Alcohol addiction, medically known as alcoholism, is a medical disorder that can affect individuals from all walks of life. Although researchers and experts have tried to determine race, sex, age, genetics, mental health, and socioeconomics factors that may predispose an individual to addiction, no conclusive results have been reached so far. It is simply because alcohol addiction does not have a single cause, and genetic, psychological, behavioral, and environmental factors can all play a major role in developing this disease.
Contrary to popular belief, alcohol addiction is a real disorder and causes alterations to the brain and neurochemistry. Therefore, an individual with an alcohol addiction may not be able to control their actions.
Like patients of other diseases, a person with alcohol addiction is most likely to exhibit certain signs and symptoms. However, it can show itself in a number of ways, and the severity of the disease depends upon how much and how often a person drinks. Some people are binge drinkers and consume alcohol all day, whereas other chain drink and then endeavor to stay sober for a while.
Alcohol abuse is medically known as any use that hampers a user’s daily life functioning of the person. The symptoms of alcoholism encompass both health-relatedeffects, including alcohol-induced accidents, bad hangovers, nausea, etc. and social effects, such as undertaking regrettable endeavors when intoxicated. All the people who drinkalcohol are not necessarily addicts, but this dependence is usually the basic step that leads to the development of a severe complication.Various organizations and platforms can help you no matter which stage of alcohol abuse you are in, and this website is one of them.
Let’s get to know what alcohol addiction is and its warning signs.
What Is Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol addiction can begin at any stage in a person’s life but is commonly seen in adults and usually starts intheir 20s and 30s. This disorder is characterized by frequent and heavy drinking and a dependence on alcohol, which causes numerous health and social complications. Such addicts have a higher alcohol tolerance and are usually unable to control their voluntary movements and actions. Recognizing the signs of alcohol abuse plays a significant role in determining whether you or someone around you is getting addicted and needs help. The most common symptoms of alcohol intoxication and abuse include:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Retarded coordination of the body
- Slurred or incoherent speech
- Repetitive, rambling, or confusing speech
- Disorientation or not knowing where one is
- Anxiety, emotionaldisturbances, or agitation
- Problems in standing up and walking in a straight line
- Blank and emotionless look in the eyes accompanied by, or glassy stares
Some other indicatorsinclude:
- Temporary blackouts and short term memory loss
- Exhibiting emotional instability,extreme mood swings, and disinterest or irritability
- Finding reasons to drink, such as to feel normal, relax, or combat stress
- Drinking in secrecy or when alone
- Showing indifference to family members and friends
- Changing the group of acquittances or appearance
- Feeling hungover when sober
How to Recognize the Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction?
According to statistics from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), about 15.1 million adults aged 18 and older (about 6.2 percent of this age group) suffered from an alcohol use disorder (AUD). This alarmingly high level of prevalence in our society makes diagnosing addiction quite tricky. Alcohol addiction is typically diagnosed on a spectrum with 11 criteria for recognition. These criteria stand on the different levels of severity of the addiction.
Heavy drinking is the major reason behind extensive dependence in many cases related to addiction. Still, all heavy drinkers cannot be necessarily ranked as dependent or have a disorder. The 11 criteria professionals use to diagnose this ailment are as follows:
- Consuming alcohol in more significant amounts or for longer periods than advised
- Unable to cut down or stop consumption even with willpower
- Spending largeportions of the day consuming, buying, or recovering from alcohol use
- Facing difficulty in managing work, relationships, household chores, school, or social responsibilities because of alcohol use
- Having intense urges or cravings to consume alcohol that may even be crippling and blinding at times
- Inability to quit alcohol consumption even when it causes serious relationship complications
- Giving up on significantentertaining, occupational, work-related, or social activities because of excessive alcohol consumption
- Consuming alcoholrepeatedly, even with the knowledgethat it puts you in dangerous situations
- Not quitting even with the awareness of the physical or psychological problems that get aggravated or worsened by its use
- Development of withdrawal symptoms during non-consumption periods and facing a crippling need to drink more
- Needing more alcohol to recreate certain feelings
Not all alcohol consumersmeetthe criteria; in some people,alcohol use disorder (AUD) can be mild where a drinker only meets two or three of them. Meeting four to five criteria is medically regarded asa moderate dependence, whereas relating to more than five criteria presents a serious condition that requires immediate help and rehabilitation. People who meetmore than five or six of these criteria are usually referred to asalcoholics.
Alcohol holds the highest rate of addiction and abuse in the US, with millions of people suffering from its misuse. Recognizing an AUD generally boils down to one principle: prioritizing alcohol over significant relationships, work, personal health, and continuing its use even after knowing its adverse effects.
What Are Physical Signs Of Alcoholism?
Although there are no hard and fast warning signs of alcohol addiction, recognizing the subtle signs and symptoms can prove highly beneficial in an individual’s recovery process. Since there is no exact formula to establish someone as an alcoholic or not, warning signs and symptoms co-occur frequently. One sign can snowball into another and fuel additional problems down this path.
Some common short term warning signs of alcoholism may include:
- Hampered judgment
- Difficulties in breathing
- Distorted vision and hearing
Some warning signs can be non-medical, and these effects are more likely to be worse than several health consequences. Such non-medicinal effects include the following:
- Serious relationship issues with friends, family, or spouse/partner
- Heavy dependence on alcohol to boost mood
- More interest towards activities associated with drinking
- Always looking to drink and making excuses to justify their drinking habits
- Continuing to drink even when economic, social, or legal problems stem
- Having obsessive thoughts about drinking and memory lapses
- Prioritizing drinking over recreational, professional, or social activities to their liking
Alcohol addiction is a serious problem that affects millions worldwide. Recognizing the signs and symptoms can save your loved ones’ lives and allow you to create a space for them where they can work on the issues to start getting better.