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5 Signs of Alcohol Addiction

5 Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, meaning it slows down the central nervous system. Like any depressant, alcohol can help people relax and relieve tension when used in small doses. However, alcohol addiction occurs when people can’t control their drinking and turn to alcohol to cope with life’s problems. People struggling with alcohol addiction may try to hide their drinking, but alcohol can significantly impair a person’s social and occupational functioning. It also causes significant health problems, organ failure, cancer, and premature death. If drinking alcohol causes more problems in your life than it solves, then an alcohol addiction treatment program at Greater Boston Addiction Centers can help you on the path to recovery. Reach out at 877.920.6583 to learn more.

There are numerous signs of alcohol addiction, but five of the most obvious are:


1. Blackouts

Have you ever awoken after a night of drinking and wondered where you are or how you got home? A blackout is a condition that affects your memory while drinking heavily. If drinking alcohol causes gaps in your memory, this is a blackout. There are two types of blackouts:

  • In a partial blackout, visual or verbal cues (e.g., looking at your social media posts from the night before) may jog your memory.
  • In a total blackout, memory loss is permanent.

Blacking out is caused when blood flow to the brain is delayed. Heavy alcohol intoxication prohibits the brain from forming new memories while you are intoxicated, but it doesn’t erase memories formed before the onset of intoxication. Frequent blackouts cause certain people to be more likely to develop alcohol dependency. Contact a Boston rehab center near you if you are concerned that you are developing an addiction to alcohol.


2. Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

Consuming regular, excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to the development of physical dependence on the substance. Physical dependence causes alcohol withdrawal syndrome when consumption is stopped or substantially reduced. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome causes both physical and psychological symptoms. When the central nervous system becomes reliant on alcohol, it overcompensates when the person loses access to alcohol. The presence of the following withdrawal symptoms may contribute to relapse, even after sustained periods of sobriety:

  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Irritability
  • Dysphoria
  • Rapid heartbeat and elevated blood pressure
  • Excessive sweating
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Increased sensitivity to pain
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures

For many people with alcoholism, the fear of withdrawal symptoms perpetuates alcohol consumption. After detox, the following programs can be helpful for people coping with alcoholism to help them remain sober:

  • Partial hospitalization program
  • Residential addiction treatment
  • Daytime outpatient program
  • Evening outpatient program


3. Reckless Drug Use When Drinking

If drinking alcohol causes you to ignore warning labels on medication bottles or take drugs that you would otherwise avoid, the combination of drugs and alcohol can be deadly. The following combinations cause dangerous short- and long-term side effects:

  • Mixing alcohol and opioids
  • Mixing alcohol and benzodiazepines
  • Mixing alcohol and stimulants
  • Mixing alcohol and antidepressants
  • Mixing alcohol and antipsychotics

If you are unable to safely take doctor-prescribed medication because of your intoxication level, this is an indication of an alcohol use disorder.


4. Reckless Behavior When Drinking

It is often said that alcohol lowers inhibitions. “Have a drink to loosen up” is a popular justification for drinking. However, excessive intoxication can lead to reckless behavior. If you consistently do things while drinking that you would never do sober, this is an indication of alcohol addiction. Reckless behavior may include:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Unprotected sex
  • Fighting
  • Vandalism
  • Property damage
  • Public intoxication
  • Sexual assault

If you’ve ever regretted your behavior after drinking, it’s important to consider the role that alcohol plays in your life. Addiction treatment can help you stop drinking and prevent future alcohol-related consequences.


5. Your Family and Friends are Worried About Your Drinking

Regular alcohol intoxication substantially increases the risk of health, social, mental, and mental problems for heavy drinkers. Confronting someone about their alcohol intake isn’t easy; if your family and friends express concern that you are drinking too much, ask yourself this question: “Do the experiences in my life validate their concerns?” Like many other medical problems, alcoholism is easier to treat when detected early, but many alcoholics go to great lengths to hide their dependence on alcohol. These are a few of the early signs of alcohol addiction that family members and friends often notice:

  • Daily consumption
  • Binges
  • Blackouts
  • Aggression
  • Drug use when drinking
  • DUIs
  • Impaired social and occupational functioning
  • Alcohol-related violence
  • Absence from work or school
  • Legal difficulties
  • Arguments with family and friends

Reach Out to Greater Boston Addiction Centers Today

If you or a loved one is suffering from the effects of alcoholism, contact Greater Boston Addiction Centers. We have decades of experience helping people recover from alcoholism. To reach our office, call 877.920.6583 to take the first step toward a new life.