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Alcohol abuse is serious, so if a loved one is drinking too much, then you want to recognize the problem as soon as you can. To the untrained eye, many of the symptoms of alcohol abuse can be written off or overlooked. According to the Center for Disease Control, excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for about 10% of deaths of working-age people in the United States. Alcohol abuse is extremely common, and you likely know someone who is struggling with alcohol addiction. If you want your loved ones to be healthy and safe, then check out these common signs of alcohol abuse so that you can reach them before it’s too late.

Poor Memory


Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to blackouts and seriously affect a person’s memory. While it’s normal to forget things once and awhile, if your loved one constantly forgets conversations and encounters, then that’s a sign that they may be abusing alcohol. Memory loss is a big deal and may be caused by neurological problems that have nothing to do with alcohol consumption. With that in mind, even if you believe that someone’s memory loss is related to alcohol use, you should urge them to see a doctor immediately.

Unstable Mood


Mood swings are a common sign of any addiction, and since alcohol is such a highly addictive substance, these symptoms tend to be very noticeable. When people drink, they feel less inhibited, and their emotions are less restrained. An innocent comment might be taken as a grave insult by an intoxicated person. Like most of the entries on this list, mood swings may be a symptom of another problem, but if you notice mood swings alongside some of the other telltale signs, then it’s likely a case of alcohol abuse.

High Tolerance


The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse notes that regular drinkers develop a metabolic and psychological tolerance to alcohol’s effects. This means that as someone drinks more and more regularly, they will need to consume a higher quantity of alcohol to feel and exhibit many of the same effects. In social settings, alcoholics can usually be seen consuming more than other drinkers, and they may be more inclined to choose drinks with a high alcohol percentage.

Unfulfilled Obligations


At a certain point, many alcoholics start to value alcohol more than their regular duties and obligations. If your friend is constantly missing work, then he may be hungover, or he could be using that time to drink. Regular alcohol use warps a person’s judgment and makes it difficult to think of long term consequences, so individuals suffering from alcohol addiction are more likely to miss important events, skip work, and avoid making solid plans.

Making Excuses


People who abuse alcohol often justify their behavior in several ways. They may say that they deserve to get drunk after their shift because they worked so hard. They could claim that since it’s the weekend, there is no reason not to drink. These justifications are fine once in a while, but if someone is constantly making excuses for their drinking habits, then they probably have a problem.



While some alcoholics may not fully realize the extent of their drinking problem, many realize that they are drinking a quantity that would be considered unacceptable by the people around them, so they may try to hide their consumption. This behavior is rooted in feelings of shame and the desire to avoid the social stigma of regularly consuming alcohol. An alcoholic is more likely to hide drinks in strange places like in a purse, in the bathroom cabinets, under the seats in their car, and so on.

Deteriorating Relationships


When drinking becomes an important part of someone’s life, it’s hard for them to balance their habit with relationships and social obligations. Friends, family, and romantic partners may be alienated by a person’s drinking habits, and regular misuse can lead to a lot of social friction. If you’ve noticed that someone close to you has recently lost friends or ended a relationship, then you should look out for other signs of alcohol misuse

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