Alcoholism or as it’s now termed alcohol use disorder is a terrible disease that can lead to severe mental, physical, and social consequences. Spotting the signs of alcoholism or alcohol abuse in yourself or a loved one can be the first step in getting treatment and achieving recovery and can save you years of grief and torment.
Prevalence of Alcoholism
Alcohol use disorder affects 14.5 million people in the United States. The widespread availability and social acceptance of drinking make this problem particularly pervasive and contribute to how difficult it is to stop drinking independently.
Casual drinking can quickly transition to alcoholism, so many people aren’t aware that they’ve crossed the line into addiction. Learning to spot the signs of alcoholism can help you determine if your alcohol use has become problematic and is an early indicator that treatment can help.
Psychological Symptoms of Alcoholism
Addiction is a disease of both the mind and the body, and the symptoms of alcoholism affect both domains. Some of the psychological signs of alcoholism include:
- Cravings for alcohol
- Inability to stop drinking
- Loss of interest in hobbies or activities outside of drinking
- Obsessing over drinking
- Personality changes, such as irritability or abrasiveness
- Struggling to maintain social or occupational relationships
A person with alcoholism may become highly defensive about their drinking and refuse to admit they have a problem despite these signs. The nature of addiction makes it hard for people to see that they have a problem and removes the choice of being able to stop.
What Are the Physical Signs of Alcoholism?
Alcohol can have severe effects on the body if left untreated. Alcohol metabolizes into a known carcinogen, acetaldehyde, and can cause permanent damage to the liver, brain, and other vital organs. Physical signs of alcoholism include:
- Yellowing skin and eyes: a sign of jaundice, which is a result of liver failure
- Withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, shaking, seizures, or profuse sweating when somebody stops drinking suddenly
- Redness in the face
- Weight changes
When the physical signs of alcoholism appear, the person with an alcohol use disorder typically has a severe drinking problem. Fortunately, it’s never too late to achieve recovery, and seeking treatment at an addiction treatment facility can help.
How Is Alcoholism Treated?
Treating alcohol use disorder involves several therapies, treatments, and professionals. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery, so the best treatment centers will usually employ several methods to ensure everyone has their best chance of recovery.
Evidence-based treatments for alcoholism include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Dual-diagnosis treatment
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- 12-Step programs
Together, these treatments help people manage the physical, psychological, and social consequences of alcohol use disorders.
They can teach people to manage their cravings, find new activities that they find rewarding outside of drinking and control medical issues that have developed due to alcoholism.
Alcoholism can seem impossible to overcome, but you don’t have to do it alone. There’s hope for everyone struggling with substance use disorders, and compassionate treatment can show you how to achieve long-term abstinence and provide lasting support.
Start Your Sobriety at A Better State
When you’re ready to start down the path to sobriety, contact the professionals at A Better State by calling 781.412.1488.
Our diverse team of addiction treatment professionals can teach you how to overcome an alcohol use disorder and provide hope when everything seems bleak. Don’t let alcoholism end your story—achieving sobriety is possible with A Better State.