Alcohol abuse symptoms can include anything from excessive drinking, to behavioral symptoms such as people missing work, slipping grades, or frequent fights with their spouses. The actual physical manifestation of alcohol abuse is almost always the same: people drink more than what they say they will, or should be expected to. As this continues, the eventual outcome could be one of two possibilities: the person backs off and stop abusing alcohol so much, or they end up getting worse and progressing to full blown alcoholism.
There is probably a point with alcohol abuse where a drinker could sort of go either way. If they were quick enough to be able to back down and lay off the sauce for a while, then they might avoid developing a full blown alcohol addiction. But at some point it is probably too late, and even if they stopped drinking altogether for a period of time, they would still be in big trouble. Once you cross a certain point with chemical abuse, no amount of sober time can undo the addiction. You become hooked for life after crossing the point of no return.
Therefore it would make sense to watch out carefully for common alcohol abuse symptoms and take action to prevent this from happening. For example, if you notice that you are drinking almost every single day, whereas before you would only drink on the weekends, then this might be a red flag for you. Or, if you normally only take a drink or two but lately find yourself drinking more quantity in order to really get drunk. Again, it all depends on the specific person and what kind of patterns they are used to. For some people, getting loaded on the weekends might just be a part of their life–a phase that they are going through. Does this mean that they need to drop everything and stop drinking entirely? Maybe not. Probably not, in fact. The problem comes in when this type of pattern escalates and becomes a bigger problem.
Anyone who is edging further and further towards real addiction will not be able to stop when facing heavy consequences. For example, a college student who has a bunch of exams coming up will be able to stop drinking enough to get some serious studying done if they have to. Someone who is sliding from abuse into real addiction will not be able to get the studying done and will choose to drink instead.