Telltale Alcoholism Signs
Alcoholism is a progressive disease that starts with a tolerance and quickly leads to dependency. Millions of people around the world suffer from alcoholism and most are unable to quit on their own.
Some people are more susceptible than others to develop alcoholism, while others can drink all of their lives and never become dependent. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines alcoholism as “a chronic disease involving a strong need to drink, the inability to stop drinking, the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms, and tolerance.”
There are many changes that take place in a person’s body and mind when they drink and the results may be subtle or obvious. The telltale signs of alcoholism include:
Repeat or Continuous Alcohol Abuse – Alcohol abuse is not alcoholism unless the person develops a dependency and withdrawals, but, alcoholism includes these abusive behaviors.
Alcohol abuse can be drinking excessive amounts, frequently drinking, binge drinking, or underage drinking. It often involves behaviors that would potentially cause harm or distress to the alcoholic or others. Domestic violence, neglect, failing to fulfill obligations, being arrested for something because of alcohol use, or suffering social, financial, or other hardships because of alcohol use.
Denial – Denial is the first thing that comes to an alcoholic’s mind when they are confronted with their problems surrounding their alcohol use. They may try to hide the amounts that they are consuming by drinking in secret or making excuses for their drinking habits.
Tolerance – When tolerance develops the alcoholic’s brain functions differently and in order to feel the desired effects, the alcoholic will need to increasingly, consume more alcohol.
Dependency – Dependency occurs when the brain becomes reliant on the chemical, alcohol, to activate neurotransmitters which essentially “balance” communication signals between the brain and central nervous system. Without alcohol they suffer ill effects, known as withdrawals.
Withdrawals – When an alcoholic tries to stop drinking they suffer withdrawals including: cravings, tremors, nausea, sweating, anxiety, depression, or more serious deliriums, hallucinations, or suicidal ideations.
Instability – When the person is unable to control their drinking, thoughts, emotions, or behaviors because of alcohol use, they become unstable physically and psychologically. They will continue to drink despite any negative or consequential harm to themselves or others.
Psychological Health Problems – Continued drinking damages neurons and depletes natural dopamine production, so a wide range of psychological reactions occur. Unpredictable behaviors of aggression, violence, depression, anxiety, agitation, are common among alcoholics. They may experience guilt, stress, memory loss, blackouts, hallucinations, or other mental health disorders.
Physical Health Problems – Alcohol is a toxic chemical that can cause many physical health impairments. It can cause brain damage, liver damage, kidney damage, malnutrition, heart failure, and immunology problems resulting in various diseases or infections. The risks of other physical problems are dramatically increased with heavy abuse.