signs of alcoholism
Qualifying as an alcoholic means having a mental and physical dependence on alcohol. Here are the symptoms and signs of alcoholism.

A person may qualify as an alcoholic if they are mentally and physically dependent on alcohol. Alcoholism is a serious psychological illness due to which a person cannot stop drinking despite potential or actual, negative consequences.

You may qualify as an alcoholic if:

  • Alcohol drinking contributes to your problems with finances, relationships and jobs.
  • You are dishonest with yourself and others about how much and how often you drink alcohol.
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking alcohol.
  • You lack control, have abnormal cravings and feel irritable in the absence of alcohol.

Many healthcare and mental health organizations have prohibited the use of the word “alcoholic” because it’s seen as a negative label that is used to shame people who have alcohol-related drinking problems. Many of these organizations now commonly refer to it as “alcohol use disorder”.

What are the withdrawal symptoms of alcohol?

Alcohol dependence or alcoholism consists of symptoms such as craving, loss of control and physical dependence. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are part of physical dependence, which may include:

These symptoms may occur when alcohol use is stopped after a period of heavy drinking. However, other serious dependence symptoms may lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms including:

  • Convulsions: These may start 8 to 12 hours after your last drink.
  • Delirium tremens (DTs): This may begin three to four days later with symptoms including
    • Extremely agitation
    • Hallucinates
    • Loss of sense of reality

What are the symptoms of a hangover?

A hangover is a combination of unpleasant symptoms that occur after excessive alcohol intake. It may start a few hours after you have stopped drinking or the next day. Symptoms of a hangover are different for everyone and may vary depending on the quantity of alcohol consumed. The more alcohol consumed, the more the symptoms will be intense on the next day.

Common symptoms of a hangover may include:

However, these unpleasant symptoms of a hangover subside on their own within 24 hours. In case the symptoms persist more than 24 hours, it is important to get medical attention to check for underlying causes (such as severe withdrawal symptoms of alcohol).

How can we treat people addicted to alcohol?

The first step of treating alcoholism is acknowledging the fact that excessive alcohol intake is bad for you mentally and physically and that you need help. The second step is to seek a doctor and try available alcohol-support services.

Some of the treatment methods and options for alcoholism include:

Inpatient treatment:

  • This offers round-the-clock care and is the most intensive method of treatment, typically lasting from 30 to 90 days.

Outpatient treatment:

  • This allows you to attend to your responsibilities while in recovery.
  • This option is suitable if you have less severe levels of dependence because you’ll face situations and other influences that may tempt you to drink.

Medication-assisted therapy:

  • Doctors may prescribe and administer certain medications to deal with alcoholism.
  • These medications may also have a role in preventing relapse.

Individual counseling:

  • During the highs and lows of alcohol withdrawal and detox, rehab counselors offer support and look for any underlying factors that may have influenced your addiction.
  • They also guide you on how to address and overcome such factors.

Support groups:

  • Addiction recovery continues even after rehab is complete.
  • These groups provide you with a safe space to discuss your treatment goals and challenges with others in recovery.
  • Doctors may also recommend cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to change negative thought patterns that may lead to drinking.

Although it is best to consult a medical professional for expert advice, you can do a quick diagnosis for yourself. Question yourself if you have any of the symptoms listed above and see how you can change your life with the available resources. If you’re still struggling with alcohol consumption, it is best to seek help without hesitation.

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Medically Reviewed on 8/18/2021
References
Drinking levels defined: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking

Am I an alcoholic? https://www.alcohol.org/faq/am-i-an-alcoholic/

Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/addictions/alcoholism-and-alcohol-abuse.htm