How do you know if you’re a casual drinker or an alcoholic? Health experts reveal…

*** FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE *** Ferne McCann attends the Lidl Chateux Noir VIP Launch. Celebrities including Sam Faiers, Ferne McCann and Vanessa Bauer attended the launch of Lidl’s hugely anticipated ‘Wine Tasting in the Dark’ pop-up, Lidl Chateaux Noir, in London’s Soho. Guests put their palates to the test, and were the first to experience a blind wine tasting journey hosted by Master of Wine Richard Bampfield. The nationwide touring pop-up will help guests learn to identify quality wines in the dark, and will visit London, Manchester and Glasgow during the festive season.

Healthcare professionals have growing concerns about the increased alcohol consumption amongst problem drinkers. In fact, the NHS research has found that there could be an additional 1,830 alcohol-related deaths within two decades.

With this in mind, specialist experts from Private Rehab Clinic Delamere have compiled a list of common signs and symptoms that individuals worried about either their own drinking habits or those of a loved one can look out for.

Regularly looking for an excuse to drink
One of the early signs that could indicate alcoholism is if someone is constantly looking for an excuse to have a drink at random times of the week. For example, if someone is justifying heavy and frequent drinking because they are having a stressful time at work or at home, then it could be a bad sign that they are using alcohol to deal with challenging situations in their lives. This also applies to someone simply drinking once their daily duties are complete or between appointments during work.

Hidden alcohol
If you find bottles of alcohol hidden in random places, maybe in the garage, the car or the office – this could be a sign that someone has a problem with alcohol and is trying to hide their addiction. Before trying to move the hidden alcohol, you should speak to the person hiding it, calmly and encourage help.

Being defensive and denying their alcoholism
When challenged on their problem, those suffering with alcoholism might become defensive and try to deny their problems. This is the addiction affecting the person’s brain, convincing themselves that they don’t have a problem despite their dependency.

Always drinking at social events
Whilst drinking is mostly seen as normal at certain social events, someone going over the top could be a sign of a problem. Another thing to consider at social events is ‘pre-loading’, drinking before the event to make them more confident and make it more bearable. If you think someone is already intoxicated at the early stages of the event, it could be a sign.

Changed character whilst intoxicated
If someone is intoxicated and they become angry, erratic, spontaneous or have a changed character completely, it could be a sign they’re struggling. Alcohol can impair your ability to accurately assess a physical or emotional threat, meaning that you may become overly upset at something someone says or feel as if you are being attacked when that is not the case. This effect can cause you to become paranoid as well, making it feel as if everyone is out to get you.