Alcoholism and addiction have both similar and unique signs and symptoms, some more obvious than others. Certain risk factors may also increase your likelihood of substance dependency. Do you know the signs?
Signs of Alcoholism
- Temporary memory loss known as blackouts.
- Irritability, depression, or mood swings.
- The tendency for recurring arguments.
- Use of alcohol to manage your mood (i.e. to relax, cheer up, feel “normal”).
- Any of the following after you stop drinking: anxiety, nausea, headache, or any other unpleasant physical symptoms.
- Use of alcohol in secret, alone, or in the mornings.
- Flushed skin (broken capillaries on the face).
- Deepening of voice.
- Tremors in hands.
- Blood in stool, black/tarry stool, or chronic diarrhea.
- Vomiting blood.
Signs of Addiction
- Drinking or using drugs more than the time period originally intended.
- Changes to routines or behaviors: including neglecting other activities and responsibilities.
- Decrease in performance at work or school including reduced attendance.
- The increase of serious risk taking.
- The decline of relationships with family, friends, and/or professional relationships.
- Creating isolation and secrecy to conceal behavior.
- Changes in physical appearance including deterioration and hygiene.
- Increased tolerance to substances, needing more than the time before to have the same reaction.
Knowing the signs and symptoms may help you identify a problem, but it is also important to know what risk factors increase the likelihood of developing alcoholism or addiction.
- Your genetics and family history may put you at a higher risk for addiction and alcohol abuse. If a family member suffers from either disease your chances of also becoming addicted increase.
- Depending on your age, you may be at greater chance of developing alcohol dependency or addiction. Adolescents have a considerably higher chance of developing an addiction because of their inclination towards risky behaviors. Additionally, the younger you begin using drugs or alcohol, the higher the likelihood you will develop dependence.
- Your psychological health history is a key indicator of your likelihood to develop a substance abuse problem. People with a history of anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues and other mental health conditions suffer from alcoholism and drug addiction at a higher rate than those with no mental health conditions. Often times, abuse worsens pre-existing psychological conditions.
- The cohorts, or people with whom you choose to associate, can increase your chances of becoming addicted. Drug and alcohol abuse amongst your peers, family, or friends can increase your acceptance of the behavior and eventually lead to your own substance abuse.
- Stress levels are a common factor in drug and alcohol abuse. When used as a coping mechanism to unwind, there is an increased likelihood of developing long-term dependency.
- The substance used can greatly increase your likelihood of dependency and addiction. For example, drugs that are injected or smoked may have a higher risk for abuse and dependency because the effects to the brain are felt faster than drugs that are consumed by the mouth.
If you or someone you love is at an increased risk or identifies with the symptoms listed it, is important to seek help. Free By The Sea offers a range of resources and treatments for a variety of conditions. Get help today. Call (360) 777-7050.