Recognizing the signs of alcoholism can be a difficult task for both the sufferer and their family and friends. Much of this is due to alcohol's accepted position within society. If you suspect that either yourself, or someone you care about are struggling with alcohol addiction there are certain signs to look out for.
Like many addictions, alcoholism has a complicated series of symptoms that can often go undetected for long periods of time. Those who abuse alcohol may show signs early in their sickness, but others manage to hide the issue until the resulting health problems become a serious risk. Friends and family members who suspect possible alcoholism in a loved one should be alert for the various warnings.
Alcoholism is considered a progressive disease and early symptoms can quickly multiply and worsen. Some of these may appear quite harmless, but the trouble occurs when behaviours are no longer managed. These symptoms include frequent intoxication, an established pattern of heavy drinking, drinking in dangerous situations such as while driving, blacking out after a night of consumption and drastic changes in personality while imbibing alcohol.
Many of these may seem obvious, but the social acceptance of drinking makes it difficult to see approaching danger in alcoholic sufferers. Normal levels of drinking are consistently abused until it becomes a recurring habit and eventually basic responsibilities are shirked when the need for more alcohol becomes too great. Alcoholics may lose their jobs, break up families and become entangled with the law.
When alcohol abuse reaches a dependent stage, defined as the harmful use of alcohol that causes either physical or mental damage, the sufferer experiences a myriad of other symptoms. The social implications of these issues can have severe consequences on the alcoholic's life; every activity becomes centred around drinking and normal interactions are avoided unless there is the promise of more alcohol.
Despite all these red flags, diagnosing and treating alcoholism is not always straightforward. The drinker must be willing to admit they have a problem and to honestly and openly answer questions about their drinking patterns and attitudes and commit to a treatment option. While there is no single medical cure available, there are many peer support groups as well as cognitive behavioural therapy in more serious cases.