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Alcoholism Signs and Symptoms

Know the Indicators

Are you worried that you, or someone you care about, may be an alcohol addict? Are you wondering how you would know? Determining the nature of alcohol dependence isn’t easy. Ultimately, it’s best judged by professionals. However, knowing the basic signs and symptoms of alcoholism can provide you with reliable guide posts as you work to understand the issues facing you.

Sorting the Symptoms

  • How to gauge alcohol consumption.
  • Evaluating drinking habits.
  • Binge drinking counts, too.
  • Behavioral indicators of alcohol dependence.

How Much Is Too Much?

A safe level of drinking is usually estimated at one drink on any day for women, two for men, with a preference for fewer days regularly drinking over many. The definition of “a drink” is hazy, and can range from a single low-proof beer to a shot of high-proof hard liquor. The point of infrequency is to establish a lack of compulsion to drink. To be comfortable drinking little, and irregularly, is a strong sign that a person is not addicted.

Drinking Habits

As indicated above, the concern with alcohol involves how often it’s used, how compelling the need to drink, and how often alcohol is abused, used to become drunk, and to what extreme. These questions can be explored many ways. One of the most basic is to examine daily habits. Do you, or does someone you know drink daily? Does this drinking exceed a single drink? Do you or your associate experience distress, tension, strong disappointment or discomfort when something interferes with the occasions of regular drinking? These are all grounds for suspecting an alcohol addiction.

About Binge Drinking

There are many forms of binge drinking, but all are indicators of alcoholism. Whether this drinking is social drinking used to relax inhibitions, or the drinking occurs in response to fear, stress, depression, frustration, or other negative elements, inebriation is often being used to artificially alter a person’s mood or ability to function – self-medication with alcohol is indicated. If there’s a strong habitual response or a strong urge to use alcohol in stressful or socially demanding situations you must question whether the body itself has come to expect the chemical supplement alcohol.

Behavioral Patterns

Establishing behavioral patterns for alcoholism can help provide you with means to determine if you or someone you know may be subject to alcohol addiction. Some issues are specific to alcohol, others to addiction in general.

Alcohol reduces reflexive precision, and coordination. It reduces inhibition, and can lead to mood swings, depression, excitation, compulsive behaviors, and violent reactions. Alcohol can reduce sexual inhibition while also reducing sexual ability to perform or climax. Decision making skills are reduced.
Addictive patterns are as intense. As addiction increases and alcohol must be consumed in greater volume and greater frequency to satisfy the compulsion, anything that interferes with an alcoholic’s access to his drug of choice can cause frustration, temper tantrums, depression, and irrational behavior as the addict attempts to satisfy the urge to drink. Alcoholics often begin to regress into dependent behaviors with those around them, putting pressure on friends, relatives and coworkers to enable them in their addiction, while at the same time blaming them for resisting or failing to cooperate. Rationalizations are commonplace, as the addict attempts to reconcile addictive behavior with a desire to remain respected and admired.

Treatment for Alcoholism

If you are still concerned that you or someone you love is alcoholic and in need of treatment, your next step is to find counseling. There are many ways to find an appropriate counselor or program to help see an addict through rehabilitation. Governmental agencies, including state and county departments of healthy or family services can often provide useful references for local practitioners and services. There are also referral services that specialize in matching clients with the best possible addiction and rehabilitation therapy.

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