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Alcohol abuse is so widely known and recognized that we tend to think it is not worthy of further investigation. There has, in recent years, been a great deal of publicity about binge drinking in young people. There is really no tolerance of public intoxication anymore. Just about all of the old-fashioned standards regarding alcohol have been overturned as we have become much more aware of the dangers of alcohol abuse.
Even the symptoms of alcoholism are now widely recognized even by people who have not been personally exposed to the problem. Obviously, blackouts. DTs, and serious legal consequences now immediately signal a problem drinker for nearly everyone. What is not often talked about are the hidden signs of alcoholism. Many of us do not recognize behaviors which can signal a drinking problem.
Alcoholism, like all addiction, is a secretive problem by its nature. People who are falling into addiction generally begin to hide their behaviors. People seem to instinctively know that their substance abuse is problematic. For this reason, the hidden signs of alcoholism can be hard to spot.
One of the clearest signs early on for most alcoholics is lying about their drinking. Lying about the amount or frequency of drinking should be a red flag to anyone concerned about someone’s drinking. Again, there is an internal recognition on the part of people with a drinking problem that what they are doing is not normal. When people are obviously intoxicated but claim they have only has a small amount of alcohol, when people have clearly been drinking but claim they have not, these are problematic behaviors which may signal a drinking problem.
Hand in hand with lying about drinking is a tendency to hide drinking. In many ways this is relly simple. People who are doing the right things and know it do not cover up what they are doing. When you start to hide your liquor in flasks or you start mixing it in with soft drinks so people do not know what you are drinking, you are covering it up. Hiding alcohol consumption is a big warning sign. People who hide their liquor in-take know what they are doing is potentially problematic.
It is true that any adult will likely experience moments which call for a drink. Most people will have those stereotypical bad or good days in which a “stiff drink” seems to be the order of the day. However, when someone begins to crave a drink with regularity, this may be a red flag. The phenomenon of craving is a serious indicator of dependency on any substance. Clearly, alcoholic beverages are often seen as helpful after or during a difficult time. But when daily life itself starts to call for a drink, then we see signs of alcoholism. Cravings are not a part of normal drinking.
There are many more early signs of alcoholism. These few are the most common. The good news in this is that learning to recognize these types of early signs can help someone to avoid the nightmare of more advanced alcoholism. Seeing the early signs, taking note of them, and deciding to take measures to alter drinking habits or stop drinking altogether will prevent more serious consequences.
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