Recognizing the Signs of Alcohol Addiction
It’s easy to
tell when a person has been drinking. Signs include slurred speech,
uncoordinated movements, lowered inhibitions, and alcohol breath. However, identifying a deeper
addiction may not be so black and white.
be able to hide many of the more obvious symptoms of addiction for a long
period of time. Too often the addicted person and the people around them choose
to ignore the addiction, or find themselves in a state of denial about the
realities of the alcohol addiction.
Warning Signs of Alcoholism
Pay attention to
the warning signs if you suspect that a friend or loved one is addicted to
alcohol. Certain behaviors may indicate that a person’s pattern of drinking is
the result of addiction.
unable to control how much you drink
unable to control when you drink
compelled or having uncontrollable cravings to drink
a “tolerance” to alcohol so that you need to consume increasingly larger
amounts of alcohol in order to experience the same effects
to drink in order to feel “normal” or “good”
alcohol in hidden places, such as at work, in your car, or in unusual places in
alone or in secret
if you can’t drink when you want to
to drink despite negative consequences in your personal or professional life
to drink over engaging in other activities and hobbies, including spending time
with friends and family
blackouts, or periods of time when you can’t remember what you did, where you
were, or who you were with
You may also
experience physical symptoms (known as “withdrawal”) when you’re unable to
drink. These symptoms are signs of a physical addiction, when your body feels
it’s unable to act and function as it should without the alcohol. These
What Is Alcohol Abuse?
Alcohol abuse is
different from alcoholism. People who abuse alcohol but are not physically
addicted may experience the same signs and symptoms as people who have
alcoholism. But people who abuse alcohol often don’t have the same cravings or
need to drink that a person with alcoholism does. Instead, a person who abuses
alcohol isn’t able to control their drinking when they do drink.
Alcohol abuse is
a less serious issue when compared with alcoholism. At the same time, it can
come with many health complications and can lead to alcoholism if it’s not
How Is Alcoholism Diagnosed?
There is no
simple diagnostic test to confirm an alcohol addiction. Rather, addiction is a
diagnosis of exclusion. When all behaviors and health problems are taken into
consideration, your doctor may determine that your drinking is in fact an addiction.
To reach a more
informed conclusion, some doctors use questionnaires to evaluate your
dependence on alcohol as well as your behavior when you consume it. Your family
members, colleagues, and friends may also be asked to answer similar questions.
They may be able to help your doctor understand the root of your problem as
well as any behaviors that trigger drinking. Knowing this will help your doctor
determine the best course of treatment for your specific situation.