Behavioral and Physical Signs of Alcoholism

If you think you or someone you love might be an alcoholic, its’ extremely important that you’re able to recognize the signs of alcoholism.

Intangible Signs

The tricky thing about alcoholism is that it can be hard to detect. Many people hide their addiction really well. They go to parties and drink socially with everyone else and then they go home and drink alone. Alcoholism is hard to hide from people who are with you every day. It’s much easier to hide from people who aren’t intimately involved with you.

Though the following signs are not physical signs of alcoholism, they’re behavioral signs that should help you determine if you or someone you know is an alcoholic. These signs include: drinking well after everyone has finished drinking; drinking on a daily basis; consuming large quantities of alcohol and not appearing drunk; switching to other alcohol in hopes that they won’t get drunk as quickly; neglecting responsibilities to drink; receiving a DUI or other drunk driving-related offence and getting annoyed with family members for asking about their drinking habits.

Physical Signs

The physical signs of alcoholism are numerous, though they can take a while to develop. The most visible physical signs of alcoholism are constant slurred speech and unstable walking or other lack of coordination. When a person exhibits these behaviors, it’s easy to tell that they’re drunk. When you see this behavior as well as frequent blackouts, the person may be suffering from alcoholism.

Many physical signs of alcoholism are not so visible. For example, as a person falls deeper and deeper into alcoholism, their heart rate and breathing patterns slow down. This is because alcohol has a negative effect on blood cells and the heart. Alcohol abuse can increase the size of the heart, which makes the heart muscles weaker and the person’s heart rate slow down. Alcoholics also have liver problems and can get liver cancer. The liver processes chemicals and when it has to process too many chemicals, such as alcohol, it enlarges and fills with scar tissue. This restricts the liver’s function and ability to fend off other diseases.

How Does It Happen?

You’re not a bad person if you’re addicted to alcohol. The key is to get help with your addiction. Alcoholics come from all different backgrounds. Many of them get addicted to alcohol because they have addictive personalities and alcohol is easy to obtain and is a socially acceptable drug. Others get addicted to alcohol because they believe it helps them cope with difficult life situations. Many alcoholics are genetically predisposed to alcohol. If any of your blood relatives have been addicted to alcohol, watch yourself. Heredity plays a huge role in alcoholism. The one thing to remember about alcoholism is that no one chooses to be an alcoholic.

If you see any of these signs of alcoholism in yourself, admit to yourself that you have a drinking problem and seek out an alcoholism support group.

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