The Most Obvious Alcoholic Drinking Behaviors That are Hard to Ignore.

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Alcoholic Drinking Behaviors That are Hard to Ignore

Obvious Signs of Alcoholic Drinking Behaviors

Alcoholism is a chronic disorder which is marked by compulsive drinking. This leads to psychological and physical dependence and possibly addiction. The effects of alcohol, when consumed excessively, can bring on irrational behavior that can cause major issues in a person’s life. If you notice some of the signs of alcoholic drinking behaviors in someone you know or love, it’s possible that they may have an addiction.

When alcoholic drinking behaviors become obvious, it’s likely that the problem has been there for quite some time. Problem drinkers put a lot of effort into hiding their alcoholism symptoms so it’s not always easy to know right away. At the beginning stages of alcoholism, there are very few symptoms that would indicate a real issue. The obvious drinking behaviors of an alcoholic may not become apparent until the tipping point has occurred.

This tipping point between drinking and full out alcoholism may take years, even decades to materialize to the point where it’s obvious. For example, functional alcoholics can maintain a normal life with no signs at all. Seeing where drinking has crossed the line from social use to a problem often won’t be obvious for quite some time.

There are some drinking behaviors that would indicate alcoholism at an early stage. If you notice your loved one copes with difficulties by drinking, this could be a warning sign. As the disease of alcoholism progress so do the more obvious signs of problem drinking.

The Definition of Alcoholism

Behaviors in alcoholic drinking include how much they drink as well as their drinking patterns. This can range from binge drinking, heavy social drinking, alcohol abuse and alcoholism. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) states the following is normal or low risk drinking. Anything more would indicate that there is a degree of problem drinking when someone consistently exceeds these numbers;

  • For women, more than seven drinks per week is considered a problem. For men, it’s 14 drinks per week.
  • The definition of binge drinking is when women drink up to 4 drinks in a 2-hour sitting. For men, it’s 5.
  • Heavy alcohol use is when binge drinking occurs 5 or more times in a 30-day period.

What are Drinking Behaviors?

Drinking behaviors are things people do while under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol changes how the brain functions so people might commit hurtful or illegal acts unintentionally while drunk. These behaviors include:

  • Abusive acts including emotional, physical, and verbal abuse.
  • They might be neglectful.
  • More likely to start fights or physically assault others.
  • They may be illogical and say hurtful things with no recollection the next day.
  • They may drive drunk or get in a car with a drunk driver.
  • There may be irresponsible sexual activity such as unprotected sex or sexual assault.
  • They risk their own safety as well as others’ safety.
  • They may commit crimes

Alcoholic Risk Factors and Problem Drinking

There are some people that are more susceptible to becoming an alcoholic putting them at greater risk. In conjunction with alcoholism symptoms, professionals may have an easier time determining the disease by these factors.

  • If family history includes alcoholism.
  • How a person is raised.
  • Social environment.
  • Emotional health of the person.
  • Racial groups are more at risk of alcoholism such as American Indians and Native Alaskans.
  • A person with a family history who also associates with heavy drinkers.
  • Those who suffer from mental health issues like depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety.

First Sign of Alcoholism

Alcohol Tolerance and Behaviors: The First Sign of Alcoholism

The first signs of alcoholism by definition is that you drink more than you once did to get “relaxed” or buzzed. An alcoholic can therefore drink more than other people without getting drunk because they build a tolerance.

Alcohol Withdrawal: The Second Warning Sign

Alcohol Withdrawal: The Second Warning Sign

Someone who is heavily into the second stages of alcoholism will likely experience withdrawal symptoms. This can include shakes in the morning which is why many alcoholics will drink in the morning. There are many other signs that indicate drinking is quickly spinning out of control but these withdrawal symptoms indicate the person is addicted to the substance already.

Some other withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety or easily startled
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Inability to sleep
  • Depression
  • Irritable
  • Headaches
  • Exhaustion

Alcoholics Make Excuses to Drink

Alcoholics Make Excuses to Drink

One of the earlier systems of alcoholism is making up excuses to drink. An alcoholic will drink when they receive bad news, drowning their sorrows. Alternatively, alcohol is the first thing they turn to when there’s good news.

