Alcoholism is a term that gets thrown around quite frequently when we think people drink too much. But, there’s more to it than that. Genetics, family of origin and many other factors play a role. It can get confusing pretty quickly. So, what are the early signs of alcoholism?
When someone’s drinking gets to the level of what we call alcoholic, the “habit” of drinking turns into a disorder that harms their everyday lives.
There are also different stages of alcoholism, including the early stage, chronic alcoholism, and end-stage. Alcoholism also often comes with various symptoms at each of these stages. During the early stage, signs might be harder to see or more comfortable to brush off as something else.
But, the earlier you catch the signs of problem drinking, the better your chances are for recovery.
Let’s take a look at 4 of the early signs of alcoholism.
One of the early signs of alcoholism is drinking in private. Alcoholics are often social drinkers. However, if you find yourself drinking privately or trying to keep your drinking habits a secret, it could be a sign of an even bigger problem.
Isolating yourself from others so you can drink in secret indicates that you have some understanding that your drinking has become excessive.
Many people who have a drinking problem tend to keep drinking throughout the day (alone). Mainly because when they’re not drinking, they feel hungover or sick in some other way.
Do you find yourself making excuses for your drinking habits? Maybe you tell someone you’ve had a long day, or that you just want to relax. Perhaps you even make excuses to yourself to justify drinking.
When you feel you have to make excuses for how often or how much you drink, it’s typically a red flag pointing to a bigger problem.
Another sign is if someone questions you on your habits. Do you become irritated quickly, or “snap” at them with your justifications? Alcoholics often isolate themselves from family members and close friends because they don’t want to face the reality of a potential problem.
Losing Interest in Other Hobbies
People who struggle with alcohol often lose interest in things that once brought them joy or things they were actively involved in. Drinking becomes your priority over almost everything else.
Have you started to make excuses not to do the things you once loved? Do you find yourself choosing to drink instead of going out and having fun?
Losing interest in your hobbies can be dangerous because you can eventually start to lose interest in any self-care. This approach makes it easier to fall down the spiral of alcoholism quickly.
Feelings of Guilt
One of the most notable early signs of alcoholism is guilt. When you have the wherewithal to know you’re drinking too much, pay attention to the way you feel. Do you feel ashamed of your habits? Do you ever think you should cut back on how much you drink?
Guilt is often a big reason why alcoholics drink alone or in secret. As you can see, most of these early signs connect in some way.
These early signs of alcoholism often go away as the disease takes over, and drinking becomes even more problematic. That’s why it’s so important to notice them early on, so it’s easier to recover and not let alcohol consume you.
It’s All Relative (well, maybe not all)
If there are heavy drinkers or others with addiction in your family tree, then you are at much higher risk yourself. That’s not to say that there are not other factors that weight in; of course there are. But genetic predisposition is high in family trees where others have struggled with addiction too.
If you’ve seen any of these early signs of alcoholism in yourself, or you’re worried about someone you love, don’t hesitate to get help immediately. Visit my alcohol addiction counseling page for details. This approach can help you to deal with the effects of alcoholism, even in the earliest stages.
You don’t have to wait until the problem completely takes over your life. Feel free to contact me for more information or to start getting help today.