‘High functioning alcoholic’ is a term that is often used to describe an individual who is battling alcoholism, but who is still able to function in everyday life. At times, when social drinkers hear this term, they begin to examine their alcohol consumption with the goal of seeing if they actually fall under the category of an alcoholic.
Something that is very clear is that there are different characteristics between a person who drinks socially and a person who has a problem with drinking or who is an alcoholic. The following are six warning signs that weekend drinking has slid toward alcoholism.
An Inability to Control Alcohol Intake after Starting to Drink
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says that low risk drinkers will have no more than seven drinks per week and three drinks per sitting if they are female, and 14 drinks a week and four drinks per day if they are male. Alcoholics on the other hand have a hard time controlling their drink intake. Once they start, they will continue to drink until the alcohol runs out, or until they pass out or fall asleep.
Behavior That Is Uncharacteristically Erratic
Excessive alcohol consumption will have an impact on anyone’s behavior. According to the British Journal of Pharmacology, alcohol’s biggest impact comes from its ability to affect a person’s inhibition tendencies. It prevents a person from being able to judge or to see the correlation between their behavior and consequences. When a person is an alcoholic, the effects are even more pronounced. While sober, they may be a friendly, happy individual. However, while under alcohol’s influence, they may become violent and aggressive.
Obsessing about Alcohol
A sign that weekend drinking has morphed into alcoholism is when concern about having alcohol starts to affect a person’s life. They may worry if they have enough alcohol for the evening or for the weekend. Their obsession may lead them to hide alcohol throughout the home or purchase alcohol in different stores so that others do not know how much alcohol they are consuming. They may also try to sneak extra drinks at social events.
Engaging in Risky Behaviors Such As Driving While Drunk
Alcoholism has been defined as a dependence on alcohol at a high level of consumption. For this reason, it interferes with the physical health, mental health, and social responsibilities of an individual. An alcoholic will continue to drink despite the problems that their alcohol-related behavior brings. It is not uncommon to see alcoholics repetitively engage in risky behavior such as driving while under alcohol’s influence, engaging in risky sexual behavior, or performing stunts that put their life in danger.
When a person chooses to repeatedly get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated, they run the risk of being arrested. All 50 states have strong laws against driving while drunk. However, very few states have laws that are as stringent as those in Texas. If a person is arrested for a DWI in Texas and they do not have a good DWI attorney, they can find themselves facing serious jail time and fines.
An individual who engages in an occasional weekend of drinking may regret it later because they become dehydrated and may have a severe hangover. An individual who has become an alcoholic will face other symptoms that are associated with withdrawal. These symptoms would include things like shakiness, anxiety, hallucinations, nausea and vomiting when they go a period of time without drinking alcohol.
When a person makes a pattern of overindulging in alcohol, their body begins to build up a tolerance. As a result, they need to drink more alcohol in order to get drunk.
Alcoholism is not something that should be taken lightly. If a person feels that their weekend drinking has morphed into something more serious, they should take immediate steps to get help.