Alcohol is such a normalised substance that its addictive classification is unbelievable to many people. It is however an addictive drug, which can fuel severe behavioural habits and consumption rates.
Due to its normalisation, it can be challenging to recognise the early stages of alcohol addiction. There’s a fine line between binge drinking and alcoholism, making both difficult to differentiate.
Spotting an addiction in the early stages is beneficial, helping to reduce the damages and consequences of alcoholism. From health problems and money worries to significant behavioural changes, there are many consequences of addiction that can be bypassed through an early diagnosis.
Acting early can be easier said than done. Yet there are some warning signs to look out for, and some questions to ask yourself, to ease your understanding. Here’s how to recognise the early stages of alcohol addiction, focusing on common signs, symptoms and impacts of alcohol use disorders.
For support, a diagnosis or for alcohol addiction treatment, reach out here at Rehab Clinics Group.
Recognising Addiction In The Early Stages
In some situations, addiction can be difficult to recognise. Some people live in denial, masking the negatives with positive feelings and reinforcements. Others hide their signs and symptoms well, from loved ones, making it difficult for family members and friends to be concerned over alcohol habits.
Trying to recognise the early stages of alcohol addiction is however beneficial. Usually displayed through behavioural changes, signs and symptoms should be taken seriously as an early diagnosis can reduce the amount of expected suffering.
The longer that addiction goes on, the harder it can be to treat as additional issues usually develop alongside alcoholism. For example, mental health issues are co-occurring disorders, linked to alcohol abuse and alcoholism. A dual diagnosis of both can develop later down the line. Such problems can be avoided by seeking early intervention.
Understandably, recognition cannot always be early, as most addictions come to light through noticeable physical and psychological changes. A chronic addiction can still be treated and managed with professional help. Yet the sooner the better, to reduce the invasive nature of addiction.
Here’s some advice on how to recognise the early stages of alcohol addiction, to look out for, in yourself or those around you. Remember that some warning signs will indicate alcoholism, whilst others may be linked to alternative illness. Being sure of the situation, prior to approaching someone about their alcohol consumption is important.
Warning signs of early alcoholism
Signs and symptoms of alcoholism, following a generic diagnosis, will represent physical, psychological, social, and behavioural changes. Yet warning signs indicating the early stages of addiction are mostly visible through actions, commitments, and responses.
Signs of early alcoholism include:
- Developing a tolerance to alcohol
- Requiring higher levels of alcohol to feel the same effects
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms in between alcohol consumption
- Prioritising alcohol consumption
- Binge drinking habits
- Hiding alcohol consumption
- Choosing to drink over other responsibilities
- Justifying consumption
Noticing the early stages of alcohol addiction can reduce the risks of long-term health problems, relapsing behaviours, and co-occurring disorders. If you’re worried that severe stages of addiction may be present, below are some further signs and symptoms to recognise and act upon.
Physical signs of alcoholism include poor hygiene, ill-health, hangover-like symptoms, withdrawal symptoms, sleep problems and visible neglect to appearance.
Psychological signs of alcohol addiction include poor mental health, irritability, mood swings, irrational decisions and outlooks, high emotions, and dual diagnosis.
Social signs of alcohol abuse include a change in friendship circles and hobbies, adapted commitments and responsibilities, binge drinking habits, social isolation, and a lack of interest in day-to-day activities.
Behavioural signs of alcohol addiction include prioritising consumption, change in personality, denial, poor workplace performance, damaging relationships, risky behaviour, continuing to drink through consequences, and using alcohol as a coping strategy.
All of the above must be paired with consistent/habitual alcohol consumption in order to indicate a problem. For example, poor hygiene as a standalone sign will not support a clinical diagnosis. Yet paired with other warning signs, recognising the early stages of alcohol addiction may be possible.
Treating Alcohol Addiction
No matter how early or developed an alcohol addiction may be, treatment is available. At Rehab Clinics Group, we complete clinical assessments to diagnose the severity of drinking problems. This is important, to make sure that the right type and level of addiction treatment can be offered and completed.
Through our group of alcohol rehab clinics, tailored treatment programmes can be experienced. Offering necessary addiction treatment services, along with holistic therapies, we treat alcoholism in safe and sustainable ways.
Alcoholism must be treated through detoxification and rehabilitation services. Alcohol withdrawal is something to aim for, possible through a detoxification process. Detoxing will be safe and medically assisted through rehab, helping clients work through withdrawal symptoms.
Rehabilitation services will include therapy sessions, management options and relapse prevention planning to suppress future consumption.
If you recognise the early stages of alcohol addiction, less treatment will be required, as associations and symptoms will be milder. Yet through each diagnosis, detox and rehab treatment services will be essential to recovering.
The majority of clients will also experience aftercare services and support groups as a form of treatment. Alcoholics Anonymous, 12-step programmes and regular check-ins will be recommended, to stop drinking and remain sober.
It’s important to be aware of how to recognise the early stages of alcohol addiction, as an urgent intervention can reduce the weight of rehab. Some early diagnoses can be treated through withdrawal and some lifestyle changes. Yet developed addictions will need to be worked through, through a comprehensive process.
Reach out for more information on our clinical diagnoses or to share your concerns around the warning signs and symptoms of alcoholism. We’re here for you at Rehab Clinics Group, offering advice, treatment, and action across the stages of alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and addiction.