Identifying and treating alcohol or drug addiction early gives an individual a much better chance of being successful in their recovery from substance addiction. That means the sooner an alcoholic becomes aware of his alcoholism, the better. But a lot of alcoholics are not aware they even have a problem until it’s too late for them, and addiction has been established.
But first, an individual needs to learn how to identify an addiction to alcohol, and what steps to take once alcoholism has been diagnosed by a specialist. So how do you tell if someone has alcoholism?
Addiction professionals, medical doctors, and licensed psychologists in most alcohol addiction treatment centers assess alcoholism through physical and psychological examination. In order to tell if someone has an alcohol problem, these professionals will ask many questions about their alcohol use. But because of the stigma attached to being an addict, alcoholics may not tell the entire truth during initial screenings.
There are key traits to look for in order to identify whether or not someone has a problem with alcohol addiction. Some of the most common signs of alcoholism include:
- Being dependent on alcohol just to function or get through the day.
- Exhibiting withdrawal symptoms when he/she does not drink for several hours or longer.
- Avoiding activities that don’t involve alcohol.
- Failure to quit drinking despite the problems it causes.
- Family, work, school, or legal problems caused by alcohol.
- A tendency to hide their drinking.
- Increased tolerance to alcohol.
- Mood swings, irritability.
- Making excuses to drink.
Once you have identified alcoholism, what now?
What is the next step you should take?
First, if you suspect that a loved one is an alcoholic, you and your family members can plan an intervention to confront them with your concerns. Family members and close friends should work together when planning an intervention so that they can pick the time and location, and plan what will be said. You should also decide what to do if the alcoholic will not quit drinking.
Second, it is usual for alcoholics to deny their problems. They refuse to face reality because they are not yet ready for addiction treatment, are not willing to admit that they have an alcoholism problem, or deny it because they are ashamed of their condition. But accepting the problem is the first step to addiction recovery, whether it is alcoholism or drug addiction.
When the person has accepted his problem, the third step is going to an alcohol addiction treatment center. In order to do this, the addict should meet with an addiction professional to discuss the best options for treatment, which will depend on their individual circumstances and needs.
During recovery, the alcoholic will need a strong support system made up of understanding family members and friends. In some cases, family counseling can also be a great aid in helping the alcoholic and their loved ones re-establish bonds and heal together.