With the national spotlight on opioids and similar “hard” drugs, many people have lost sight of another growing addiction problem that is far more common: alcoholism. As a 2017 study found, not only are more American adults drinking alcohol regularly, but many of them fall into the categories of high-risk drinking and alcohol use disorder, or AUD.
The study compared the drinking habits of 80,000 participants between 2001 and 2002 to 2012 and 2013, and found an 11 percent increase in overall alcohol use, as well as a nearly 50 percent increase in people identified as having AUD. Though drinking across all demographics rose between the two time periods in this study, the greatest increases in alcohol use were women, minorities, older adults and people of lower socioeconomic status.
Problematic Drinking Leads to Premature Death
Some people who can’t responsibly control their drinking habits end up paying the highest price of all: their lives. According to the World Health Organization, excessive alcohol consumption kills 3 million people a year, most often due to injuries, self-harm and violent behaviors.
When alcohol abuse begins to negatively impact a person’s life, mental health professionals consider it to have grown into AUD. While there is no exact formula to determining whether someone has a drinking problem, recognizing some of the most common warning signs of alcoholism and getting help can make a significant difference in someone’s recovery process.
Some of the most common symptoms of alcohol abuse are:
- Experiencing temporary blackouts or short-term memory loss
- Exhibiting signs of irritability and extreme mood swings
- Making excuses for drinking, such as to relax, deal with stress or feel “normal”
- Choosing drinking over other responsibilities
- Drinking alone or secretly
- Feeling hungover when not drinking
The Dangers of Alcoholism
In addition to the potentially life-threatening consequences of prolonged drinking, alcoholism can lead to a range of problems that will impact both your personal and professional life. For some people, it’s all too easy for their drinking to get out of control before they even realize what is happening.
Many people with a drinking problem refuse to seek treatment programs because they are in denial about how severe their situation has become. They may rationalize their behavior by blaming it on their surroundings or on other people in their lives. However, by refusing to recognize the negative consequences of alcoholism, they are holding themselves back from living a healthy lifestyle.
No matter how minor a drinking problem may seem, alcohol abuse symptoms should not be ignored. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, we’re here to help. Contact New Found Life today to find a caring, evidence-based alcohol treatment facility.