Alcohol Addiction: Signs and Symptoms You Should Recognize

Moderate use or intake of alcohol is not bad or harmful. However, as with most things, excessive alcohol intake can be dangerous — even deadly. What’s even more dangerous is constant alcohol abuse. According to reports, more than 18 million adults in America have alcohol addiction or alcoholism, which is defined as the intake of alcohol results to health problems.

Alcohol dependence can be hard to distinguish. Who can anyone say if one’s intake of alcohol is already excessive? But there are warning signs that can easily help you determine if you or someone you love already suffering from alcohol addiction.

How it affects your life

If someone’s intake of alcohol already interferes with your life, it’s mostly time to consider your consumption. Alcoholism can be often identified in a person if the person’s life is already adversely affected by the abuse. This is true for most kinds of addiction.

Problems may begin if someone uses alcohol as a way to relax or to self-soothe. If the person starts having problems relaxing or self-soothing without alcohol, it may already be a problem. Take note that those who abuse alcohol are not necessarily alcoholics — or at least not at first. However, substance abuse, coupled with a stressful or traumatic event in one’s life, can trigger alcoholism.

Perhaps the biggest warning sign is when alcohol is already affecting someone’s life adversely. This would include alcohol being the cause of employment, legal or relationship problems. Alcohol can also cause people to put themselves in danger. When a person has already put himself in harm’s way due to alcohol — whether due to effects of intoxication or to the direct physical effects of the substance — then one’s alcohol intake is already a problem that should be addressed immediately.

Physical effects

Beyond the effects of too much alcohol in one’s life, alcohol addiction will most likely manifest in a person’s body. Normally, this manifests through withdrawal — define as a series of symptoms that happen due to sudden decrease of alcohol.

Signs of alcohol withdrawal include anxiety, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, insomnia, sweating, irritability, and even depression. These signs can be hard to spot in a person, especially since an alcohol abuser is usually in denial of his situation. Therefore, increase in intake of alcohol and sudden changes in one’s lifestyle can be considered as red flags.

Other signs include a person being unable to quit drinking alcohol, giving up other activities and jobs because of alcohol, and losing control over alcohol intake.

Perhaps the trickiest sign is when a person seems to be able to function better with alcohol. This means the body has become dependent on alcohol.

One theory is that alcoholism has three stages: adaptive, which means the person does not feel the negative symptoms; dependent, which means the symptoms are slowly building up; and deterioration, which means the body is already feeling the adverse effects of alcohol abuse.

All these signs could mean a person is already addicted to alcohol. Alcoholism is major health concern that could lead to bigger problems. There are many ways to cure alcohol addiction, but the first step is to recognize that there is a problem.

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