For most of us, a trip to the bar for a drink is no big deal. Many go out with friends to have a few while socializing. Some choose to celebrate a special occasion, such as a wedding, or a promotion. Others may even use it as an opportunity to blow off a little steam after a long week at work. To some though, the act of having a few can lead to serious problems. These people suffer from an addiction to alcohol. In other words, they suffer from alcoholism, otherwise known as being an alcoholic.
Those who suffer from alcoholism don’t always show signs of there being a problem. Just because they don’t always appear drunk, does not mean they do not have a problem.
There are normally four different symptoms for those who suffer from alcoholism.
Number 1: A strong craving to drink. The person will have a strong desire to drink which may not go away until satisfied. This means the person may go out of their way to get a drink, which could potentially lead to personal, as well as professional problems, if these cravings are allowed to disrupt a person’s normal activities.
Number 2: Losing the ability to control the amount of alcohol consumed. Most of us know when enough is enough. An alcoholic normally loses this ability, or chooses to ignore it. This can lead to frequent periods of drunkenness, which over time can lead to serious health concerns, such as cirrhosis of the liver, weakening of the immune system, brain damage, fetal damage in pregnant women, as well as an increased risk of some cancers.
Number 3: Dependency on alcohol to function. Frequent abuse of alcohol can eventually lead to dependence. This means the body will not only crave alcohol, but will need it just to function normally. Without it, the body will develop symptoms similar to those of drug addicts undergoing withdrawal symptoms. An alcoholic who is deprived of alcohol can become nauseous, shaky, sweaty, anxious and irritable.
Number 4: A high tolerance to alcohol. As anyone who has drunk regularly can tell you, over time a person will develop a higher tolerance for alcohol, the more they consume. For alcoholics this tolerance is usually far greater than for a normal person. This, along with not knowing their limits, puts an alcoholic at great risk of health problems, as mentioned previously.
In most cases, an alcoholic will not admit they have a problem, in many cases until they have hit rock bottom. If you suspect you, or someone you know many be an alcoholic, seek help immediately. There are many great organizations out there who can help with information, as well as treatment options.
If you know of a recovering alcoholic, talk to them about their experiences and if possible, develop a relationship to help further your own recovery. This can be a great tool for a newly recovering alcoholic. The mutual understanding and strength shared together can be a great source of motivation to stay sober and healthy well into the future.