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5 Signs of an Alcohol Addiction

By July 7, 2019 June 15th, 2023 No Comments
Signs of an Alcohol Addiction

‘Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.’ It’s a bit of a cliche when it comes to addiction, but it’s not untrue. 

Of course, before acknowledging there’s a problem a person must first recognize that the problem exists. That is to say, a person has to understand their own dependence before admitting to themselves it’s even an issue. 

Differentiating between conscious behaviour and compulsive behaviour seems easy, but that’s not always so. As a species, we humans are incredibly deft at deluding ourselves to truths we dislike. Many who develop drinking problems brush aside their behaviour as temporary habits, or completely controllable actions. 

We’ll some people can flip a switch and stop drinking, others cannot. This article identifies key traits that will help you differentiate an alcohol addiction from a habit that can be discarded at will. 

Physical discomfort (hangover symptoms) when not drinking

Regular excessive drinking causes your liver and neurotransmitters to alter their processes in order to dispose of the alcohol you intake. Eventually, your body will begin to pre-emptively change its processes in anticipation of alcohol consumption.

What does this mean? Basically, you’ll start feeling unwell when you don’t have alcohol in your system. For many people, the physical discomfort mirrors hangover symptoms, like queasiness, headache, irritability, shakiness, fatigue and depression.  

Once you’ve reached this stage it doesn’t matter whether you think you’re dependent on alcohol or not. Your body already realizes that you are.

Stress or anxiety caused by deprivation

The inability to go prolonged periods of time without alcohol is another key sign of addiction. If you find yourself stressed out, and constantly thinking about when you can have a drink, it’s likely you’re addicted.

Cravings come and go for most people, but if cravings persist and grow to the point of necessity, then that craving is more than a passing desire. It’s an addiction.

Shirking responsibilities and relationships to drink

When alcohol becomes a focal point in your life, that’s another sign of addiction. Whether you’re eschewing hobbies, work or people, a shift in your priorities may mean you have a problem. 

Of course, it’s not a big issue if you feel like blowing off an assignment, or canceling a squash game to head out to the bar one night. When it becomes an issue and a sign of alcoholism is when this behaviour becomes a pattern. Consistently making alcohol a priority in your life is a habit that can be difficult to change.

Some addicts will register this behaviour as a choice, but it usually isn’t. No one reorganizes their life to prioritize alcohol because it’s just something they feel like doing. 

Hiding your drinking from others

Drinking alone is often cited as a primary sign of alcoholism, but this isn’t strictly the truth. Having a beer on the couch, or a glass of wine with dinner is hardly an addiction, even if you’re by yourself. What matters about drinking alone more than the action itself is the motivation.

A stronger indicator of alcoholism is drinking while attempting to convince others you aren’t. This suggests you recognize there’s a problem developing and wish to hide it. If you look forward to being alone so you can drink without facing judgment or feeling shame, it may indicate you have an alcohol addiction. 

You’re unable to stop drinking alcohol

This is perhaps the most obvious symptom of alcohol addiction, and on the surface, the easiest to identify. But many people who suffer from alcohol addiction fail to acknowledge this trait.

‘I can stop whenever I want’ is a common refrain among addicts of all stripes. But is it true? For how long can you abstain? If you pass up the chance to drink, will you be obsessing over the choice afterwards?

Having an alcohol addiction doesn’t mean having a drink in hand at all times. You may be able to stop drinking for short periods, but that doesn’t prove the absence of dependence. If you are constantly looking forward to your next drink, and you’re always making excuses as to why this one time doesn’t really count, it speaks to an underlying issue.

Overcoming an alcohol addiction

Recognizing you’re addicted to alcohol may not feel like a victory, but it is. It’s only once you understand the issue that you can begin work to fix it. For some, this requires a reexamination of their life. For others, it could be AA meetings, or a rehab treatment centre. Whatever the method or venue, Toronto alcohol addiction treatment can be an effective tool for overcoming an addiction

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres

We offer residential and outpatient rehab treatment programs for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.

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