Hidden Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Addiction to alcohol is surprisingly common. Its ready availability and ease of access make it the number one addictive substance in the United States. More than 17 million people struggle with alcohol dependence or abuse. That's a staggering one out of every twelve adults.

There are many forms that alcoholism can take as well. Some are obvious, such as alcohol bottles strewn about the home, getting a DUI or stealing money to buy alcohol. However, other signs of alcohol addiction are harder to see.

Some people who are dependent on alcohol don't even know they have a problem. They go from enjoying a few drinks out with their friends to a full-blown addiction without being aware that they were on a dangerous road in the first place.

There is a difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism. When someone abuses alcohol, they drink excessively despite how it negatively impacts them, either physically or socially. Alcoholism is when someone becomes dependent on alcohol and has a physical or psychological compulsion to drink.

If you're not sure if you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, here are some hidden signs to look out for that will allow you to recognize the issue so that you can seek out help and recovery.

The Physical Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol abuse often starts in a person's 20s. Heavy drinking gives way to an increased tolerance, and before long, health problems can develop. Because the excessive use of alcohol pays a heavy toll on our physical health, outward warning signs are sometimes the most easily recognized. These include:

  • Lack of coordination and disorientation
  • Glassy, blank stares
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Rambling or repeating the same thing
  • Difficulty standing or walking

Other Alcohol Addiction Signs

Even if someone doesn't present any outward signs that they're addicted to alcohol, there are other warnings you can look for. These include changes in behavior and mood that prove a growing reliance on the use of alcohol. Some of the other hidden alcohol addiction signs to watch out for include:

  • Crooked Priorities: Drinking outweighs everyday life responsibilities.
  • Extreme Mood Swings: Irritability, anger, agitation and anxiety are common mood swings that alcoholics experience.
  • Affected Relationships: Excessive drinking can affect relationships with family and friends because of neglect or abusive behavior.
  • Lies and Excuses: They may start lying about how much they drink or making excuses as to why drinking is okay for them.
  • Drinking Alone: For those with an addiction, drinking becomes a solitary activity done in secret.
  • Poor Performance: When a person's performance at work or school is affected by alcohol, this is a huge warning sign
  • Losing Interest: As alcohol starts to consume their thoughts, they may begin to lose interest in other activities they once enjoyed.
  • Inability to Stop: This is the hallmark of alcohol addiction — when someone can't stop drinking even if it's creating health, financial or family problems

Do You or a Loved One Have an Alcohol Addiction?

If these hidden signs of alcohol addiction are hitting a little too close to home, it could be because you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism. If the drinking is getting out of control, then it's time to reach out. At Diamond House Detox, we offer a safe and private environment where you can get the help you need. Contact one of our confidential treatment advisors today.

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on July 9th, 2018.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Diamond House Detox
Vicky is a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She began her nursing career in healthcare by working in the intensive care unit, and then an inpatient psychiatric hospital. After realizing the mental health needs of both the patients and the families she served, she became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Throughout her experience working with clients, she has developed a passion for those with dual diagnoses and specializes in helping individuals recognize the issues driving their substance use. This recognition has been crucial to the individual’s success in treatment. Vicky opened Diamond House Detox so that she can address these issues early on in a therapeutic environment to allow clients to transition to the next level in their recovery.
Vicky Magobet
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