How To: Detect the signs of alcoholism

Detect the signs of alcoholism

Worried about your or someone you love's relationship with alcohol? Not all alcoholics fit the stereotype of the down-and-out drunk. Learn to recognize the warning signs in yourself or a loved one.

You Will Need:
• Reflection
• Observation skills
• Honesty

Step 1
Weigh the importance of alcohol to you or a loved one. Is there a general preoccupation with drinking, like when, where, and with whom the next round will begin? Is it difficult to stop drinking once it starts, or to stick to a limit? Is a life without drinking impossible to imagine?

Step 2
Consider how much alcohol is consumed. Does drinking take place on a daily basis? Is binge drinking — more than five drinks in one sitting — a commonplace event? Do hangovers and blackouts occur frequently?

Step 3
Examine the motives for drinking. Using alcohol as a mood enhancer or coping mechanism is common among alcoholics.

Step 4
Think about the guilt, if any, associated with drinking. Have there been promises to cut down? Lies told about the amount consumed, or about drinking altogether?

Step 5
Measure tolerance for alcohol. Being able to consume a lot of liquor with few signs of intoxication is not a badge of honor; it's a sign of addiction.

Step 6
Don't be fooled by the ability to hold down a job. As many as half of the 18 million American alcoholics are considered high-functioning, meaning they can spend years maintaining the facade of a normal life while drinking to excess, until something catastrophic happens.

Step 7
If you see these signs in yourself or a loved one, call The National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service toll free at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for help.

Trivia: According to one study, 10% of the U.S. population's drinkers imbibe 50% of all alcohol consumed.

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