Alcohol, for most people who drink it, is a harmless part of a social gathering, celebration, night out or portion of the evening where a drink of wine, beer or hard alcohol is shared between friends, family or loved ones. For many men and women, it isn’t difficult to say no more after one drink, but to 18 million men and women in the United States over the age of 12, alcoholism and the addiction to consuming alcohol on a very regular basis are incredibly hard to ignore.

The CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Protection recommends that men and women have no more than one or two glasses of beer or wine per day, and most of the time one drink of alcohol is suggested, however, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration better abbreviated as SAMHSA conducted a study which found over 52% Americans over the age of 12 have consumed alcohol in the last 30 days.

How to tell if someone is an alcohol abuser

Alcohol is such a prevalent part of our society that the lines between alcohol use and alcohol abuse can be blurry and poorly defined. It is almost a rite of passage in certain situations to display behavior that would certainly qualify as alcoholism. How do you know if someone is an alcoholic or simply enjoying their youth or the party lifestyle?

In the case of the wino begging for change for a bottle, it is easy to tell that the individual in question is an alcoholic. However, alcoholism is not an overnight occurrence. Nobody simply wakes up one morning and decides to become an alcoholic. Alcoholism is a progressive illness marked by increased tolerance, dependence and withdrawal symptoms.

And yet, an individual who is becoming an alcoholic may not yet display any of these more serious signs. The following information is meant to help those who wish to know how to tell if someone is an alcoholic, or if someone is becoming an alcoholic.

how to tell if someone is an alcohol abuser

Characteristics and behavior patterns of an alcoholic

    • Their social life revolves around alcohol: Bars, nightclubs, and gatherings with friends who also seem to drink heavily or in excess. Opportunities to drink in situations that are not traditionally venues for a drink, such as movie theaters that have a bar inside or sell beer or wine, are always capitalized on.
    • They drink every single day. Even if it is only a single glass of wine or two beers after work, drinking five to seven drinks per week is a red flag in the DSM-V for alcohol abuse syndrome, the medical term for alcoholism.
    • They drink past the point of legal intoxication. Having more than one drink per hour increases the blood alcohol level of the imbiber past the legal .08 required to drive in most states. Drinking more than this and feeling confident to drive regardless is a warning sign of a high tolerance, which may indicate someone is or is becoming an alcoholic.
    • Drinking in spite of negative consequences is an important clue if you want to know how to tell if someone is an alcohol abuser. Someone who is not an alcoholic will correlate negative consequence with alcohol consumption and will modify their behavior accordingly. Continuing to drink heavily in spite of poor grades, job loss, broken relationships or other negative consequences is a warning sign of alcoholism.
  • They drink alone, or they drink in secret, obscuring their intoxication with mouthwash or perfume.

What to do if you believe you or someone you love is abusing alcohol

It can be one of the most difficult decisions of a man or woman’s life to either confront addiction with a loved one or to confront themselves with the idea that he or she may, in fact, be an alcoholic. In many cases, there is a degree of denial that occurs, but with the right love and support, addiction to alcohol can be overcome.

If you or a loved one is addicted to alcohol or drugs, please reach out for help sooner rather than later. United Recovery project offers counseling, rehabilitation programs and support for those who need it most. Please give us a call or read our blogs and material for more information about drugs, alcohol, and addiction.