Signs of a Drinking Problem

Signs of a Drinking Problem

January 29th, 2015 Alcohol Addiction, Helpful Articles

In 2009 while leaving a family camping trip, Diane, a 36-year-old mother, drove the wrong way on a highway for almost two miles before crashing into an oncoming vehicle. The accident resulted in the deaths of Diane, her two-year-old daughter, her three nieces aged 8, 7 and 5, and three people in vehicle she collided with.

Toxicology reports released after the crash revealed that Diane had the equivalent of 10 drinks in her system as well as marijuana when she made the fatal mistake of entering the highway via an exit ramp. Her loved ones were left baffled. To them, the woman they knew never showed any outward signs of having a problem with alcohol.

While many people believe they’d be quick to notice if someone close to them had a drinking problem, a study released in 2007 by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism discovered that only 9 percent of the population fit the stereotype of what an alcoholic is perceived to be.

Alcohol Abuse: What to Look For

There are certain physical, behavioral and psychological warning signs that can help determine if a person is struggling with alcohol abuse.

Physical warning signs include:

  • Bloodshot eyes or change in usual pupil size
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  • Fluctuations in weight
  • Deterioration of physical appearance and personal grooming habits
  • Unusual smells on breath, body or clothing
  • Tremors, slurred speech or impaired coordination

Behavioral warning signs may be:

  • Failing to show up for work or school
  • Taking part in secretive or suspicious behavior
  • Increased or unexplained requests for money or even theft
  • Sudden change in friends, hobbies or favorite hangouts
  • Frequently getting into trouble such as fights, accidents or illegal activity

Psychological warning signs might show:

  • Unexplained changes in personality or attitude
  • Sudden mood swings, irritability or angry outbursts
  • Bouts of uncommon hyperactivity, agitation or giddiness
  • Decrease in motivation, such as appearing lethargic or “spaced out”
  • Appearing fearful, anxious or paranoid for no reason

Alcoholism is a disease that can affect anyone anywhere, but it isn’t always easy to see when a person’s drinking has crossed over from moderate or social use to becoming a problem. People battling alcoholism will often go to great lengths to hide their drinking from friends and loved ones. Recognizing the warning signs of alcohol abuse can often be the first step in combating the disease and avoiding tragic stories like Diane’s. With help and treatment, recovery from alcohol abuse and addiction is possible.

By Jenna Mitchell

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