While addiction of any kind can make it hard to reach out to the person suffering, alcoholism comes with specific complications. The problem is, alcohol use is legal, and abuse is very common. Binging, a common activity among the addicted, for example, is also practiced by those not addicted. It can be hard to show an addict how their binging somehow goes over the line. Their defenses can often be convincing, and you may find it hard to hold your own. If you have a loved one that you would like to talk to, it's important to gain some clarity yourself. What are symptoms of alcoholism that truly set a person apart from someone who is merely irresponsible with drink?
Often, the ability to hold down a responsible job is considered a good test of a person's relationship to alcohol -- if a person is able to hold down a job, his alcohol use is considered to have not crossed the line. Yet, there are many people who are functional alcoholics -- they are successful, and yet, undeniably addicted.
Many other such ambiguous tests exist -- the occurrence of blackouts after drinking, a DUI arrest or two, and a need to drink during the day, are all tests. Yet, while alcoholics do all of these things, people who aren't alcoholic sometimes do them as well.
Even the ability to quit alcohol for some time isn't an ironclad test. When psychological dependence on alcohol has set in but physical dependence hasn't, a person's ability to go without alcohol for a few days or even a few weeks with no withdrawal symptoms in evidence, is no proof. Once they are done proving their point, they return to alcohol abuse.
When chronic and excessive alcohol use exists, it gradually brings about changes to the brain's functioning. Rather than attempt to control the chemical imbalances caused by alcohol, the brain cedes control to alcohol. In a brain in such a state, alcohol assumes the role and function that used to be the domain of critical brain chemicals This makes the presence of alcohol is essential as the presence of brain chemicals. In such a state, the brain completely depends on the presence of alcohol.
When an attempt to end alcohol use is made in, a brain in such a state experiences severe disruption. Terrible withdrawal symptoms arise. From headaches and body ache to anxiety, panic and anger to seizures and hallucinations, the mind and body go through serious disruption.
The emergence of withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of alcohol is a certain sign of the presence of addiction.
People usually turn to addictive alcohol behavior because they are unable to deal with the unpleasantness of reality on their own, and need escapism. When it comes to dealing with the unpleasant reality of addiction, however, they often profess a need to do it all on their own, rather than seek professional help.
Addiction to alcohol is not something to escape on one's own. Sobriety is not a matter of willpower. Addiction is a mental disorder that can only get better with the right kind of medical, psychiatric and psychological treatment.
What are signs of alcohol addiction in your loved one that most disturb you? Whatever they are, you should speak to an expert about them. A search for the right kind of scientific, medical treatment is a step in the right direction. A talk with a counselor can bring great clarity.