Since the dawn of civilization, alcohol has been used for social occasions, religious rites, and even as a component of medical practice. In modern society, alcohol is a widely accepted stress reliever and appetizer.
It’s because of its availability and somewhat naïve comprehension of its influence on our mental and physical health that alcohol has become a global problem. Around the world, people are coping with the problems caused by their inability to stop drinking. The main problem with alcoholism is that it can sneak up on a person and show its true face when it already creates irreparable damage.
It’s important to understand the early signs of alcoholism, you can find helpful information in this guide on how to help one start sober life, and quit drinking before things get out of hand.
Drinking, alcohol abuse, and alcoholism
People start drinking for various reasons, some enjoy a nice glass of wine during lunch, and others need a shot of whiskey to take the edge off after a stressful day at work. Even getting drunk on a Saturday night has positive effects as long as we don’t get too intoxicated.
The problem starts when we’re unable to control our urge to drink, even if it doesn’t present a threat to our social life, work, or health status. This is where we need to make a clear distinction between alcohol use, abuse, and alcoholism, which are related but not the same issues.
Alcohol abuse is a disorder when a person can’t stop drinking even if it causes problems at home or at work. Alcohol abusers are prone to drinking and driving, even if they are aware of the dangers of such behavior.
On the other hand, alcoholism includes the physical dependence on the substance, because the body gets so accustomed to the presence of alcohol in our system it sends out signals when the withdrawal takes place.
The red flags
Alcoholism is an insidious health issue, however, some distinctive signals can help us understand it’s time to stop drinking alcohol before things get out of hand and cause a wider array of troubles.
What starts as a glass of bourbon to take the edge off, might turn into two glasses or half a bottle in order to get the same effects. This means that our body is building a tolerance to alcohol and we need to drink more to get the same results.
If you can drink more than your friends and not get as drunk as they are, you should probably say to yourself “I want to stop drinking, before things get out of hand”.
Another major signal that we need professional assistance is experiencing withdrawal. Just like with any other physical addiction, our brain chemistry changes and adapts to the presence of alcohol. Over time, the need to drink becomes more common and we need to drink more often to meet the body’s demand.
The most common withdrawal symptoms include tremors, anxiety, irritability, and in some extreme cases even hallucinations and seizures.
Loss of control as a clear sign of addiction
The definite sign that our habit or social ritual has become an addiction is the loss of control of our alcohol intake. Drinking even though it’s causing marital issues, blaming others for our problem with alcohol, or losing interest in activities that are not related to drinking are clear signs that we have no control of the situation.
In most cases, we start finding excuses for our addiction or even rationalize it by telling ourselves and others we need it to perform better at work or deal with a marital crisis, even if the problems with our work and spouses are caused by our inability to quit drinking.
Alcoholism is a serious issue and leads to both health and social problems that affect other people, especially the ones closest to the person in trouble. Modern medicine provides multiple ways to stop drinking, however, it’s imperative to acknowledge and recognize the problem in its early stage to avoid difficulties during therapy.