alcohol abuse signs

When to Get Help for Alcohol Abuse

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

The Signs of Alcoholism and When to Seek Help

When we think of an alcoholic, we think of someone who drinks to excess and whose life has become a mess. It’s a harmful image of a person from a trope, angry or crying with messy hair and no relationships, but that’s all it is, a trope in stories. Alcoholism is far more complex and varied in the real world where things are not black and white but shades of gray. When you think someone you love is struggling with alcohol or if you yourself are looking for help, we here at First Steps Recovery in Fresno, California are here to help you find recovery from alcohol abuse.

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a catch-all phrase for an alcohol use disorder. No two people will experience the same symptoms when struggling with addiction and dependency. A high functioning alcoholic can even seemingly lead a perfectly healthy life. They may be responsible and productive, holding down a job and having a family, but periods of heavy drinking still control their life.

What is heavy drinking? It looks different for men and women. For women, heavy drinking involves having three drinks a day or seven a week. For men, four or more drinks a day and 14 in a single week is heavy drinking. If you or your loved one has periods of heavy drinking, then even if it is a mild case, you’re experiencing an alcohol use disorder.

Warning Signs of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

What are the warning signs you should be watching for if you suspect a loved one is struggling with addiction and alcohol? They don’t always look the same, but here are a few common signs of alcohol abuse to watch for or recognize within yourself and your patterns.

  • Being unable to control your drinking is the first, and usually the most obvious, warning sign. Have you or your loved one attempted to cut down on your drinking but been unsuccessful? Perhaps you’ve even hidden your drinking from others because you are ashamed of it? You drink because it relaxes you or fills you with confidence and slowly you have begun to rely upon it, drinking in the morning to wake up or when it is unsafe, such as when driving or swimming?
  • Has your drinking gotten to a point where it is having an impact, even when you aren’t drinking? Do you experience mood swings or signs of irritability? Perhaps you drink so much that you blackout and have little to no memory of what occurred while you were drinking and have started to experience the feelings of a hangover, even when you are not hungover. Feelings such as withdrawal, shaking, sweating, and nausea. These feelings may be so intense that they cause to you drink again to be rid of them or “feel better”.
  • Even if your loved one is hiding their drinking from you, there may be other signs still visible. If their group of friends has changed recently or if they’re in legal trouble such as from a DUI. Perhaps they have become withdrawn and no longer wish to participate in activities they once enjoyed or are failing to fulfill obligations.
  • Most importantly, have you hurt someone due to your drinking? Are you making excuses for your drinking or causing those who love you to lie for you? If alcohol has taken such a hold on your life that you can no longer control it, it’s time to seek help.

What Can I Do?

The first step is always admitting there’s a problem. Thinking long and hard about your life and the pain you are causing those who care about you and be honest with yourself. If you are struggling with alcohol abuse, rely on it, are hiding it from your friends and family, and are worried about the tool it is taking on your life; you have a problem. Once you accept that you need help, it’s time to reach out. If you’re in Fresno, California and you or your loved one is struggling, we are here for you. Contact or Call us at 844-489-0836 today to begin the path to a new and brighter future.


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