What is considered alcoholism?
For most of us who aren’t trained to detect its symptoms, one of the biggest challenges of understanding alcoholism lies between the blurred lines of what most of us consider to be a “social drinker,” a “heavy drinker” and an “alcoholic.” It’s hard to know when a person’s behavior crosses those lines, and sometimes it’s even more difficult to admit when you’re involved in a committed relationship with the person. What are the symptoms of alcoholism.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol use disorder, or AUD, is a diagnosable medical condition in which an individual’s alcohol consumption causes harm or distress. The AUD most people are familiar with is alcoholism. Symptoms of alcoholism include:
Craving: a strong need, or compulsion, to drink.
Loss of control: the inability to limit one’s drinking on any given occasion.
4 primary symptoms of alcoholism
Tolerance: the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol in order to get high.
Physical dependence: withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness and anxiety, occur when alcohol use is stopped after a period of heavy drinking.
Additionally, serious dependence can lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms including convulsions, starting eight to twelve hours after the last drink. The delirium tremens (D.T.’s) begins three to four days later where the person becomes extremely agitated, shakes, hallucinates and loses touch with reality.
If you are concerned that your spouse may be exhibiting symptoms of alcoholism, you can suggest getting an alcohol assessment to determine the extent of the drinking problem. Many alcohol abusers are able to hide their disease from health care professionals. In addition, family members often deny or downplay the addiction. These denials may make it easier to manage the situation in the short term, but they may cause a delay in the alcoholic getting the critical medical or clinical treatment he or she needs.