Can You Recognize the Symptoms of Alcoholism

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Diagnosing the symptoms of alcoholism is difficult, and one that is complicated by emotions. It’s difficult to see loved one suffer from alcoholism, especially when their habits are long standing. The behaviors of the alcohol abuser can become so intrinsic a part of their personality that it’s difficult to tell where the symptoms leave off and the person begins. Many people feel like alcohol abuse and alcoholism take over their body.

The Many Symptoms of Alcoholism

Alcoholics may exhibit various symptoms based on their personal history, their frequency and duration of use. The line between drinking socially and a drinking problem may be a thin one and people can cross it without even realizing it. However, people who experience three or more of these symptoms within the space of a year may be struggling with alcohol problems:

-The inability to regulate intake of alcohol or to stop drinking
-Drinking increasingly larger amounts of alcohol in order to achieve a similar effect
-Abandoning hobbies and responsibilities in order to drink
-Continuing to drink even when it causes problems at work and home
-Becoming anxious, sweaty and nauseated when drinking ceases
-Actively hiding drinking from friends and loved ones
-Suffering from periodic blackouts, during which the individual is unable to recall events
-An inordinate amount of time is spent either drinking or recovering from a drinking binge
-Trying, and failing, to quit drinking
-Friends and family express concern and anxiety in relationship to the individual’s drinking

The symptoms of alcoholism vary from one individual to the next. Some will never experience blackouts while they may become a common occurrence for others. The important symptom of alcoholism is that the alcohol use takes priority in a persons life even in the face of negative consequences. Those who are relying on alcohol to assist them to perform the daily functions of their life or feel somehow physically compelled to ingest alcohol, have crossed the line into alcoholism.
It’s common for the alcoholic to vastly underestimate the frequency or amount of alcohol they drink. They may be in denial of the negative consequences of their habit, and they may complain about the concerns of their friends and family.

Helping Address the Symptoms of Alcoholism in a Loved One

Although it is difficult to watch a loved one suffer with alcoholism, you cannot make the decision for someone else to seek treatment. You may long to help the alcoholic recover, but are unsure what steps to take. Educate yourself on alcoholism and alcohol abuse, and seek a community support group or individual therapy for yourself. These resources can offer comfort and strength in a difficult time and can teach you how to cope, recognize and support your loved one. It can be painful for the alcoholic and for their family members to admit that they are dealing with the symptoms of alcoholism, but it is not something they need to endure alone.

Recovery from alcoholism is an ongoing process. With treatment, support, education and love it is possible to live a meaningful life in recovery.