Modern culture tends to portray drinking alcohol as a fun and harmless pastime, but the reality is that alcohol can be an addictive substance that results in dangerous mental and physical health problems. Alcoholism is a chronic disease that is characterized by constantly drinking alcohol and being preoccupied with alcohol. Over time, the body develops a dependence on alcohol, so alcoholics have to continue drinking or suffer from painful withdrawal symptoms.
Many people assume that they cannot be an alcoholic as long as they do not fit the stereotype of being a drunken, unwashed person without a job or home. However, the reality is that people of all ages, genders, and walks of life may be alcoholics. Though each person is different, alcoholics tend to have a few specific patterns of behavior. If you keep an eye out for them, you may be able to tell whether or not a person has a problem with alcohol abuse. If you suspect that you or a loved one is having a problem with alcohol usage, it may be wise to seek treatment and begin the process of recovery.
How to Identify Alcoholic Behavior
Alcoholics are typically identified because they behave in certain ways. There are many different types of alcoholic behavior, but they typically fit into a few certain categories. Alcoholic behavior can be categorized in the four following classifications:
- Unsafe attitude towards alcohol consumption
- Neglect of personal responsibilities
- Physical problems due to alcohol abuse
- Problematic behavior and interactions with others
The first category of alcoholic behavior is unsafe or problematic methods of using alcohol. Any sort of drinking that involves more than seven to 14 drinks a week may be a problem, particularly if the person is drinking more than four drinks in a two hour period. Alcoholics tend to respond to every situation by craving alcohol. A good event may require a drink for celebration, and the alcoholic will also drink for consolation whenever anything goes bad. When an alcoholic drinks, they typically drink to get drunk instead of just sipping a single beverage. It is common for alcoholics to binge drink and black out due to their drinking. Because an alcoholic has a higher tolerance, they will drink more to get the sensation they crave. Many alcoholics will drink alcohol before going out for the night, going to work, or doing other activities.
People who have alcoholism tend to neglect their personal responsibilities because they are focusing on alcohol instead. This type of behavior can involve spending money on alcohol instead of food, schooling, clothing, or bills. Alcoholics may turn down social interactions to drink instead, or they may not meet deadlines for work and school because of their drinking. A common identifying factor of alcoholism is that a person will continue to neglect their responsibilities for alcohol even when there are negative consequences. Alcoholics will continue to behave irresponsibly even if they have legal problems or financial issues due to their drinking.
Alcohol is technically a toxic substance, so those who abuse it will have some very noticeable physical problems. Alcoholics frequently neglect personal health, so they may be more likely to have cavities, infections, and other small health problems. Since alcohol use causes hangovers, alcoholics frequently mention feeling nauseous, having a headache, or being bothered by bright lights and sounds. In the later stages of alcoholism, people may experience severe organ failure. If an alcoholic stops drinking, they will go into withdrawal. Signs of withdrawal behavior include depression, shaking, nausea, sweating, vomiting, and insomnia.
The final category of alcoholic behavior is a little more vague. In general, alcoholics tend to display problematic behavior when they interact with others. They may become defensive and aggressive if a person questions them about their alcohol use. Many alcoholics will continue drinking even if a parent or partner expresses concern. They may express feelings of low self-esteem, codependency, anxiety, impulsiveness, depression, or perfectionism in daily life.
Why Is Alcoholic Behavior a Problem?
Many alcoholics tend to just shrug off signs of alcoholic behavior because they think ,”What’s the problem as long as I’m not hurting anyone?” Keep in mind that alcoholism is a mental health disorder that is quite dangerous even if the alcoholic is not driving drunk, being abusive, or engaging in other aggressive behaviors.
Being an alcoholic will greatly impair a person’s ability to build healthy relationships with those around them. Most people do not enjoy spending time with a drunk person when they are sober, so the alcoholic’s antics will eventually begin to bother them. This can lead to failed marriages, lost friends, and children who do not truly know their parent. In addition to greatly harming family and friends, alcoholism impairs a person’s ability to function as a member of society. They will typically end up neglecting responsibilities for work or school, and this may end up causing severe financial problems.
Alcoholism can also be very physically dangerous. Those who abuse alcohol are repeatedly exposing their body to a substance that is deadly in high dosages. Many alcoholics suffer from dangerous overdoses, and even those who do not overdose can end up damaging their liver over time. Alcoholism is also linked to many other health problems, including dementia and cancer.
What Should You Do If You Recognize Alcoholic Behavior?
Because alcoholic behavior is such a big problem, it is important for alcoholics to seek treatment for their disease. Keep in mind that alcohol withdrawal can be deadly, so it is never a good idea for an addict to try going “cold turkey” without medical supervision. Instead, it is best to seek professional help. In addition to providing medical assistance, alcohol rehab centers can provide much needed therapy, support, and addiction treatment for dealing with an alcohol problem. If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of alcoholic behavior, we can help. Give us a call at 888-380-0342 to get started on the road to recovery.