Days Due to Alcohol Use (Blackouts)
Some alcoholics may experience blackouts, which are memory lapses that last for hours or days. Blackouts stem from alcohol interfering with the brain’s ability to create memories and recall events. Blackouts often result in a complete short-term memory loss.
Since alcohol interferes with sensory perception, it is difficult to remember what took place during one’s blackout period when sobriety returns. It can be very frightening for an alcoholic who has experienced their first blackout to find out they have no idea how much time passed while under the influence of alcohol.
Another way alcoholics may experience blackouts is when “the morning after” finds them in an inappropriate setting with little or no memory of how they got there. This usually occurs because alcoholics are too drunk to absorb information and move about. Heavy drinking becomes difficult for them to control their actions while under the influence.
4. Drinking Alcohol First Thing In the Morning
One of the most common alcohol addiction warning signs is that alcoholics often drink first thing in the morning. A person with a hidden alcohol addiction may say this is their way of “starting their day with a cup ‘o Joe.”
This can also signify that alcohol abuse has become an ingrained habit. Alcohol dependence should prompt close friends or family members to intervene ASAP.
5. Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms When Not Drinking
Another obvious sign of hidden alcohol addiction is experiencing withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms happen when the alcohol doesn’t drink for a certain period of time. Symptoms may include sweating, shaking hands, increased heart rate, and anxiety, leading to panic attacks.
These are physical signs that alcohol is no longer affecting the person’s body in the ways it should be. When an addict stops drinking alcohol, there is nothing else left but negative side effects from addiction. It becomes clear that their addiction has gone too far.
6. They Can Hold Their Liquor
Some alcoholics can handle their alcohol intake in a manner that is much different from the average person. They may be able to drink more, or they may not experience any of the side effects commonly associated with alcohol consumption, like slurred speech and unsteady balance.
They can carry on relevant conversations and don’t become belligerent. It’s almost as if they haven’t been drinking at all. Of course, alcoholics who have been drinking like this for years can experience some of the same negative effects.
7. Becoming Defensive About Their Alcohol Addiction When Confronted by Others
This alcohol addiction symptom is often the first to show up when someone has an alcohol problem. When a person’s alcoholism enters their loved one’s life for the first time, it can be difficult for them and their friends and loved ones.
It becomes clear that this type of confrontation occurs how alcohol impacts your family and friends around you. Many emotions may surface during these intense moments.
The most common defense mechanism drinkers use to distance themselves from any responsibility or blame is denial. This denial can be due to alcoholics developing high resistance levels against feeling bad about themselves due to drinking excessively over such a long period.
Denial can be even more dangerous when an individual suffers from high-functioning alcoholism since they haven’t faced the consequences of their alcohol use.
Do You Think Someone You Know May Be Suffering From Hidden Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol addiction doesn’t always manifest in the same way for everyone. Some people may drink to escape their problems, while others might turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism and find it difficult or impossible to stop drinking once they start.
This article has described six warning signs that you should never ignore if you suspect someone who loves is dealing with hidden alcohol addiction. If you know someone struggling with alcohol abuse, contact us today for more information on how to help them get sober safely!