Sometimes life just doesn’t turn out how we like. We fail – we don’t get started early enough – we missed a deadline – we let somebody down. Stuff happens. But everybody deserves to relax. To unwind at the end of a hard day. You can’t shut stress off. And you can’t run away from it. Dealing with stress is something we all have to figure out. Unfortunately, too many of us turn to alcohol for relief. In this post, we’ll present some of the early signs of alcoholism.
Effects of Alcohol
Alcohol is a depressant, so it can slow us down. Drinking might make you feel sedated. It could help you calm down. Maybe it helps you fall asleep. But be honest with yourself. You don’t need science and statistics to know that drinking isn’t good for you. It’s not a meaningful, sustainable solution. More often than not, it may be keeping you from dealing with real problems. If that’s the case, you’re postponing your own healing and fulfillment.
Are you an alcoholic? Should you cut back? Or quit drinking altogether? Before you try to resolve anything, take a moment to see what’s happening. Examine your life and see where you are. Use the following tools to help gauge your own journey. Think of them as signposts on your road to recovery.
Are You Dependent on Alcohol?
First, try this: put quitting aside for a moment. Instead, imagine that you can’t have one more drink. Whether it’s your first for the moment or your fifth, it doesn’t matter. Picture that you’re being cut off. How does that make you feel? Can you be ok with not having any more? Be truthful. If the idea of having to quit makes you feel angry or irritated, that’s a wake-up call.
Now, take the above exercise one step further. You could tell yourself that you can stop anytime you like. But can you? Can you, really? If so, then great. Get to work and do it. If you can safely quit, and withdrawals don’t interfere with your life, then consider yourself blessed. For the rest of us, if we truly cannot stop, then we need help. Being unable to quit is called dependence. It is the not-too-distant cousin of withdrawal.
When The Early Signs of Alcoholism Start Having Consequences
Withdrawals are a third factor. If you do manage to stop drinking – doesn’t matter how long you last – do you experience withdrawals? Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are things like faster breathing, high blood pressure, increased body temperature and sweating, and headaches. If you’ve been using alcohol to get to sleep, you’ll probably notice insomnia. You either won’t be able to fall asleep, or you’ll have trouble staying asleep. If you do drift off, you might be prone to nightmares.
But these symptoms are just the beginning of withdrawals. On the extreme end is delirium tremens (DTs). Serious DTs include confusion, memory loss, and disturbed patterns of thinking. Those suffering DTs can hear, see, and even feel things that aren’t actually present. They might believe ideas, or have experiences that aren’t grounded in reality. As bad as these symptoms are, the worst DTs can lead to seizures and death.
If you notice anything like this in your own life, you ought to seek treatment. Recovery is hard. Sometimes really hard. You should expect some physical and emotional discomfort. But recovery is possible. Healing is possible. If you or someone you love is showing these early signs of alcoholism, please call Harmony Oaks Recovery Center now at (423) 708-4961.