You’re probably familiar with the different classifications of drinkers out there. Despite the fact that there are some serious health risks associated with each (binge drinker, heavy drinker, problem drinker) none are more serious than those associated with alcoholism.
Alcoholism not only includes all the symptoms of alcohol abuse, but also involves physical dependency. So, when does drinking cross the line into an addiction? Read on to learn the warning signs and symptoms.
Warning Signs & Symptoms of Alcoholism
The best way to determine if you’re addicted to alcohol is to be open and honest with yourself. This is key. You may have had family or friends express their concerns, but your best bet is to look for the warning signs and truthfully assess whether or not they apply to you. Here are a few:
- Drinking more alcohol than you wanted/planned to
- Neglecting your responsibilities at home, work or school because of your drinking
- Continuing to drink even though it’s causing problems in relationships and your health
- Trying to hide drinking from others and feeling embarrassed about how much you consume
- Building up a tolerance (having to continuously drink more to achieve the same effect)
- Experiencing frequent blackouts
- Using alcohol in dangerous situations (driving, operating machinery, mixing alcohol with prescription drugs)
- Being unable to quit drinking
- Using alcohol to deal with stress
Another Critical Warning Sign: Withdrawal
One of the major warning signs when determining whether or not you may suffer from alcohol dependency is withdrawal. Drinking heavily on a regular basis allows your body to get used to the alcohol and when it’s taken away, withdrawal symptoms begin to surface.
These symptoms include anxiety, trembling, sweating, nausea, insomnia, depression, irritability, fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, hallucinations, confusion and even seizures. If you drink to relieve or avoid these symptoms, this is a definite sign of alcoholism.
Effects of Alcoholism
Alcohol abuse and alcoholism affect more than just your body. It puts a significant strain on your friends and family too. Consider the following:
- Alcohol abuse can damage nearly every organ in your body including your brain. It can lead to issues as serious as cancer, liver disease and heart problems.
- Alcohol dependency can also impact your finances, career and emotional health. Alcoholics and other alcohol abusers are statistically more likely to struggle with unemployment, live in poverty and get a divorce.
- Your problem becomes a burden for those you love. Family members and close friends often feel obligated to make excuses for you and lie on your behalf. This can take an enormous toll on their emotional health as well.
Helpful Tool: There are a number of self-tests available to help you determine if the way or amount you’re drinking is doing harm. Results from tests like these should not be used to diagnosis a condition, but can help you realize you might need help and start you on the path to recovery.
Alcoholism is a Disease
Alcoholism, like other addictions, is a disease. It’s not something you should try to treat on your own. If you’ve done the hard part and come to terms with the fact that you are dependent on alcohol, it’s time to pursue the help you need.
Facing your addiction alone can be overwhelming. Cycles of Change Recovery Services is here to help. We offer a variety of alcohol treatment programs, and our counselors will work with you to help you choose the best program to support your goal of sober living. Fill out this form or call us today at (661) 630-4176 for more information.