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:
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.