There is no arguing the fact that alcoholism has become an epidemic across the country. And this problem has only increased in recent years. Economic issues such as unemployment and inflation have amplified stress and anxiety. Isolation and lockdowns due to the coronavirus have amplified depression in many people.

These and many other factors have fueled a rise in alcoholism. Unfortunately, alcohol consumption isn’t viewed through the same lens as other substance abuse due largely to it being legal. People tend to view the excessive drinking of a family member or friend (or even themselves) as a simple relaxation technique or “enjoying life”.

However, the number of alcohol recovery programs available shows that is not at all the case. The damage this disease causes destroys lives; it doesn’t make them more enjoyable. In fact, studies have shown that people with chronic alcohol addiction live around 25 fewer years than the average lifespan. To help better understand the indicators of alcoholism, we will break them down into 3 categories; physical, behavioral, and emotional/psychological:

Physical Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

Physical symptoms of excessive alcohol use are probably the easiest to spot, although alcoholics will often try to attribute them to something else such as lack of sleep, illness, or stress. Here are several common short and long-term effects of alcoholism:

Short-Term:

  • Poor coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Delayed reaction times
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent hangovers

Long-Term:

  • Liver damage
  • Brain damage
  • Increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and certain types of cancer
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Severe craving for alcohol
  • Needing to drink to avoid withdrawal symptoms
  • Seizures
  • Poor hygiene

Behavioral Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

Although behavioral issues may not be as easy to spot as physical ones, and they often take a while to develop, they can be quite a contrast to a person’s normal behavior. If you suspect someone you love may need an alcohol recovery program, keep an eye out for these signs:

Short-Term:

  • Taking unnecessary or extreme risks
  • Unsafe sexual activity
  • Reckless driving
  • Aggressive or belligerent behavior

Long-Term:

  • Drinking alone
  • Drinking to avoid anxiety
  • Secretiveness
  • Isolation
  • Legal issues such as DUI or public intoxication
  • Professional issues such as missing work or poor performance

Emotional/Psychological Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse causes chemical changes in the brain which affect personality and functionality. This is especially true for adolescents and younger drinkers. Many alcohol recovery programs place a special treatment emphasis on these issues. Here are a few examples of these signs:

Short-Term:

  • Irritability/anger
  • Poor memory
  • Impaired decision-making

Long-Term:

  • Depression
  • Short attention span
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks

Alcohol Recovery Programs Have Helped Countless People Face Their Addiction

The fact that alcohol is legal and socially acceptable doesn’t make its addiction any less dangerous. In fact, it may be even more deadly due to the ease of access and the fact you can consume it in many establishments.

It also makes it more difficult to quit and stay sober as you will most likely be around alcohol and those who consume at social or casual business events for the rest of your life. But that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed. There are many certified alcohol recovery programs available today for those struggling with alcoholism. All you have to do is take that first step.