In simple words, alcoholism is addiction to alcohol to such an extent that sudden deprivation of this intoxicant can lead to severe health conditions, often referred to as withdrawal symptoms. Read on….
Alcoholism is an intense persistent desire to consume alcohol, triggered due to prolonged and excessive alcohol intake, leading to threatening effects on the health of the individual. In medicine, it is defined as a disease which forces an individual for persistent usage of alcohol, by turning a blind eye to its negative effects. Over the period, drinking becomes more important than family, friends, career, or anything else. The effects of alcohol start showing on the individual, physically as well as mentally. Initially done for fun, drinking eventually becomes a necessity. The person starts drinking alcohol with the intention of becoming intoxicated just to feel normal.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism
A person suffering from alcohol addiction seldom accepts that he has a drinking problem. Most of drinking sessions are done alone or kept secret from friends and family. Drinking becomes habitual either before or during dinner, and if at all this habit is disturbed or questioned, the individual gets annoyed and irritated. The person gets so used to alcohol, that he requires it to relieve stress, feel normal or even just to get sleep. Other prominent traits that most of the alcoholics sport are hiding bottles of alcohol in the house or denying consumption of alcohol. Drinking gives them utmost pleasure and they feel it’s impossible to sustain themselves without it, thus becoming totally dependent on it.
The physical symptoms of alcoholism are those which can be seen or experienced on the body of the individual suffering from alcoholism, either by the individual himself or by people around him. These include slurred speech and unsteadiness when in intoxicated state or blackouts, caused due to excessive drinking, wherein the individual doesn’t remember conversations or commitments. Over the period, other signs such as upset stomach and weight loss are also noticed. If he suddenly stops drinking, he experiences severe withdrawal symptoms, such as, numbness in hands and feet, excessive sweating, nausea and trembling, and may require proper alcohol rehab to come out of it.
The psychological symptoms, on the other hand, are the behavioral changes observed in the individual, most often by the people around him and less frequently by the individual himself. The most prominent symptom is the inability to control drinking. One drink leads to another, and this goes on. The frequency of negative emotions such as irritability, agitation, anger, etc. increases, with the person exhibiting irritable behavior as the usual time for drinking nears and often displays agitation or anger when alcohol is not available. Alcoholics normally tend to display a high degree of violence in minor matters. The individual is less enthusiastic about activities which don’t include drinking. Sleep patterns are disturbed and the individual experiences immense difficulty in keeping commitments.
Overall, the person loses interest in all those activities which used to give him pleasure earlier, because drinking becomes the most important activity for him. He looks forward to his drinking sessions at the end of the day or gulps drinks at the slightest opportunity. Those who take to alcohol abuse to a relatively lower extent also experience these signs, but unlike those who are dependent on alcohol, they don’t experience withdrawal symptoms if they don’t drink. Alcoholism only worsens with time, to an extent that if it is not curbed at the right time, it can even lead to life-threatening conditions.