Alcoholism is something millions of people suffer with, and many more are affected by, because of a family member or friend that is an alcoholic. It is usually something that people try to hide because no one likes to admit they have a problem. But if a person is dependent on alcohol, it will only be a matter of time before their loved ones either figure it out themselves, or the alcoholic can no longer control their actions and they end up hurting their loved ones or offending them time after time.
It is important for us to become familiar with the warning signs of alcoholism and be watchful of our friends that are showing some of these signs. The sooner this addiction is caught, the easier it will be to treat.
Alcoholism starts out as alcohol abuse, which consists of an individual building up their tolerance to alcohol. Someone that abuses alcohol will begin to drink more and more, and will start showing irresponsible behavior because of the alcohol. Missing work or classes or getting in trouble with the law (because they are drinking or hung over) are all signs of alcohol abuse.
Signs of Alcoholism
Once a person’s body becomes dependent on alcohol, the person can be considered an alcoholic. When this happens, there are many more problems that occur, and more severe signs will be present:
Neglect of duties: An alcoholic will continue to neglect other duties or activities. Things that used to be important to the person will now take a back seat to their opportunity to drink.
Lying: Whether an alcoholic will admit it or not, they will know their drinking is causing problems, and often an alcoholic will begin lying to cover up their drinking. Lying about the amount they drink, or where they’ve been, or avoiding their loved ones so they don’t find out the truth, are all common warning signs.
Lawbreaking: Usually, someone who drinks a lot will start to do dumb things, including getting in trouble with the law. Drunk driving, domestic abuse, and criminal activity are all things you can expect from many alcoholics.
Depression: Because alcohol is a depressant, and because an alcoholic feels bad for the hurt they are causing their family, depression is often a problem with alcoholism. This may exhibit itself in the person feeling extra tired, run down, sad, or even suicidal.
Tolerance: An alcoholic builds up tolerance to alcohol over time, making it necessary for them to drink more and more before getting drunk. An alcoholic may not feel any effects when drinking the same amount as friends.
An alcoholic will become so dependent on alcohol that it is unsafe for them to stop drinking suddenly on their own. Physical withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, nausea, and sweating can turn into dangerous conditions that may need to be monitored by a physician.
If you suspect that a friend or family member is an alcoholic, you can begin by calling a help line to get professional advice about how to approach the person. Alcoholism is often a hidden disease, but with help it is something that can be overcome.