Dealing with alcoholism can be challenging, not just for the person experiencing it but also for those around them. Thus, getting to know the signs of alcoholism can be the first step toward seeking help and recovery.
What is alcoholism?
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcoholism, also known as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), is a chronic disease characterized by an inability to control or stop drinking despite its harmful consequences.
Medically speaking, alcoholism is a treatable condition, and with the right support, recovery is entirely possible.
The Signs of Alcoholism
Increased Quantity or Frequency of Use
One of the early signs of alcoholism is an increase in the quantity or frequency of alcohol use.
You may notice that you’re drinking more often or that you need more alcohol to achieve the desired effects.
Are you missing work, school, or personal obligations due to your drinking?
Neglecting responsibilities is a common sign of alcoholism.
It occurs when alcohol consumption takes precedence over all other activities.
Difficulty in Controlling Alcohol Use
A hallmark sign of alcoholism is difficulty in controlling alcohol use.
This can manifest as unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control drinking.
Withdrawal symptoms when not drinking are a significant sign of alcoholism.
These can include shaking, sweating, nausea, a racing heart, insomnia, and restlessness.
Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences
Continuing to drink despite recurrent problems is another sign of alcoholism.
This can include persisting with alcohol use even when it’s causing health problems or damage to personal relationships with your family or friends.
When to Seek Help
If you’re exhibiting any of these signs of alcoholism, it’s essential to seek professional help.
Therapists, counselors, and healthcare providers can provide you with the necessary support and tools to cope with and overcome alcoholism.
Frequently Asked Questions
The difference lies in the impact on a person’s life.
Regular alcohol consumption doesn’t interfere with a person’s responsibilities and doesn’t lead to physical dependence.
In contrast, alcoholism often leads to neglect of responsibilities, increased frequency or quantity of use, difficulty in controlling alcohol use, and withdrawal symptoms.
Some physical signs include increased tolerance to alcohol (the need to drink more to feel the same effects), changes in sleep patterns, unexplained injuries, experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, and a general decline in physical appearance and personal hygiene.
Yes, prolonged alcohol abuse can lead to numerous health issues, including digestive issues, diabetes complications, liver disease, heart problems, sexual health problems, eye problems, neurological complications, as well as an increased risk of cancer.
Alcoholism is a serious condition and usually requires professional help for effective treatment.
Withdrawal from severe alcohol dependence can be life-threatening.
Support from trained professionals, medications, and counseling can greatly enhance recovery outcomes.