Alcoholism is a dangerous disease that most sufferers need help to recover from. There are several signs and symptoms that reveal that a person has become dependent on alcohol.
Physical signs of alcohol overconsumption and intoxication are recognizable by most adults:
- Slurred or incoherent speech
- Poor balance and clumsiness
- Delayed reflexes
- Stomach pains, vomiting or nausea
- Loss of consciousness or blacking-out
- Redness of the face during or after periods of consumption
It is possible for a person to reach a level of intoxication that becomes life-threatening (alcohol poisoning). The respiratory system becomes depressed, and the person will stop breathing.
There is a difference between alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Abusers can have a limit while alcoholics break all the rules.
Signs of alcohol abuse
Substance abuse experts make a distinction between alcohol abuse and alcoholism (also called alcohol dependence). Unlike alcoholics, alcohol abusers have some ability to set limits on their drinking. However, their alcohol use is still self-destructive and dangerous to themselves or others.
Repeatedly neglecting your responsibilities at home, work, or school because of your drinking. For example, performing poorly at work, flunking classes, neglecting your kids, or skipping out on commitments because you’re hung over.
Using alcohol in situations where it’s physically dangerous, such as drinking and driving, operating machinery while intoxicated, or mixing alcohol with prescription medication against doctor’s orders.
Experiencing repeated legal problems on account of your drinking. For example, getting arrested for driving under the influence or for drunk and disorderly conduct.
Not all alcohol abusers eventually end up being alcoholics but abuse of alcohol is a risk factor. At times alcoholism comes as a response to changes that are stressful to handle for instance divorce or death of a loved one.
Signs of alcohol dependence or addiction
- You cannot quit drinking or control how much you drink.
- You need to drink more to get the same effect.
- You have withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking. These include feeling sick to your stomach, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety.
- You spend a lot of time drinking and recovering.
- You have given up other activities so you can drink.
- You keep drinking even though it harms your relationships and causes health problems.