Drinking alcohol is so much a part of American culture that it can be hard to define when someone has crossed over from occasional heavy drinking to an alcohol use disorder. Most people who drink alcohol have experienced at least one issue from drinking heavily. It comes with the territory of finding individual limits and the boundaries of their dosage. However, people who suffer from alcoholism experience this regularly, and oftentimes, it is in private. Whether you are exploring whether or not you may have alcoholism, or if you suspect a loved one might, we’ve gathered some of the major signs of an alcoholic to look out for.

The Biggest Signs of an Alcoholic to Watch For

If you suspect that someone you love may be suffering from alcohol use disorder, it can be difficult to figure out for sure without some investigating. However, there are some tell-tale physical and behavioral symptoms that occur. Make note of these symptoms and find time to gently approach the subject with your loved one.

Physical Symptoms

  • Marked weight gain or loss. People who suffer from alcohol use disorder don’t usually eat the most nutritious foods while they are intoxicated, if at all. This can mean your loved one has either suddenly gained or lost a significant amount of weight recently.
  • Unkempt appearance. When someone is suffering from alcohol use disorder, they tend to care less about their appearance. This means personal hygiene falls to the wayside, and they may start looking more unkempt.
  • Red or flush face. One of the symptoms of drinking alcohol is a red face or nose. If your loved one has this frequently, chances are they are drinking frequently.
    Sudden signs of aging. Alcohol tends to cause dry skin, wrinkles and dark circles under the eyes. If you suddenly see this in your loved one, they are drinking too much alcohol.

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Agitation. Aggression, general irritability, anxiety, and agitation are all side effects of drinking too much alcohol.
  • Trouble with the law. If your loved one has been getting in trouble with the law due to actions performed while drinking, this is a very troubling sign.
  • Isolation. Have you noticed your loved one isolating themselves from you or other loved ones recently? Chances are, they are trying to hide their drinking from you.
  • Change in social circle. Your loved one might be spending way more time with their drinking or party buddies than with their other family or loved ones.
  • Financial issues. Has your loved one asked your or other loved ones for money recently?

High Functioning Alcoholism

There is such a thing as a person who suffers from alcoholism but doesn’t exhibit the “typical” signs of an alcoholic as mentioned above. This person may:

  • Pay all their bills and not have financial issues
  • Hold a steady job, possibly in a position of power
  • Able to maintain a wealthy social life and relationships
  • Has not yet experienced setbacks from drinking

Just because a person doesn’t experience the typical signs of an alcoholic doesn’t mean that they are not suffering from alcohol use disorder. There is only one question you need to ask yourself or your loved one: Are you able to control or stop your use without issue? If the answer is no, then it is time to seek help.

Am I an Alcoholic?

It can be easier to recognize the signs of an alcoholic from the outside when others may be suffering than it is to look at ourselves. If you may be worried that you are suffering from alcohol use disorder, it is important for you to look in yourself for these signs of an alcoholic:

  • Do I drink at inappropriate times? This could include the morning, during work hours, or while spending time with children.
  • Does drinking alcohol make me feel “normal”? If you are drinking alcohol to make yourself feel better during a hangover, to frequently relieve anxiety or to stop cravings, then it is time to get help.
  • Am I blacking out a lot? Blacking out frequently or every time you’re drinking isn’t normal.
  • Do I downplay or lie about how much I drink? If you are lying about your use and hiding how much you really drink, this is cause for concern.
  • Are people worried about me? As mentioned before, alcoholism is much easier to see from the outside. Are people telling you that you drink too much, that you need help, or that they are worried about you?

About Pinelands Recovery Center

Now that you understand the signs of an alcoholic, it is time to get help. Living a life free from alcohol, debilitating hangovers, and embarrassing blackouts are possible. We are here to help guide you there with medical detox, behavioral therapy, holistic therapy, and ongoing aftercare.

Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford is widely known as one of New Jersey’s finest, most respected addiction treatment facilities. With comfortable 30-bed accommodations and 24-hour professional staff, we can offer clients a serene, relaxing environment amid the lush piney woods. This stress-free setting with its sense of warmth and welcoming enables you to feel comfortable and confident about your clean and sober life ahead.

We will establish clear goals, both general in nature and specific to your needs. We continue to monitor those goals, to make sure that our clients are progressing and buying into their recovery plan. We thrive on assisting clients in feeling connected to the recovery community, share and demonstrate effective coping techniques, help clients to modify attitudes and patterns of behavior and everything else you will need to be happy and productive living a sober, healthy life.

We ensure that clients complete their planned concrete tasks, encourage hope, optimism and healthy living. Our recovery program is not a revolving door treatment program; it is a recovery model designed to help clients go on to lead productive, happy lives. For more information, visit pinelandsrecovery.com