The #1 Sign of Alcohol Abuse
For decades on end, alcohol has held the number one ranking as the most commonly abused substance of all. While different degrees of alcohol consumption do exist, alcohol abuse behaviors tend to bring about certain undesirable results. Regardless of the severity of the condition, the number one sign of alcohol abuse becomes most apparent inside a drinker’s everyday affairs.
Whether a person abuses alcohol on a frequent basis or qualifies as a full-blown alcoholic, the diagnosis of alcohol abuse disorder still applies. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, an estimated 17 million Americans show signs of alcohol abuse disorder within any given year.
People who continue to drink in spite of the negative consequences of their behavior have crossed over from casual consumption to an abuse disorder. As the number one sign of alcohol abuse, this lifestyle carries its own set of symptoms that affect a person’s life on multiple levels.
Once drinking behaviors become harmful to the drinker or others, an alcohol abuse disorder is at work. The inability to stop or reduce alcohol intake amounts in spite of resulting negative consequences indicates alcohol’s effects have taken over a person’s ability to exercise good judgment and reason.
Signs of alcohol abuse typically take the form of –
- Relationship conflicts
- Problems with work performance
- Engaging in risky behaviors while under the influence
- Legal problems
- Financial problems
In effect, these signs of alcohol abuse become a pattern of behavior that continues on a long-term basis.
Diminished Decision-Making Capacity
Alcohol acts as a central nervous system depressant, slowing down most every major process in the body. When ingested, alcohol causes excess amounts of neurotransmitter chemicals to be secreted in the brain. Over time, this process throws off normal chemical levels causing widespread dysfunction in various brain regions.
These chemical imbalances eventually disrupt the cognitive centers in the brain, thereby impairing a person’s decision-making abilities. This sign of alcohol abuse results from the deteriorating effects of alcohol on central nervous system functions.
Alcohol abuse disorders become progressively worse over time. With continued use, the brain becomes less and less sensitive to alcohol’s effects. In order to experience the same effects, drinkers must consume larger amounts of alcohol on an ongoing basis.
This process eventually leads to binge drinking behaviors, which only work to further impair a person’s judgment. This means a person’s disregard for negative consequences will have increasingly damaging effects in his or her life. At this point, signs of alcohol abuse become glaringly apparent in a person’s life.
As the number one sign of alcohol abuse, a disregard for negative consequences can develop at any point within a person’s drinking “lifestyle.” This means, mild drinkers as well as chronic drinkers can start to show a disregard for their drinking behaviors.
According to the U. S. Department of Health & Human Services, risk factors that make a person more susceptible to alcohol abuse include –
- A family history of alcoholism or substance abuse
- A past history of substance abuse
- Physical or sexual abuse experiences in childhood
- Depression episodes
As alcohol abuse disorders evolve into progressive medical conditions, a person’s quality of life will only continue to get worse without needed treatment help.