The other day we talked about 5 signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse, a problem distinctly different from alcohol dependence, our topic for today. It’s difficult sometimes to distinguish between alcohol abuse and alcoholism because many of the signs and symptoms overlap. In some cases, it’s a question of severity, but for the most part, the symptoms of alcoholism are physical in nature while the symptoms of alcohol abuse are more social. Let me be more specific….
Symptom of Alcoholism #1: Physical Tolerance
Physical tolerance to alcohol is exactly what it sounds like: when your body requires more and more drinks to “feel” the alcohol. When you first started drinking, it may have only taken a few drinks to give you a buzz when you first started drinking but when you develop a tolerance, you may not even feel the first few drinks. It will take many more to feel inebriated.
Another physical aspect of alcoholism is the inability to stop drinking once you start. What begins with your solemn promise, “Just one drink and then I’m going home,” turns into you closing down the bar or finishing the bottle.
Yet another aspect of physical tolerance to alcohol is your ability to drink large amounts of alcohol without appearing intoxicated. Maybe those closest to you can note a change, but when matched drink for drink, your inebriation appears to be much less than those around you.
All of these show that your body is accustomed to having a certain amount of alcohol in the bloodstream most of the time. This can translate into something akin to withdrawal symptoms when you go without drinking for a day or two, much more severe than a hangover.
Symptom of Alcoholism #2: Cravings
Cravings may seem like a mental thing, but when alcoholism is present, they can be very physical indeed. The desire to drink can be so overwhelming that it seems to overtake your mind and body, so unable are you to think of or focus on anything else. If you have a regular drinking schedule and one of your regular drinking times passes without you indulging in an alcoholic beverage, then you may be overcome by cravings. For many alcoholics, this happens in the morning after they wake up from a night of drinking: they can’t function without a drink.
For others, it’s the ritual of drinking that they crave. When they smoke a cigarette or after they eat, their bodies are conditioned to expect a drink. Take alcohol out of the equation and they experience cravings or at the very least recognize that something is missing and become agitated. All of these are symptoms of alcoholism.
Symptom of Alcoholism #3: Loss of Motivation
Do you ever forget whole conversations or that you’ve agreed to do something or be somewhere at a certain time? Do you forget meeting people or certain things that happen? Did these agreements or events happen while you were drinking? This phenomenon is called a blackout and it happens to alcoholics on a regular basis.
In the same way, if you find that you are losing interest in the things you used to love, the people you used to hang out with or causes you used to care about, this disinterest and lack of motivation may be attributable to alcoholism if you are dependent upon the drug.
Alcohol Rehab: The Only Fix for Alcohol Dependency
The only good thing about alcoholism is that you can get treatment. It is a medical disease and The Canyon provides a comprehensive alcohol rehab< that could be exactly what you’re looking for. Check it out!
By Wendy Lee Nentwig