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Identifying an Alcoholic

Sometimes alcoholics are easy to spot. But, there are many that appear normal at first glance. Maybe you've had suspicions about certain individuals, but have you ever considered that maybe a loved one is an alcoholic? Unfortunately, their addiction can affect the whole community through the reality of drunk driving and it is important to watch for warning signs in your loved ones.

National Problem

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive alcohol consumption causes 88,000 deaths per year. Also, 1 of 10 individuals between 20 and 64 will die from heavy alcohol consumption.

Dangers of Drinking and Driving

The state of Texas also holds a nationally high ranking in the intensity of alcohol consumed by a binge drinker in a single sitting, with an average of 7.5-8.8 drinks. This partially explains why Texas had the country's highest number of drunk driving deaths in 2013, reaching 1,337 victims. That same year, Texas had 25,479 alcohol related accidents, resulting in 15,687 injuries. A lot of the time, people chalk it up to someone out drinking and doing the unthinkable. But, many of these people potentially have an alcohol dependency, and should have been treating it as a disease by seeking treatment for their behavior. Many people do the foolish thing and get behind the wheel after a couple drinks, despite knowing the high risk they pose to themselves and others. This behavior is inexcusable, and needs to be addressed.

Is Your Loved One An Alcoholic?

The key in lowering these alcohol fatalities is to recognize people as alcoholics before they get behind the wheel. Perhaps if we can learn to spot these people, we can not only stop them from getting behind the wheel, but convince them to seek treatment. This may be hard, especially if it means confronting a loved one, or even confronting yourself. So how do you spot an alcoholic? Besides the obvious signs, here are 5 signs to help you identify someone with an alcohol addiction.

  1. High Alcohol Tolerance: Ever notice that one friend that needs to drink twice as much in order to achieve the same result as everyone else? This comes from a lot of drinking, and building an alcohol tolerance. When you frequently consume a great deal of alcohol, the liver needs to adapt in order to break down the high amount of alcohol. The liver becomes faster at breaking down alcohol, which is why heavy drinkers need to consume more in order to achieve the same result as a less frequent drinker. So, if you see a friend bragging that they have a high tolerance for alcohol, take it as a possible warning sign.
  2. Secret Booze: Do you have a coworker that sneaks off to the bathroom with a beer in his/her backpack? Or a friend that shows up to a kid's birthday party and just happens to have a flask out of concern that no alcohol would be provided? Chances are this person has an alcohol dependency. Hiding alcohol is a sign of alcoholism, because there is a need for alcohol in situations that don't usually call for it. Even a family member that sneaks off to chug some more shows that they hide their alcohol because they know what they are doing is not normal. Hiding alcohol is a definite warning sign that there is already a problem, or that there soon will be one.
  3. Frequently Drinking to Cope: It is perfectly normal to get home after a bad day and need a glass of wine. But when this becomes a daily recurrence, and that one glass of wine turns into a bottle a night, then you have a problem. Drinking to deal with the highs and lows of life should come with warning signs. Many people that have an alcohol addiction start off small, like everyone else. But when you begin to constantly drink to cope with life, it can escalate. If you or a loved one needs a drink to release from stress, depression, anxiety, then there could definitely be a problem. Since drinking only gives you a temporary high, a reliance on that feeling could only lead you down a dangerous path where you feel you need that alcohol to feel relaxed or any sort of relief.
  4. Losing a Grasp on Reality: Do you know someone that drinks so much that they lose grasp on reality? They neglect their work responsibilities, flake on most plans, but always manage to still show up to party? And then, they drink until they black out, and you frequently have to remind them what happened the night before? Also, they are basically useless when it comes to getting things done, and seem to lose sight of what's important. If alcohol impacts day to day functions, then that is a serious sign of concern. It is a very different thing to have one crazy night out and have one day of being lazy and hungover. If you know someone that is in a constant state of drinking and being lazy, then that is a big warning sign.
  5. Erratic Behavior: Do you know someone that could go from being the life of the party, to the reason the party had to end? A person who will be doing keg stands and shot gunning beer, to yelling at someone in the middle of the bar? Frequent mood swings and emotional rollercoasters come with alcoholism. You can have someone act loving and fine one day, and then be distant and irritable the next. Managing alcohol intake is stressful and rocky for people with an alcohol dependency, and a big sign of a problem is someone that constantly drinks, and experiences severe personality alterations on a day to day basis. This is what also can lead to dangerous behavior such as fighting in a bar or driving home drunk. Sometimes we have nights where we drink too much and can be a little too much for people to handle. But if this happens frequently, and you have a friend that is constantly a terrible drunk, then you should definitely be concerned.

If you have read all of these signs, chances are a specific face keeps popping into your head. Alcoholism is so common, that it would be surprising if you couldn't picture a single person. If you have a loved one that comes to mind, it may be time to sit them down and talk about it. If you don't feel like you are the right person to start this discussion, consider checking out an Alcoholics Anonymous near you. Even if you are not the one with the problem, someone could help you find the best way to talk to your loved one and give you much needed advice.

Prevent Drunk Driving Crashes and Accidents

Reaching out to your loved one could save their life, and others'. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MAAD) 3 of 10 Americans will be involved in a drunk driving accident in their lifetime. Every one of the 25,579 drunk driving accidents that occurred in Texas last year could have been prevented by not allowing drunk drivers to get behind the wheel.

Why Choose Hoestenbach Law Firm for Injuries Casued by a Drunk Driver

Rhett Hoestenbach has over 20 years of experience in Personal Injury law. His team works tirelessly to find the best result for every case, and understands the attention your case needs after a drunk driving accident.

Contact the Hoestenbach Law Firm After Your Drunk Driving Crash

Call Hoestenbach Law Firm today for a free consultation.

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