Signs of Alcoholism: How to Recognise the
It's actually really scary to have to face the truth that there is a problem. As an alcoholic, you will generally do anything to avoid admitting you have a problem. DENIAL is the biggest obstacle in you starting on the road to recovery because until you admit and realise that there is something wrong, no one can help you.
If you're being honest, you'll know that you have at times bent the truth when it comes to how much you drink, when you drink, and the effects its had on your life. It's never been that bad in your mind.
If someone you love abuses alcohol, you'll either make excuses for them or rationalise that it isn't that bad ... or that things will change.
How often have you promised yourself that you'll change ... how many times has someone promised you that they'll cut down or stop?
Ultimately, alcoholism boils down to dependence and loss of control. When you become emotionally or physically dependent on alcohol, and you can no longer control your intake once you have that first drink, you meet the Definition of an Alcoholic.
But it does help to know what specific changes in behavior to look out for ... or specific signs that show a line is starting to be crossed. Because the sooner you recognise the symptoms ... the sooner something can be done.
- Preoccupation or Craving: Spending large amounts of time thinking about your next drink
- Increased Tolerance: Needing more to get the same effect
- Continued Use: Inability to reduce/stop your intake despite progressively damaging consequences
- Withdrawal Symptoms: Like the shakes or nausea and needing a drink just to get to 'normal' again
- Drink Alone: Often drink secretively to avoid getting caught drinking and to avoid suspicion
- Regular Blackouts
- Hide your Supply: Always have alcohol available, often on you, just 'in case' you need some
- Find an Excuse to Drink: You'll always be able to justify having a drink, e.g. 'I've had a bad day, I'm stressed out ... or any other 'creative' reason
- Failed Promises: Have promised on more than one occasion (even to yourself) that you'll cut down or quit without being able to
- Family and Friends Avoided: Often don't want to do things and spend time with the people you usually do - becoming vague and distant
There might be one or two other signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism that I've missed, but the signs above are a pretty comprehensive list. So how do you recognise that there is a problem?
3 or more traits strongly suggests a drinking problem and you should take action immediately. So read that list again and be honest with yourself. This piece on the Ten Warning Signs of Alcoholism puts another interesting spin on this and may prove to be insightful.
And one of our more popular diagnostic tools is this Alcoholism Test - which after having taken it will leave you in no doubt whatsoever.
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And if you're the loved one of a drug addict or alcoholic - knowing how to do an addiction or Alcoholism Intervention can be a very powerful method for ensuring the person you love gets proper help.
There's absolutely nothing to be ashamed about if the signs of alcoholism show you or someone you care about to have a problem. Because awareness and acknowledgement represent the first critical steps on the journey to healing and recovery.
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