By definition, alcohol addiction is a strong physical or psychological dependence on alcohol. However, it is very tough to establish alcohol addiction. The external symptoms may start appearing long after the patient acquires addiction. In normal circumstances, it is tough to tell the difference between an alcohol addict and someone who is a responsible alcohol consumer.
What is Alcohol Abuse?
Alcohol abuse can have far reaching effects on the patient- both social and physical. Addicts are known to be associated with high crime rates and domestic violence. Alcohol addicts also alienate themselves from the external world and prefer staying within their own cocoon. This can lead to long term depression and personality disorders.
Alcohol abuse can also lead to permanent gastrointestinal failure causing harm to the liver and kidneys. Alcohol abuse is also responsible for chronic obesity, epilepsy, dementia and heart attacks. However, these are results of alcohol abuse and cannot be termed as symptoms. Timely identification of symptoms can prevent the symptoms from turning into fatal health traps.
What are the Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction?
There are a number of alcohol addiction symptoms that can be spotted in the advance stages of alcohol addiction. Chronic diarrhea, jaundice, bad health, shaking hands, and a yellowish skin tone are signs of heavy drinking. While these may not signal alcohol addiction, these definitely point to excessive drinking. To ensure whether the person is indeed addicted to alcohol, you can ask the person to stay off the bottle for a week. If they show withdrawal symptoms and find it tough to keep off the bottle, they are probably addicted.
What are the Withdrawal Symptoms?
Withdrawal symptoms also vary greatly in the extent and severity with which they surface. In some people, there are pronounced withdrawal symptoms, while in others, the withdrawal symptoms are more subtle. In general, the longer a person has been addicted, the harder it would be for him or her to abstain. Therefore, it is very important to look out for the subtle symptoms of alcohol withdrawal if you want to catch addiction in its rudimentary stage.
What are the Qualities of an Addict?
The biggest difference between an addict and a responsible drinker is the ability to put limits on consumption. Addicts usually do not give a higher priority to tasks that deserve immediate attention over getting drunk. An important client-meeting, a wedding, a family get together or birthdays take a back seat and the urge to take to the bottle overpowers rational thinking. Bunking important engagements to get drunk point towards rudimentary stages of alcohol addiction.
Other subtle signs of addiction include: Insomnia without consuming that “large peg” before sleeping, the need to have your glass of wine with every meal, the urge to sip on that beer after a stressful day or getting drunk to “loosen up” with someone. These are all signs of some form of alcohol dependency. I know that these are the reasons why most responsible drinkers consume alcohol, but if these reasons are used as excuses to use alcohol, you are probably in the company of an alcohol addict.