It can be hard to distinguish between the occasional social drink and the beginnings of an alcohol problem when a person socializes on a frequent basis. Likewise, the long anticipated after work drink may seem harmless enough for some people, while others are skating dangerously close to a looming addiction.
According to the Florida Institute of Technology, only one out of every 36 people battling alcohol addictions get needed treatment help. Considering how treatable alcoholism is, more than a few heavy drinkers might not see an actual need for treatment.
Alcohol addiction symptoms can be valuable clues to just how serious a person’s drinking behaviors have become. With alcohol being such an accepted pastime in today’s world, it can be easy to ignore subtle alcohol addiction symptoms. Doing so can make the more serious alcohol addiction symptoms that much harder to see. By knowing what to look for at the outset, a person can save themselves considerable heartache and distress in the long run.
Aftereffects from Drinking
Aftereffects from drinking can take different forms depending on where a person falls along the social drinker/heavy drinker continuum. What was once the Sunday morning hangover can quickly evolve into a three times a week occurrence over time.
Withdrawal effects or “hangovers” develop in response to alcohol’s damaging effects on the brain’s chemical equilibrium. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, withdrawal effects typically take the form of :
- Bouts of fatigue
- Depression symptoms
- Emotional instability
- Anxiety episodes
- Sleep problems
With frequent drinking, withdrawal effects become more intense, which indicates alcohol addiction symptoms are at work.
Drinking Larger Amounts Over Time
The brain easily accommodates alcohol’s effects to the point where it will gradually relinquish control and allow alcohol to regulate essential bodily functions over time. In effect, the brain develops a tolerance for alcohol, especially when large amounts are consumed at a time.
Tolerance levels result from alcohol’s damaging and weakening effects on individual brain cell structures. This alcohol addiction symptom in particular becomes a driving force in the addiction cycle.
Alcohol’s ability to alter brain cell structures not only causes damage to brain structures but also changes the way the brain works. Brain cells affected by alcohol secrete the neurotransmitter chemicals that essentially regulate brain and body functions. In turn, these changes alter the mind’s overall perceptions.
By the time drinking becomes a problem, denial not only makes alcohol addiction symptoms easier to ignore, but it’s actually how a drinker views his or her condition.
Damaging Lifestyle Effects
From the standpoint of the drinker, gradual changes or problems can easily go unnoticed while loved ones and friends look on in concern. According to the University of Maryland, alcohol addiction symptoms all but camouflage themselves as the brain becomes increasingly dependent on alcohol to function.
After so many months or years of frequent drinking, alcohol addiction symptoms start to take shape within a person’s daily lifestyle and routines. Lifestyle effects may include –
- Decline in appearance and/or hygiene
- Poor health
- Relationships problems
- Damaged friendships
- Problems at work
- Financial problems
- Legal problems
In essence, the longer a person engages in problem drinking behaviors the easier it becomes to ignore alcohol addiction symptoms.