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Symptoms of Being an Alcoholic

Are You an Alcoholic?

If you feel that alcohol has become a problem in your life, it could be that you have become an alcoholic. This refers to a situation where you are physically and psychologically dependent on this drug. Physical dependence means that you have developed an increased tolerance for the substance, and that you suffer withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop. Psychological dependence means that you experience cravings, and that you find it hard to imagine how you would be able to cope without this substance. There term “alcoholism” tends to be used interchangeably with the terms, “alcohol addiction,” and “alcohol dependency.”

Are You an Alcoholic or a Problem Drinker?

If you have only recently started having problems with alcohol, it could be that you have not yet developed a physical or psychological dependency. It means that you are a problem drinker, and it may be possible for you to regain control and return to social drinking. The reality is, though, that those people who become concerned enough by their alcohol consumption to read this will likely have already crossed the line into addiction. Once you have become an alcoholic there is no turning back – your only option will be complete abstinence.

Symptoms of Being an Alcoholic

There can be disagreement about the exact symptoms of alcoholism/alcohol addiction, but the individual is likely to experience at least some of the symptoms in the below bullet points. It is important to keep in mind when reading this list that it is not necessary for the individual to experience all of these symptoms for them to be considered an alcoholic – in fact, some people who have become addicted will only have a few of these symptoms:

  • One of the most obvious signs that a person has become addicted to alcohol is that they suffer withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop or reduce their intake. Once the alcohol has left the person’s system, they can begin to experience flu like symptoms that only go away when the person drinks again. Some people can miss their withdrawal symptoms because they are mistaken for hangover symptoms.
  • Another sign of physical dependence to alcohol is an increased tolerance for this substance. This means that the individual needs to drink more in order to get the same effect. Increased tolerance is a sign that the body has needed to adapt to the high alcohol consumption.
  • The individual may be struggling to meet their family, work, or social responsibilities because of their addiction.
  • The person may sometimes feel remorseful about their behaviour while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Other people say that the person’s personality changes when they are under the influence of alcohol.
  • Other people have expressed concern about the person’s drinking.
  • The individual becomes defensive when other people question their drinking habits. This is usually evidence that they are caught in denial.
  • The person has attempted to reduce their alcohol intake or stop, but they are unable to maintain this for any real length of time.
  • The individual regularly drinks more than they intended to.
  • They are reluctant to go to social events unless there is going to be alcohol involved.
  • They may suffer from blackouts – this means that there are periods of time that they are unable to remember.
  • The individual may feel the need to conceal the extent of their drinking.
  • They have needed to take time off work because of their addiction.
  • The individual finds it hard to imagine how they will be able to cope with life without alcohol.

The Need to Hit Rock Bottom

Even when people reach the point where they are able to admit to their alcohol problem, they can still be reluctant to get help. The individual may have heard that they need to hit rock bottom before they will be able to stop, and they have misunderstood what this means. Hitting rock bottom does not mean that the person will need to lose everything before they are able to stop this behaviour – it just means that they have reached a point of having enough. Some people will have a high rock bottom, and this means that they have lost very little before developing the willingness to stop. There is no benefit in wasting one more day to addiction, and the only right time for the person to quit the behaviour is right now. If you are fed up of feeling sick and tired, you will not need to waste any more time to alcohol.

Get Help for Your Alcohol Addiction

If you are ready to get help for your alcohol addiction, you will want to move fast. The risk you take with delaying is that you might lose your motivation and become sucked back down into the denial of alcoholism. Some people will only have a small window of opportunity, so it is vital to take advantage of the desire to quit when it comes.

One of the things that will prevent you from escaping alcoholism is any type of reluctance towards recovery. If you still hold onto the hope that you will one day be able to drink again normally, this will mean that any recovery you make will be built on shaky ground. This ambivalence is a threat to your sobriety, and you must get rid of it in order to fully embrace recovery.

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