6 Warning Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Do you suspect a loved one might have an alcohol abuse issue? It can be hard to tell, because addiction is something that people try to hide. Despite trying to be discreet, there are signs to look for that may indicate a drinking problem. For example, maybe your loved one is suddenly missing important obligations like work or family gatherings. Or perhaps you notice physical symptoms, like restlessness or shakiness. It can be challenging to approach a loved one with your concerns, but sometimes it’s the only way to break through. Don’t be surprised if you are met with denial and excuses. Recognizing an alcohol addiction is a complex process and can take time. Encourage your loved one that help is available, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Rehabilitation programs such as The Bridges of San Diego have helped thousands of people get back on their feet and overcome their alcohol addiction. If you think a loved one is abusing alcohol, but you aren’t sure, check out six warning signs that could mean an alcohol addiction is present.

Missing Obligations

Is your responsible, reliable loved one suddenly missing important obligations? Maybe they are skipping family gatherings or frequently calling in sick to work. If missing obligations is uncharacteristic of your loved one, it could signal an alcohol abuse issue. Often due to the drinking itself or the hangover, alcoholics find themselves having to miss events or work. If you have a friend or family member who you notice is suddenly more absent, it may be time to approach them and see what is going on.

Frequent Drinking to Excess

Do you know someone who is always drinking to excess? Whether it’s a work happy hour, girls’ night out, or bachelor party, that person just can’t seem to stop at a few. Whenever there is alcohol present, they end up overindulging. If you have a friend or family member who seems unable to have just one drink, it could be time to kindly approach them and discuss their drinking habits.

While noticeable frequent excessive drinking definitely is a symptom of alcohol abuse, it’s important to note that many alcoholics hide their drinking and only drink in secret. They may drink alone at home, and some may even successfully hide it from those who live with them. If this is the case, you will need to look out for some of the other signs of alcoholism, as you may never physically see them drinking.

Changing Relationship

Alcohol abuse can significantly affect relationships. Not only does alcoholism cause people to miss obligations like family or friend gatherings, but it can also bring about behavioral changes like mood swings or irritability. All of these things combined can cause relationship issues. As hurtful as it can be to watch a relationship with a loved one fade due to alcohol, it’s essential to be there for them and help encourage them to get treatment.

Family History

Evidence shows that people who have a parent who is an alcoholic are at a higher risk of having alcohol abuse problems themselves. If you suspect a friend or family member is struggling with alcohol abuse and you know they have a relative who struggles as well, this is a further indicator that they are statistically at a higher risk of developing an addiction.

Noticeable Physical Symptoms

Alcohol abuse also comes with physical symptoms. Mayo Clinic provides a long list of physical symptoms that can occur during periods of intoxication and withdrawal, and that can be caused by drinking too much over time. These physical conditions can interfere with work and relationships and, in the long term, be deadly. Look out for some of these physical symptoms when you suspect someone is struggling with alcohol addiction:

  • Slurred speech

  • Impaired memory

  • Rapid heartbeat

  • Sweating

  • Nausea

  • Sleep issues

  • Vomiting

  • Agitation

  • Anxiety

  • Seizures

  • Liver disease

  • Digestive issues

  • High blood pressure

  • Heart arrhythmia

  • Eye issues

  • Osteoporosis

  • Neurological issues

  • Weakened immune system

  • Increased cancer risk


Denial & Excuses

It’s natural to want to help your loved one get treatment for their alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, it is common for alcoholics to be in denial or make excuses. They will often tell you that they are fine or that they don’t have a problem. While this can be frustrating, you have to keep trying to get through to them. Show them the love and support they need while also trying to help them move toward getting treatment.

Alcohol abuse isn’t always easy to spot, especially in the early stages. If you suspect a friend or family member is struggling with alcohol addiction, start looking out for the six warning signs listed above. Be patient, as often alcoholics are initially in denial. Be loving, encouraging, and guide your loved one down the path of treatment. A drug and alcohol treatment center like The Bridges of San Diego will provide your loved one with all the tools and resources they need to fight their addiction. At The Bridges, we offer intensive outpatient programs and partial hospitalization programs. Through working with our certified therapists in both solo and group settings, patients gain the tools and skills they need to start fighting their addiction. Each individual is given a personalized plan that will help them be successful in their sobriety journey. For more information about the treatment programs provided at The Bridges of San Diego, contact us today.