Whilst alcohol is a legal substance, which has been accepted as a strong part of our culture here in the UK, it’s also a highly addictive and dangerous drug. There’s a fine line between normalised consumption and abuse, showing how impactful alcohol can be as a drug of choice.

Found to cause severe symptoms, consequences and damages, alcoholism is one of the most diagnosed habitual conditions. Linked to poor wellbeing and mental health, financial worries, and chronic behavioural changes, alcohol abuse can quickly escalate into addiction and further co-occurring disorders.

Requiring professional support and treatment to overcome alcoholism, recovery can be aimed for, yet must be a committed and thorough process.

Due to its potential to impact all types of people, from various backgrounds, being aware of alcoholism, its signs and how to recover from its grasp is very important. Here’s some insight into the symptoms of alcohol abuse and steps to start recovery, possible to begin here at Ocean Recovery.


The severity of alcohol abuse

Binge drinking is rife here in the UK. Whilst for most people, drinking habits can be controlled and will carry little impact, apart from a hangover, for some, alcohol abuse is an outcome. Alcohol abuse is mostly linked to physical cravings, urges and associations. It differs from an addiction, as psychological impacts are usually mild or absent. Yet due to high alcohol consumption, it’s still a dangerous habit to have.

Alcohol abuse can amount to an addiction. Where rewarding and positive effects are felt through consumption, actions can become habitual, driven by both the brain and body. Addiction is also serious, classed as a brain disorder, requiring treatment, significant change, and full withdrawal from alcohol.

As abuse and addiction are unpredictable and non-biased conditions, alcoholism can arise as a problem for anyone. Knowing the symptoms of alcohol abuse and steps to start recovery are very important, helping to reduce the severity of drinking habits for many.


What are the symptoms of alcohol addiction?

Alcohol abuse can transpire in many different ways. It’s mostly displayed through physical and psychological signs, along with changes to social and behavioural actions, responses, and choices.

Physical symptoms

  • Hangover-like symptoms
  • Withdrawal symptoms in between consumption
  • A physical tolerance to alcohol, influencing greater measures/frequent consumption
  • Slow reactions and responses
  • Problems with speech, movement, and memory
  • Weight problems
  • Liver problems
  • Problems with balance
  • Signs of illness, malnourishment and/or poor hygiene


Psychological symptoms

  • Poor mental health
  • Symptoms of depression, anxiety, or panic
  • Memory problems
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Irrational thinking
  • Poor communication
  • Focusing on consumption


Social symptoms

  • Isolated behaviours
  • A lack of interest in hobbies, responsibilities, or relationships
  • Changes to social groups and involvement
  • Secretive behaviour
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • A change in personality
  • Prioritising consumption over other responsibilities/plans
  • Disengaging from the day to day


Behavioural symptoms

  • The inability to stop drinking
  • Poor performance in work or school
  • Mood swings
  • Failed attempts of withdrawal
  • Alcohol-driven decisions
  • Risky behaviours
  • Negligent
  • The use of negative coping strategies
  • Living in denial
  • Hiding behaviours


Realistically, some of the above will also reflect the signs and symptoms of stress, further health conditions or everyday problems. Yet where a number of changes are displayed, paired with consistent alcohol consumption, abuse or even addiction can be present.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of alcohol abuse, professional help will be beneficial. A clinical diagnosis can be made, to understand the severity of your alcohol problems, along with paving the way towards recovery.


How to stop drinking and start recovery

To start recovery, alcohol consumption must be stopped. Whilst this is an easier said than done situation, treatments are in place to promote withdrawal. Alcohol detox will be recommended, best completed through a medical process. Stopping consumption and cutting off exposure will be possible, which will start the recovery process. Although withdrawal symptoms will be experienced, through alcohol rehab, comfortable and safe treatments will be offered.

To break the psychological association with alcohol, which mostly drives consumption once the cravings reduce, additional treatments and therapies will be recommended. Recovering from alcoholism can be a lengthy process, requiring professional intervention, self-help, and personal changes. Yet starting with the best support possible will offer a strong platform to recover from.

Steps to start recovery should include planning, full awareness, and commitment. Before you withdraw, goal setting will be required, along with selecting a treatment clinic and programme to invest in. Recovery expectations should be developed, along with finding an experience that will deliver your needs. Even if your symptoms are mild, planning must take place to overcome alcohol abuse.

Once you’re prepared, withdrawal can begin through your chosen rehab, helping you recover from alcohol abuse/alcoholism.


Treatment options for alcoholism

Addiction treatment will be essential to recovering from any level of association. Quitting alcohol will be possible through a comprehensive process, full of proven treatments and therapies.

Detoxification will be necessary, to remove alcohol from the picture, whilst also suppressing any symptoms. Therapy will also be recommended to understand the motive behind consumption, to process feelings and responses, and to work through the behavioural/social changes of addiction.

As alcoholism is a relapsing condition, recovery efforts should focus on planning, such as relapse prevention and lifestyle management. With a plan in place and a balanced routine to follow, alcohol abuse will have less appeal in the future.

Due to how alcohol impacts the brain, treatment should focus on unlearning and readjusting emotional and psychological processes. Changing habits, outlooks and coping strategies will motivate recovery.

To reach a point of sobriety, the steps to start recovery as a fully committed process must be worked through. We can help you here at Ocean Recovery, by offering a diagnosis, followed by guidance with your pre-rehab preparations. With a strong start, alcohol abuse can be treated and managed through a fulfilling life.

Reach out for our support or for a plan to spot the symptoms of alcohol abuse and steps to start recovery.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: June 12, 2024

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.