The Definition of an Alcoholic

Definition of Alcoholic

Alcoholism is a disease that is somehow both easy and difficult to define. On one hand, there is a clear definition of alcoholism, which is a physical and psychological addiction to alcohol and the harmful compulsive behaviors associated with it. On the other hand, it can be difficult for people to recognize an alcoholic. Some people can go out once in a while, have a few drinks and be perfectly okay, and there are others who lose control after such a night. Some might call the latter group of people “alcoholics” even if they don’t drink very often, and other people will laugh off the occasional binge drinking as harmless fun. To make things even more confusing, people can have problems with alcohol abuse without having their problems progress into full-blown alcoholism.

Recognizing alcoholism signs can be difficult. After all, no two people are alike. Everyone has their own limits when it comes to alcohol, and everyone has slightly different reactions to alcohol. However, there are some warning signs that can help determine if someone might have a problem with alcohol abuse:

Frequent Intoxication

This seems like one of the more obvious alcoholism signs, but it can be harder to pick out than people realize. Some people have a very low tolerance for alcohol, and it may only take a couple of drinks to get them drunk. They might not drink very often (perhaps for this very reason) and they certainly don’t have an addiction to alcohol. These people probably wouldn’t get classified as alcoholics.

On the other hand, someone who likes to go out regularly and get drunk has a problem. These are the people who cannot have a social engagement without having several drinks and are the ones who are “always” getting drunk at parties. They also tend to lose control and engage in impulsive and dangerous behaviors with frightening regularity. All of this is usually picked up on by family and friends, those who know these people better than anybody and are familiar with their behavior, and in many cases it’s up to them to step in and call the alcoholics out on their problems.

Drinking Despite Problems

Perhaps the biggest warning sign of alcoholism is when one continues to drink despite the problems it causes with his or her life. It’s easy to assume that most people can stop drinking once it starts causing problems with their health, their careers and their social lives, but some people simply keep drinking after these problems are apparent. This usually means that the person in question has developed a serious drinking problem, and that they can be accurately classified as an alcoholic.

Neglecting Other Aspects of One’s Life

Finally, the biggest sign of alcoholism occurs when the person with the drinking problem begins to neglect other activities and centers his or her life around drinking. Jobs are lost, relationships are ruined and financial obligations go unfulfilled. It’s not uncommon for alcoholics to even lose their homes. In short, they ruin their lives. If they are lucky, alcoholics have family and friends who confront them on their behavior and allow them to see that they need help.

Alcoholism is a disease, one that isn’t easy to overcome. Alcohol is perfectly legal and readily available in our society, and many people fail to see how difficult it can be for some people to simply stop drinking. If you or a loved one has struggled with alcoholism, there is no shame in seeking treatment. Get help before it’s too late.

10 thoughts on “The Definition of an Alcoholic

  1. Brian says:

    I am well educated on Alcoholics, I’ve had one in my family since I was a little girl. An alcoholic can be a very mean and selfish person. Those people who must have a drink to survive the day has some serious problems going on that others can’t see.

    I lived with my grandfather drinking liquor, he would get so mean that he would beat my grandmother just because he wanted to. His children 6 boys also suffered dearly. They would be beaten and not allowed in the house and sometimes without food. This went on until my grandfather finally died with cancer, and even while he was sick he had to have the alcohol. Alcoholism is sickening to everyone it affects.

  2. Diane says:

    Alcoholism is such a problem in our society, It is a legal drug that is available to anyone at any time. It is promoted as a way to have fun, a way to relax after a hard day, as way to calm down after an upset, etc. All of these things are not true but it is easier to fall into this when you are going through a tough time than to actually see alcohol for what it is – a dangerous drug that will take over your life if you let it. If you have a friend or loved one who is using alcohol in this way and can’t go without it, get them into a rehab facility right away. They need help.

  3. michael says:

    i do not know if i would be a defined alcoholic, because i use to drink every night when i was employed full time just for the fun of it. but then i lost my job and got a part time minimum wage job so i am not earning enough to drink every night and pay bills so i stopped but i have every intention to do it again when i get a better full time job.

  4. Sharia says:

    Being an alcoholic is a very difficult disease to have. not only does it affect your health but it completely depletes your actual quality of life. Most alcoholics I’ve known have known acquired the addiction because they wanted to escape life problems, bot realizing they were only creating more. The best thing a person who is suffering from alcoholism or any addiction for that matter is a strong support system.

  5. tyreek says:

    Hit the nail right on the head after taking the time to read this. having a friend who was once like this, I can say first hand as a witness that all of the points stated here are true. great blog post overall.

  6. sylwia says:

    I have been attending a rehab program for the past year. Without it and my significant other I would still be drinking. It is harder to quit than you think especially by yourself. You are constantly in denial about the problem. I attended the program because I got a second DUI. I am not proud of it but glad. If I didn’t I would be putting others in danger. I would like to thank the arresting officer for saving my life and the life of others.

  7. Chris W. says:

    Thanks you for defining what an alcoholic is. I have a close family member who drinks every night but I am uncertain if he is an alcoholic or not. Your article has really given me some useful guidelines to assess his behavior.

  8. Sydney Burkholder says:

    Is it possible for young adults who cannot buy alcohol, but who go out of their way to find situations where someone else can acquire it for them and behave as above to be alcoholics?

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