There are many signs associated with alcoholism. What begins as a social drinking habit a few nights a week could lead to dangerous and harmful behaviour. Noticing the early signs of a problem can help in stemming the prevalence of alcohol problems affecting many Americans.
The signs of alcoholism often appear over time. Those affected with alcoholism start showing signs of a pattern of drinking and build a high tolerance for alcohol that requires them to drink more in order to feel the desired effect.
These symptoms combined with the frequency of “blackouts” (where the person does not remember certain facts or events due to excessive drinking) and participating in dangerous behaviour out of the person’s normal demeanour could be early signs of a problem with alcohol.
If this pattern continues, and the person maintains or increases their level of drinking, it is a sign of alcoholism. Especially if the drinking continues, even though it is causing problems in one’s life. The signs of alcoholism are commonly associated with several different factors. Excessive use is one of the signs, where large quantities are consumed without recognition. Similarly, persistence of use is a troubling sign. People who continue to drink even though it causes physical and psychological problems are also at risk.
Further, the disregard of activities of importance either via work, family or recreational due to alcohol use can be a clear sign of a problem. Significant time spent in alcohol-associated events or places can also be an issue.
Signs of alcoholism can also include the consistency of alcohol withdrawal. If one is often sick, nauseous, shaky or irritated when the drinking has stopped that can be cause for concern. In addition, high tolerance levels can be a sign of alcoholism. The recurrence of needing a drink to face the day, get through the day or fall asleep is also a sign of alcoholism.
Many affected with alcoholism feel guilty about their drinking. They have friends, family and loved ones who worry and express concern about the issue. They may have also sought support through peer groups or counselling, and have tried time and time again unsuccessfully to stop drinking. They also may hide alcohol from their families or employers, or need a drink to get through the day. Further, they may even drink during inappropriate times, for instance while driving or caring for children.
When signs of alcoholism get to this point, a physical dependence on the substance has been established and an intervention and treatment may be necessary. A physical dependence has been developed when the person craves alcohol and has lost control of their drinking. This is a chronic issue that can have severe physical and mental consequences.
The signs of alcoholism and a physical dependence on alcoholism can sometimes not be apparent to medical personnel. Patients are often reluctant to tell the truth about their drinking habits, shadowing a problem that likely requires professional care.
If you or a person you know is showing signs of alcoholism, there are self-assessment tests available and diagnostic testing available through medical professionals. Most people showing signs of alcoholism are in denial about their problems. Denying a dependence on alcohol can only exacerbate and lengthen the risky behaviour.
If you are demonstrating signs of alcoholism, it is recommended you are honest with yourself on any self-diagnostic test and when discussing the issue with your doctor.
Remember, signs of alcoholism can emerge over time and may not be apparent immediately. Patterns of drinking, changes in behaviour, the amount of drinking and negative changes in lifestyle are signs of alcoholism that should be addressed.