Problem Drinkers Hiding Alcohol Around the House

Problem Drinkers Hiding Alcohol Around the House

If you find bottles of alcohol stored in strange hiding places around the house, this is an indication of alcoholism. An alcoholic wants to ensure they can conceal their drinking problem because they’re ashamed. They also want to be able to access a drink wherever they are in the house without being questioned. At this point, you may want to consider an intervention before alcoholism progresses to bigger behavioral issues.

Alcoholics Tend to Reject Events that Don’t Involve Drinking

Alcoholics Tend to Reject Events that Don’t Involve Drinking

An alcoholic will usually say yes to an event they know involves drinking. As part of the definition of alcoholism, they like to celebrate with alcohol. If there is an event where drinking isn’t taking place, an alcoholic will usually avoid it altogether. Parties are acceptable while going to a movie will be rejected.

Alcoholics Stay Up Late to Drink in Peace

Alcoholic drinking is usually done shamefully. Therefore, many alcoholics will stay awake after everyone else has gone to bed. They can drink on their own without anyone monitoring the amount of alcohol being consumed.

Drinking Gets Earlier for Alcoholics As Time Goes On

An alcoholic will hide the fact they’re day drinking but you may notice a smell of alcohol on their breath during the day. The definition of an alcoholic is that they are dependent on the substance. They need to drink increasingly more often to prevent alcoholism withdrawal symptoms. This usually means that drinking will start earlier in the day as time goes on.

Alcoholics Get Defensive

A Problem Drinker Gets Defensive When the Question of Alcoholism Comes Up

The definition of alcoholism is stigmatic and causes a lot of judgment. Not only that but the alcoholic feels genuine shame for losing control to the substance. When you confront them about their drinking habits, they will likely get overly defensive. The reaction can include verbal or even physical aggression.

Alcoholics Tend To Drink Before They Go Out

If you have a friend or loved one who always seems to start drinking before you even go out, this can be an alcoholic symptom. They are able to get a head start on the amount of alcohol they get to consume. They can then attend the party and drink what would seemingly be a normal amount as nobody was witness to the pre-drinking.

Alcoholics Feel Ashamed about their Drinking Problem

You may notice that the person in your life exhibiting drinking behavior issues will lie about their whereabouts and they may even ask you to cover for them. This is particularly hard for families because they can become enablers.

Mood Changes Drastically

The Alcoholics Mood Will Change Drastically When They Start Drinking

An alcoholic may be anxious or angry until they have a drink. You will notice a dramatic change in their mood as they relax and cope with life in a more efficient way. This ties in with other behavioral drinking behaviors like using alcohol as an excuse when a negative event occurs.

Alcoholics Can Black Out While Drinking

While anyone can black out while drinking, one of the alcoholic drinking symptoms include a higher probability of blacking out. Studies have been conducted with data showing that the more severe the alcoholism, the greater likelihood that blackouts could occur. This is usually the case after years of heavy drinking where alcoholism was well-established. If you find that your loved one blacks out regularly, they are likely a long-time alcoholic.

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Alcoholic Drinking Effects the Ability to be Responsible

An alcoholic may neglect important responsibilities in all aspects of their life because of drinking behaviors. This can include home, work, and school. Examples of this include neglecting children and forgetting to pick them up. Even worse, they may pick them up while under the influence of alcohol. Commitments and responsibilities won’t be met because the person is either drunk or hung over.

Irresponsible Drinking

Irresponsible Drinking

An alcoholic will likely drink without considering the consequences because they’re dependent on alcohol. They may drink and drive or operate heavy machinery while intoxicated at work. This can put themselves and others at risk. They may also mix alcohol with prescription medication regardless of warnings on the label. Alcoholics can exhibit risky behavior in order to get their “fix.”

Financial Debt and Legal Problems

Financial Debt and Legal Problems

The behaviors of alcoholic drinking will often manifest legal problems as well as financial issues. The mistakes that can occur while someone is constantly under the influence can have serious ramifications. A DUI, disorderly conduct and violent behavior are some of the behaviors alcoholics will participate in that cause legal issues and financial debt.

