While it’s often portrayed as a natural part of having fun, alcohol consumption also has a much darker side. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 88,000 people in the United States die from alcohol-related causes each year. Alcohol abuse also creates an economic burden; the institute reports that problems with the misuse of alcohol cost the U.S. $249 billion in 2012. Sadly, the problem is a personal one for many people. A 2012 study revealed that more than 10 percent of American children live with a parent with an alcohol problem.
Alcohol use disorder, which the Mayo Clinic explains includes the issue frequently referred to as alcoholism, is diagnosed when a person continues to use alcohol even though their drinking causes clinically significant distress, harm or impairment. Obviously, not everyone who drinks alcohol becomes an alcoholic. How can a person tell when they or someone they love is battling alcoholism? There are several warning signs that suggest a person might be an alcoholic, asking the right questions can help an individual determine whether someone has this problem.
Does a person experience withdrawal if denied alcohol?
Does the person in question regularly claim that they need a drink and experience physical symptoms if they abstain from drinking? When the body becomes addicted to alcohol, it begins to expect it and will react unpleasantly if denied, so withdrawal symptoms are a major red flag for alcoholism. Going through withdrawal can trigger both emotional and physical symptoms. Emotionally, it can result in anxiety, irritability and depression. Physically, it can cause fatigue or insomnia, nausea and vomiting, headaches, sweating, and trembling.
Has a person developed a tolerance to alcohol?
When someone has an increased tolerance to alcohol, they have to drink more to achieve the same results. Tolerance normally varies a bit between individuals, but if a person finds that they need to drink more than they used to in order to get buzzed or drunk, it may indicate that they are an alcoholic.
Has alcohol caused them to forfeit activities that they enjoy?
Alcoholism often shrinks an individual’s world; drinking becomes their main focus and they allow other things to slip away in favor of devoting more time to their drinking. If the person you are concerned about has stopped participating in hobbies and social activities that they once enjoyed, they may have an alcohol problem.
Do they persist in drinking even though they know it’s causing problems?
Many alcoholics know that their drinking is linked with problems in their life but they can’t stop. If a person is aware that alcohol is causing trouble at home or at work or is endangering their health and they continue to consume it regularly , alcoholism is a real possibility.
Is an individual unable to control their alcohol use?
If a person continually drinks more than they intended, seems unable to call a halt to their drinking or drinks alcohol after promising to avoid it, they may be unable to control their alcohol use. What the drinker promises and what they actually do are often quite different.
Alcoholism affects more than the alcoholic. Family relationships suffer, financial difficulties are common and job loss is common.If you or someone you love has a troubled relationship with alcohol, it’s important to seek treatment. Good support can increase the odds of a successful recovery. Organizations are also available that offer support to partners and children of alcoholics.