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Signs of an alcoholic and alcohol abuse

Have you ever wondered about the difference between social drinking and all-out alcohol abuse or addiction? There is a difference, though it is often a fine line, between responsible and occasional social drinking and alcohol abuse that damages health and leads to alcoholism.

Here are some signs that you or someone you know many be an alcoholic:

It no longer seems like a choice.
An alcoholic may feel, physically, mentally and emotionally, that he or she has no choice in the matter. Drinking becomes essential in order to function “normally,” and the amount of drinking needed to maintain this normal level generally increases over time. The craving to drink, both physically and emotionally, becomes stronger and more important than anything else. An alcoholic feels he or she is unable to stop drinking, despite the often significant and severe side effects, symptoms and consequences of alcoholism.

The physical and mental symptoms are getting worse.
There are many potential symptoms and side effects that can come about from excessive alcohol abuse. These include but are not limited to:

  • Insomnia or oversleeping, sleeping disorders
  • Tremors, shaking
  • Nausea
  • Redness of the face or cheeks; Capillaries (small blood vessels) in face and nose can appear prominent
  • Numbness or tingling in hands and/or feet
  • Irritability, anger, violence
  • Obvious signs of neglecting daily grooming and habits, such as diet, hygiene, appearance
  • Bloating in face, abdominal area

You have ongoing conversations about your drinking.
The dialogue, whether it is with someone else or even internally inside your own head, could include statements and questions like these:

Have you been drinking too much?
Can you go a day without a drink?
Maybe I shouldn’t have lied about those drinks I had…
I wonder if my shakes and tremors are drinking-related?
I hate feeling hungover every single morning.
That probably wasn’t the best idea to have a bottle of alcohol in my desk at work.
Drinking in the car is stupid, I don’t know what I was thinking.
Blacking out is scary – I don’t like not remembering what I was doing or who I was talking to.
Why do I always feel the need to BYOB to parties, others’ homes, get-togethers?
Why do I feel so nauseous all the time?
Driving after a drink or two is no big deal.

You have even more ongoing conversations about your drinking.
It’s better not to tell my friends and family about my drinking. Deny, deny, deny when they ask.
I feel so bad when I miss important family and friend events because I’m passed out or too drunk to go.
Was there really a time when one or two drinks was enough?
Drinking loosens me up. Period.
I wish drinking didn’t always seem to take time away from work, school or my family.
I feel invincible when I drink. I can say things I am too scared to say when I am totally sober.
Often it is just easier to drink alone.
The constant nagging about my drinking makes me want to stay away from all of them.
Passing out is no big deal.
I just can’t relate to my friends who don’t drink.

You agree with at least some of these statements.

Three beers is nothing.
One DUI is no biggie.
Soda just doesn’t do it for me – it is definitely no substitute for my cocktail!
Everyone calls in sick with a hangover sometimes.
My friends think I am an alcoholic. I know I am not.
Too many people are nagging me about my drinking too much.
I can stop whenever I want.


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