Symptoms of Alcoholism

Symptoms of alcoholism should be spotted early so that we can give that person the help he needs.


Alcoholism is a “disease” that plagues society nowadays. Oftentimes, alcoholism cannot be spotted because a person can always say that he just loves his drink. What they do not know is that he could no longer function without his drink. Alcohol and alcoholism has caused a lot of problems in homes and in society in general. Spotting symptoms of alcoholism would give you the opportunity to stop that person’s downward spiral before he hits rock bottom. Whether he likes it or not, he needs help and you should be there to give it to him.

Discussing Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a problem, and a very big problem at that. It is the need to drink excessive amounts of alcohol regularly. People that have problems with alcoholism would drink (and drink and drink and drink) despite the fact that their health, job and social life are already affected.

There is a very fine line between alcoholism and alcohol abuse. When you say “alcohol abuse,” it is drinking excessive amounts of alcohol despite its ill effects on one’s health, family, work, etc. When you say “alcoholism” or “alcohol dependence,” that person can no longer control how much alcohol he takes in. It is like he needs alcohol to survive, psychologically speaking of course. In essence, alcohol dependence is the end product of alcohol abuse. To give you a clearer picture, why don’t I tell you all about symptoms of alcoholism.

Alcoholism Symptoms

The following would be alcoholism symptoms commonly exhibited by a person who is dependent on alcohol. These are the things that we should look out for:

1)    Early Stage
This would be the part where everything begins: the alcohol abuse stage. Alcoholism symptoms would be very subtle, almost unnoticeable. It would seem as if that person just likes to have a good time. However, if you look a little closer, you could see the problems brewing underneath.

a)    Frequent heavy drinking
Heavy drinking is described as having a weekly consumption of five or more drinks for men, and four or more drinks for women. The category for number of drinks consumed actually varies, but I’m sure you get the point. This is the first sign of alcohol abuse.

b)    Blackouts
In the early stages of alcoholism, blackouts could happen as a result of heavy drinking. A blackout is described as a situation wherein you forgot everything that has happened when you got drunk. Even with the blackouts, a person in the early stages of alcoholism would still continue on to drink the next opportunity he gets.

c)     Behavioral changes
Behavioral changes are one of the symptoms of alcoholism that can be found in the earlier stages. You would notice that an alcoholic gets extremely irate once the topic of alcohol consumption is brought up. Watch out. You would also notice that when he gets drunk, he would either become hostile or violent.

2)    Dependence Stage
During this stage, everything becomes very hard, both for the alcoholic and the concerned parties. This is where all the secrecy and denial comes to play. During this stage, alcoholism symptoms become more evident.

a)    Neglect
The alcoholic would neglect almost every aspect of his life. His only pleasure and concern would be the drink. His work, family affairs and even personal hygiene would suffer. However, there are always exceptions. Since secrecy is a great part of alcohol dependence, others would try to cover up their addiction by dressing better and going to work. Let’s talk about secrecy next.

b)    Secrecy
As mentioned earlier, there would always be exceptions. And in every situation, there would always be a contradiction. While others no longer care what people think about them, there are others who like to keep their situation a secret. They would look great on the outside: power suits and great jobs. They would try to hide their addiction as long as possible. And while trying to get better at their jobs, they would be consuming drinks in secret.

c)     Loss of control
As their condition worsens, they would start to think that they are powerless to stop themselves. They start to feel that they do not have control in anything at all. And as a result, they really do lose control of everything, most especially the amount of alcohol they consume. To combat those feelings, and other emotions that may be bothering them at the moment, they drink insane amounts of alcohol.

d)    Withdrawal
Alcoholics would try to quit drinking once they notice something. Yes they would. However, every time they try to quit, they would experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are uncontrollable and are very uncomfortable. They happen because your body has already gotten used to the constant presence of alcohol. Once you try to quit, you are depriving it of what it “needs”. This causes the symptoms to manifest. They have their choice of clenching their teeth and bearing it until it gets better, or taking the easy way out and just go back to the bottle. Nine out of ten people are back to drinking in no time.

What You Should Do

If you know of someone that has this condition, it is not too late to stop them. You might come out as interfering, but you are also saving their life. They might not realize it now, but once they are clean, they would thank you for it. Alcohol abuse is a serious condition and should never be taken lightly.

Remember, alcoholism symptoms could be very subtle. They key to everything is good communication. Have a sober talk with that person. Do not push your point at first, he might get defensive. A great tactic would be to point out the effects of his addiction. That might just make him realize the ill effects of his “love” for alcohol.

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