Alcohol abuse is a serious problem that can lead to more severe problems down the road when left untreated. Many people who suffer from alcohol abuse don’t receive treatment and don’t get the help or support they need to stop drinking and make healthy lifestyle changes. Knowing common signs of alcohol abuse can bring you one step closer to helping someone you care about getting the treatment they need at alcohol rehab.
What Is Alcohol Abuse?
Alcohol abuse is defined as problem drinking, which is when alcohol use causes problems in one’s life and affects their well-being. Heavy alcohol use, binge drinking, and alcohol use disorder are all forms of alcohol abuse.
Heavy alcohol use is defined as binge drinking on five or more days in the past month. Binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration levels to 0.08 g/dL, which typically occurs after four drinks for women and five drinks for men within two hours. Alcohol use disorder is defined as a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use and the inability to stop or control drinking despite negative consequences.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that an estimated 7% of adults engaged in heavy drinking in the past month and that nearly 27% engaged in binge drinking. Alcohol use disorder affects an estimated 15.1 million adults, and 623,000 teens between the ages of 12 and 17. Unfortunately, only 6.7% of adults and 5.2% of youth with alcohol use disorder receive treatment at alcohol and drug rehab centers.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol abuse is characterized by many different signs, but not everyone who suffers from alcohol abuse will exhibit every single one of these signs and behaviors. Typically, people who abuse alcohol will allow alcohol use to control and take over their lives despite harmful consequences like worsened health, strained relationships, and poor performance at work or school.
Here’s how to tell if someone is abusing alcohol, according to MedlinePlus.
- They exhibit physical signs of alcohol use, such as slurred speech, poor coordination, confusion, and smelling like alcohol.
- They end up having more drinks than planned, or drink for a longer period of time than planned.
- They spend more time alone so they can drink, or spend lots of time with others who drink.
- They take care to hide or throw away empty alcohol containers.
- They have tried unsuccessfully to stop or cut back on drinking.
- They devote lots of time to drinking and recovering from drinking.
- They experience strong cravings for alcohol or urges to drink.
- They have missed work, school, or social events to drink or recover from drinking.
- They have lost their job, driver’s license, and close friends and family due to drinking.
- They have given up long-held interests and activities in favor of drinking.
- They have gotten themselves into dangerous situations after drinking or while drinking.
- They keep drinking even though alcohol is causing or worsening physical and mental health problems.
- They continue to increase the amount of alcohol they drink in order to feel the effects.
- They experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as nausea and vomiting when they stop drinking alcohol.
Alcohol Rehab and Addiction Hotline
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that an estimated 15.1 million adults in the U.S. are suffering from alcohol use disorder, though only 6.7% of these individuals are receiving treatment.
If you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol abuse and needs help, call the toll-free 24-hour alcohol addiction hotline. A treatment advisor will answer all your questions about alcohol detox and alcohol rehab, and help you find the nearest treatment center.