[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS oF ALCOHOLISM” font_container=”tag:h1|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Alcoholism is much more than simply heavy drinking or problem drinking. Alcoholism involves all of the symptoms of alcohol abuse, but also includes another element: physical dependence on alcohol. If you rely on alcohol to function and/or if you experience physical compulsions for alcohol, you may be an alcoholic.
INCREASED TOLERANCE: THE FIRST MAJOR WARNING SIGN
Do you have to drink a lot more than you used to in order to feel the effects? Can you drink more than most people without getting drunk? These are signs of an increased tolerance, which can be an early warning sign of alcoholism. Tolerance means that, over time, you need more and more alcohol to feel the same effects you once did.
WITHDRAWAL: THE SECOND MAJOR WARNING SIGN
Do you need a drink to steady our nerves in the morning? Drinking to relieve or avoid symptoms of withdrawal is a sign of alcoholism and is a huge red flag. When you drink heavily, your body gets used to the alcohol and experiences withdrawal symptoms when the alcohol is taken away. Withdrawal symptoms can include:
In severe cases, alcohol withdrawal can also involve hallucinations, confusion, seizures, fever, and agitation. These symptoms can be quite dangerous, so input from a physician is strongly recommended.
OTHER SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- An inability to control your drinking. You often drink more alcohol than you really want to, for longer than you planned, or despite telling yourself you won’t do it this time.
- You want to quit drinking, but you just aren’t able to. In the back of your mind, you have this real desire to cut down or stop your alcohol use, but your efforts to quit have been unsuccessful.
- You have given up other activities as a result of alcohol consumption. You find yourself spending less time on activities that used to be important to you (spending time with family and friends, going to the gym, pursuing your hobbies) because they seem to get in the way of your drinking.
- Alcohol takes up an enormous amount of your energy and focus. You find yourself spending an extraordinary amount of time drinking, thinking about drinking, or recovering from the effects of your drinking. You have few, if any, interests or social involvements that don’t revolve around drinking.
- You drink despite the fact that it is causing problems in your life and the lives of others. For example, you recognize that your alcohol use is putting a major strain on your marriage, making your anxiety and depression worse, or causing physical problems, yet you continue to drink anyway.
Denial is one of the biggest obstacles for a substance abuser and can be one of the most difficult to surmount. Often, a person’s desire and compulsion to drink is so strong that their mind finds a way to rationalize drinking, even when the consequences are obvious and severe. By keeping you from looking honestly at your behaviour and its negative effects, denial also makes the problems around much worse.
Various forms of denial include:
- Drastically underestimating the amount you drink
- Minimizing the negative consequences of your drinking
- Complaining that family and friends are over reacting
- Blaming your drinking and problems on others
One example may be to blame an ‘unfair boss’ for the troubles you’re having at work or a ‘complaining wife’ for your marital issues, rather than looking at how the role your drinking is playing in these situations. While work, relationship, and financial issues do happen to everyone, an overall pattern of deterioration and blaming others are typically a sign that denial may be a factor.
If you find yourself justifying or minimizing your drinking habits, lying about them, or refusing to discuss the subject at all, take a moment to consider why you are so defensive. If you honestly believe you don’t have a problem, there should be no reason for you to cover up your drinking or make excuses for it.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]