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There are a number of symptoms of alcoholism. Some may be apparent to the observer though there are people who successfully hide their illness for a time. Other symptoms are likely to be noted by the alcoholic alone, since they are principally thoughts and/or feelings.
It can be difficult to make a distinction between the person who is addicted to alcohol and the person who is not physically addicted but is abusing alcohol. Possibly the only way for this distinction to truly be made is to undergo alcohol withdrawal. However, withdrawal is an extremely dangerous thing that can be deadly without medical support. It’s not an experiment people should try, unless they have only been drinking for a very short period of time. Most people, whether they are truly physically addicted or simply abusing alcohol, should withdraw from the safety of a hospital.
On top of that, even if physical withdrawal symptoms aren’t huge, a person can be psychologically addicted to alcohol. In either circumstance, support during withdrawal is still needed. Physical addiction and psychological addiction are likely to have many of the same symptoms of alcoholism.
Some of these symptoms of alcoholism include not admitting that alcohol may be a problem, or not believing it. People will also drink to excess, often exceeding planned amounts. Overdrinking often leads to things like blackouts, memory loss, and vomiting.
The way people think and behave about alcohol may in part determine the condition. People might be able to restrain themselves in work environments (though some can’t and this is one of the symptoms of alcoholism). When they get close to being off work so they can drink, or near home, craving of drink becomes very strong. It might be accompanied by changes in mood, especially higher anger or tension. Some people who do display clear physically addicted signs get sick to their stomachs when they can’t drink, or they have noted shaking and perspiration.
Additional symptoms of alcoholism may be present to greater or smaller degree. Alcoholics often have trouble with financial affairs, with relating to others, and with maintaining jobs. If criticism of drinking occurs from family, they may try to hide their drinking problems, but given that they drink to excess, they may not be that successful. Another potential sign of this disease is a noted lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities, and possibly antisocial behavior if any activities cannot include drinking.
Alcoholism is a painful condition for the alcoholic and everyone who surrounds that person. What is most difficult is that it can be very challenging to convince someone they suffer from this illness and could have a much happier life if they could rid themselves of alcohol use. For those people who find themselves unable to convince a loved one that he or she is an alcoholic, there are very good free groups like Al-Anon that provide support. Private therapy may be useful in this respect too.
For those people who do see they have many symptoms of alcoholism, there are plenty of ways to get help. Good groups like Alcoholics Anonymous exist, and simply talking to a family doctor can be a good place to begin on the path to wellness. There are many recovered alcoholics who can attest to the fact that it is possible to quit.