Knowing when someone has crossed the line from moderate or social alcohol intake to problem drinking or addiction is not always easy. Many people are in some way aware of their problem drinking behaviors and may attempt to conceal them by drinking alone. This makes it even harder for those close to them to clearly see their loved one is in need of an alcoholism treatment program.

There is a significant difference between someone who has a drinking problem and someone who has become addicted.

When someone is abusing alcohol frequently, they are beginning to show the signs of becoming dependent although they may still be conscious of their negative actions. When alcohol abuse become alcoholism, the urge to drink has become a physical and mental compulsion and an individual can have little regard for the consequence of their destructive behaviors on themselves and those around them.

The Symptoms of Someone with a Drinking Problem

Drinking alcohol is acceptable in many cultures around the world and its effects can vary wildly from one individual to another. Although it’s sometimes quite difficult to detect the difference between social drinking and problem drinking, here are some things to look out for that could be an indication of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol:

  • Lying about or hiding drinking habits and volumes
  • Becoming unreliable at work or with family responsibilities
  • Increasing occasions when someone ‘blacks out’ or forgets their bad behavior when drunk
  • The need to drink to feel relaxed, no matter what time of day
  • Drinking alone
  • Frequent hangovers or “illnesses”
  • Regularly drinking to excess relative to others in social situations

Everyone has a different tolerance level to alcohol but when someone has been abusing regularly, they can consume comparatively large volumes without necessarily appearing the worse for wear. The longer it takes an individual to get the pleasurable sensations they seek from alcohol – or the longer it takes for them to get drunk – the more likely it is that they are a problem drinker.

The Path from Alcohol Abuse to Alcoholism

Not all people who abuse alcohol become full-blown alcoholics although it is obviously a significant risk factor. Sometimes people can turn to drink in response to a difficult change such as a relationship breakup, the loss of a loved one or unemployment. The main distinction between a problem drinker and an alcoholic is that alcohol abusers or binge drinkers have some capacity to set limits on their drinking.

Conversely, when someone has developed alcoholism, they no longer have the ability to control their intake.

The Symptoms of Alcoholism

Alcoholism or alcohol dependence is the most severe form of problem drinking. Sufferers share the same symptoms as problem drinkers although they are intensified by physical dependence. Once someone relies on alcohol to function or consistently feels physical compelled to drink, it is safe to say they are an alcoholic.

The warning signs include:

  • A high tolerance level to alcohol, requiring more and more to achieve the desired effects.
  • Withdrawal symptoms start to present when someone stops drinking overnight. Alcoholics often wake first thing in the morning with the shakes from not having consumed alcohol for a few hours. Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety or jumpiness, shakiness or trembling, sweating, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Drinking has become a physical need rather than a pursuit of pleasure or conscious choice.
  • Although there may be a desire to quit, there’s a persistent defeatist attitude preventing them from seeking treatment.
  • They have changed almost beyond recognition from the person others know and love. Family responsibilities remain neglected, they become unreliable at work and sometimes even personal hygiene falls by the wayside.
  • People with alcoholism may become withdrawn in order to avoid being confronted by others about their drinking.
  • Frequent and extreme mood swings that are destructive to close and personal relationships and no sense of accountability for mistakes made or damage done.

Getting a Loved One the Treatment They Need

As with any form of addiction, alcoholism is something that can be overcome with the right treatment and any damage to a sufferer’s life can be reversed so that they can move forward to a more positive future. Improving the health of the relationship someone has with themselves and their loved ones is an integral part of specialist alcoholism treatment, which is why it has been proven to provide a more sustainable long-term recovery.

Alcohol rehab centers such as Ranch Creek Recovery offer the best environments for people with alcoholism to understand their addiction and alter the behaviors that allowed the condition to develop. It is important for people in alcohol rehab centers to be in completely different surroundings to those they associate with their drinking habit and alcohol rehab centers in California offer the best facilities in some of the most attractive landscapes in America.