Understanding the Symptoms of Alcoholism

Many of the symptoms of alcoholism can be classified by the physical symptoms, behaviors or actions that result from alcohol use. For instance, an alcoholic may suffer from a series of physical symptoms as a result of their addiction but they may also show behavioral changes as a result of their addiction too. The symptoms of alcoholism are often masked, covered up or otherwise kept “hush hush” for quite some time which can mean that the addiction goes on for many years without being treated. Denial (on part of the addict and by the loved ones) may be partially to blame for this.

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Physical Symptoms of Alcoholism

People who are addicted to alcohol may show a series of physical symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Alcohol cravings
  • Withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is not used
  • Tremors & shakiness
  • Lapses in memory or blacking out when drinking
  • Illness such as liver problems, cirrhosis, kidney disease or other health problems associated with drinking
  • Inability to limit alcohol consumption despite a desire to drink less

Behavioral Symptoms of Alcoholism

Many changes in behavior will occur when alcohol addiction is present. These changes may range from mild changes in attitude to major changes in behavioral patterns such as completely altering social groups, or becoming extremely frustrated if alcohol is not available. The following behavioral symptoms of alcoholism are often seen:

  • Irritability when alcohol is not available or if your drinking is interrupted
  • Drinking alone
  • Drinking more and more alcohol in order to produce the same effects
  • Being violent, aggressive or hostile if questions come up about drinking
  • Not eating while drinking and neglecting food or eating poorly while drinking
  • Not taking care of one's self while drinking, lacking on personal hygiene
  • Being absent from work or school as a result of drinking the day before, being drunk or being ill from drinking
  • Inability to control the level of alcohol consumption
  • Coming up with excuses to drink
  • Drinking despite consequences which have already occurred socially, economically, financially, legally or in relationships
  • Having drinking rituals such as always having a drink after dinner or before dinner and then being angry or aggressive if that ritual is broken or hindered in any way
  • Intentionally becoming drunk to feel "normal"
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that used to be fun unless such include alcohol

If you notice that you or someone you know is showing any of these signs of alcoholism, it's time to seek immediate help. Early detection and treatment for alcohol addiction is the key to a successful recovery. We can help you find an alcohol addiction treatment program that will provide you with effective care, detox, medical intervention and counseling to ensure your long term sobriety and continued abstinence from alcohol abuse.