Drinking Despite Relationship Problems

Drinking Despite Relationship Problems

If you’re in a relationship with someone who is an alcoholic, you will notice that despite all your pleas, they won’t stop. The relationship may be falling apart and you’ve mentioned you think drinking is part of the problem. This won’t stop them from drinking and in fact, it will likely perpetuate alcohol abuse. They use alcohol as a coping mechanism so if a relationship is in peril, they won’t turn to you, they’ll turn to the bottle.

Outcomes of Drinking Behaviors

Even if you ignore the obvious behaviors of an alcoholic you’re close with, eventually their life will unravel. They will often lose everything that’s important to them. The behaviors that are so prevalent in alcoholics usually means they suffer much loss. If you are standing on the outside, you will see it happening.

Some common outcomes from an alcoholics’ behavior include;

  • A loss of drivers license or legal problems from DUI offenses.
  • Job loss from irresponsible actions.
  • Prison time due to violence or illegal actions that occurred while under the influence of alcohol.
  •   Divorce and potential loss of custody of your children.
  • Health problems such as liver disease

The Problem Drinker and Denial of Alcoholism

Denial is one of the main defining symptoms of alcoholism. Sadly, it’s also one of the biggest obstacles preventing an alcoholic from getting help. The desire to drink is so strong that the mind finds ways to rationalize drinking, even when the negative outcomes are obvious. These excuses will keep the person in ignorance so they can continue to live with their addiction. It prevents them from having to look at the truth and it is often protected even after they have begun to lose everything. Denial exacerbates alcohol-related problems with work, finances, and relationships.

Alcoholics tend to say certain things that include;

  • Understating the amount they drink at all costs.
  • When something negative happens because of their drinking, they downplay it.
  • They will complain that family and friends are making a big deal out of nothing.
  • They may blame their drinking problem on others.

People will give excuses on why they aren’t an alcoholic despite all the obvious signs. They reason with themselves and then make excuses to everyone around them.

If you find that someone in your life is rationalizing their drinking habits, lying about them, or refusing to discuss the subject, it’s likely they’re protecting their alcoholism. Their logic is if you can’t determine alcoholism based on the definitions, there’s no proof of a problem and they can continue to drink. If an alcoholic doesn’t believe they have a problem then why are they covering up their drinking or making excuses for why they drink? There are alcoholic assessments that can be done online for when the person is ready.

It’s not always easy to determine if someone’s drinking tendencies are of an alcoholic drinking nature because it’s such a common pastime. Plenty of people go through phases of drinking without developing the disease. It’s when it hits a chronic level despite consequences that you will notice the abnormal drinking tendencies. Finding the line between social drinking and problem drinking depends on how it affects the persons’ life. If drinking causes problems in the person’s life and they won’t stop, the possibility of alcoholism is high. Especially if they continue to drink and protect their addiction despite the obvious alcoholism symptoms to everyone else around them.

The typical behaviors that alcoholics exhibit become damaging through time. These behaviors include irrational actions like driving under the influence or harming a loved one with physical violence. It’s hard to ignore the downward spiral as alcoholics start to lose everything they once cared about and make drinking their priority. If you want to get help for your friend or loved one, find professionals to help you with an alcohol intervention. There are inpatient and outpatient options once the alcoholic in your life has decided to seek help.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Drinking Levels Defined. Retrieved from,

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking

Addiction Professional (July 15, 2011). Take Blackouts Seriously relating to alcohol. Retrieved from,

https://www.addictionpro.com/article/take-blackouts-seriously

NCBI PUB Med (1985 Jan) Alcohol and social behavior I: The psychology of drunken excess. Retrieved by,

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3981386

NCBI, PMC (Feb, 2006). Study that illustrated how people behave upon the expectation of drinking alcohol. Understanding Alcohol Expectancy Effects: Revisiting the Placebo Condition. Retrieved by,

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1403295/

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (Oct, 2004) ALCOHOL’S DAMAGING EFFECTS ON THE BRAIN, Retrieved by,

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa63/aa63.htm

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcoholism on the Brain: An overview. Retrieved by,

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-2/125-133.htm

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Obvious Signs

2017-10-04T20:51:46+00:00 June 1st, 2017|0 Comments

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