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There are various indications and symptoms associated with drinking problems. Alcoholism is likened to a progressive disease. This means that effects and symptoms increase and become more severe over time. People who use alcohol may start to show premature signs of a problem, then go on to show symptoms of alcohol abuse. If they continue drinking, they may eventually show symptoms of alcoholism or alcohol dependency.

If you have a problem with alcohol or have alcoholism, it may be difficult to reduce your intake or quit without assistance. Ignoring that you have a problem with alcohol is normally part of the disease of alcoholism and other types of extreme drinking.

Early on Signs of a Problem

Early signs of alcoholism consist of recurrent intoxication, a habit of heavy drinking and drinking in hazardous conditions like driving. Further early alcoholism signs include blackout from drinking or a dramatic change in manner when drinking, such as consistently becoming belligerent or violent.

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

The primary sign of alcohol abuse happens when a person consistently drinks after their drinking comes to the point that it causes continuous problems. When a person continues to drink even when it causes them to miss work, when they drive drunk, neglect their responsibilities to family and loved ones, or get into trouble with the law, this is looked upon as alcohol abuse.

The Diagnostic and Statistical-Manual of Mental Disorders characterizes alcohol abuse as a person who drinks despite alcohol associated occupational, psychological, social, and physical problems. The World Health Organization's ICD, International-Classification of Diseases describes the "harmful use" of alcohol, or drinking that develops into mental or physical damage in the absence of alcohol dependence, as destructive use of alcohol.

Symptoms of Alcoholism

The symptoms of a person, who is alcohol dependent or an alcoholic, entail all things linked to alcohol abuse listed above. However, alcoholics insist on drinking in spite of all the difficulties drinking alcohol is causing in their lives. After alcohol abuse reaches the alcohol dependence level, the individual will go through a minimum of three to seven additional symptoms like overlooking other activities, extreme usage of alcohol, unrelenting use of alcohol, lack of control of alcohol, too much time used up in alcohol linked behaviors, and tolerance and withdrawal symptoms of alcohol.

Causes of Alcoholism

Alcoholism is determined by social and environmental, psychological, and genetic factors that have an effect on how it influences your body and behavior. The steps to becoming addicted to alcohol happens slowly, even though some individuals have an abnormal reaction to alcohol from the moment they start drinking. In due course, drinking too much can alter the "normal balance" of chemicals and nerve paths in the brain linked with the feeling of pleasure, decisions, and the ability to have control over the alcohol related behavior. This can result in the individual craving alcohol to reinstate positive feelings or to eliminate negative ones.

Alcoholism Risk Factors Include:

  • Mixing concoctions with alcohol and medications: Some medications combine with alcohol, escalating its toxic effects. Drinking with various medications can increase or reduce their effectiveness, or make them lethal.
  • Social and environmental factors: Associates and close companions who drink heavily can increase risk of alcoholism. The media also has an influence when it portrays drinking alcohol as something glamorous. It sends the message that there is nothing wrong with drinking too much alcohol, and that it can solve life's problems.
  • Family history: The dangers of alcoholism is intensified for individuals with a parent or additional close relatives who have issues with alcohol.
  • Age: Individuals who start drinking at an early age are more prone to becoming dependent on alcohol or becoming a problem drinker.
  • Continual drinking over time: Drinking excessively on a continuous basis for a long period of time, or binge drinking consistently can create a physical dependence on alcohol.
  • Depression and additional mental health problems: It is not unusual for individuals with mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, or bipolar-disorder to have difficulties with alcohol or other substances.

Tests and Diagnosis

Other than a doctor asking questions regarding drinking habits, having the person fill out a questionnaire, or asking permission to speak with family and friends, there are no exact tests to identify alcoholism. However, a person may need further tests for health issues that may be associated to alcohol use.