5 Signs Your Loved One Is Drinking Too Much

Tim Sonnet

Medically reviewed by

Tim Sinnott, MFT

September 20, 2019

Article Contents

5 Signs Your Loved One Is Drinking Too Much

Article Contents

If you are feeling that your loved one is drinking too much, there is a good possibility that they have some form of alcohol use disorder (AUD).

While there are many signs associated with alcohol abuse, the following list contains five of the most recognizable symptoms.

5 Signs Of Alcohol Abuse

The following is a list of five signs your loved one may be drinking too much. It is important to note that there may be many other factors. Seeking professional treatment for alcohol abuse is a great first step to getting your loved one back on the road to healing.

1. Getting Sick From Drinking Too Much

Once in a while, a person might get sick because they overindulged in drinking one night. However, one of the signs your loved one is drinking too much is if they become sick regularly.

Sickness after drinking too much is called alcohol poisoning. It is very much like overdosing on any other drug, and if it’s severe it can put the person in the hospital.

It happens because so much alcohol is consumed in so little time that the alcohol starts to adversely affect the person’s metabolism.

Symptoms of getting sick from drinking too much include:

  • vomiting
  • diminished gag reflex
  • hypothermia
  • confusion
  • seizures
  • dulled physical reflexes

2. Drinking Every Day

You may notice that your loved one has a drink every day. There are cultures where it’s normal to have a glass of wine at dinner, but a person with an alcohol abuse problem drinks at meals, drinks in between meals, and may have a drink at any time of the day.

They also drink alone more than they drink with other people. Not only this, they may claim that they simply can’t function unless they have a drink. It’s also common for people with an alcohol use disorder to not stop at one drink.

3. Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms

It is not uncommon for a person with an alcohol abuse problem to experience withdrawal symptoms when they don’t have a drink.

Indeed, some people drink so they won’t experience these symptoms. More than 200,000 people experience the discomfort of alcohol withdrawal every year.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be mild or severe and include:

  • trembling hands
  • anxiety
  • nausea and vomiting
  • sweating
  • headache
  • insomnia

If withdrawal is severe, the person may also experience hallucinations and seizures.

4. Hangovers In The Morning

Another sign of alcohol abuse is if the person has a hangover nearly every morning, even to the point where they have to stay home from school or work.

Hangovers happen because too much alcohol in the system makes you dehydrated, sets up an inflammatory response in the body, causes blood sugar levels to crash, irritates the stomach, dilates the blood vessels, and causes the quality of sleep to deteriorate.

Alcohol itself produces toxins. This all leads to symptoms such as:

  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • headache
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • photophobia (heightened light sensitivity)

5. Inappropriate Behavior

Besides the loosening of inhibitions that comes with being intoxicated, people who drink too much can neglect their obligations toward other people.

This includes a spouse, a friend, an employer, a co-worker, or a child. They may stay home from work or prefer drinking over their responsibilities.

They may have problems with money, lie about their drinking, or sneak drinks at school or at work.

They may lash out when you question them about how much they drink, which makes it hard to know what to do if your loved one is drinking too much.

A person with an alcohol abuse problem even neglects their responsibilities toward themselves as they often neglect their hygiene and their nutrition.

Can Drinking Too Much Lead To Alcoholism?

Drinking too much can indeed lead to alcoholism. Alcohol is a drug, and after a while a person can build up a tolerance that can lead to dependence and addiction.

Tolerance means that the person has been drinking long enough that they need to drink more alcohol to give them the same effect that they experienced the first few times.

Dependence happens when the person has withdrawal symptoms when they haven’t had their drink, and addiction means they cannot stop drinking even if they suffer bad consequences.

Long-Term Risks Of Drinking Too Much

Alcoholism comes with its own set of risks. These can include damage to the brain, the biliary system, and the cardiovascular system.

People who drink excessively can suffer from cirrhosis of the liver, inflammation of the pancreas, and high blood pressure.

They are more at risk for certain cancers, including primary cancers of the liver, throat, mouth, and esophagus.

They’re also more at risk for mental disorders, domestic violence, homicide, and suicide. Pregnant women who suffer from alcoholism put their babies at risk of fetal alcohol syndrome and sudden infant death syndrome.

What To Do If Your Loved One Is Drinking Too Much

Having a drink now and then isn’t necessarily harmful for most people. Indeed, there may be some health benefits to having a glass of wine occasionally.

But heavy drinking that leads to alcohol abuse can lead to addiction, withdrawal for which symptoms can be excruciating and/or dangerous, and damage to both the mind and the body.

This damage can be the result of abuse of alcohol or can come as a result of the person’s reflexes and mental state being impaired.

If you believe you or someone close to you may be drinking too much, contact one our treatment specialists today.

This page does not provide medical advice.
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Tim Sonnet

Medically reviewed by

Tim Sinnott, MFT

September 20, 2019

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