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What are the warning signs of alcoholism? What should you look for to determine if you or someone you know is dependent on alcohol? Here are few questions to help decide if an individual is in need of intervention measures:
  • Does the individual have headaches or experience hangovers after a drinking binge?
  • Is the individual ever late for work because of drinking?
  • Does the individual's drinking cause his or her family to worry?
  • Is the individual an emotional drinker?
  • Does the individual drink alone when he or she feels angry or sad?
  • Have people criticized the person's drinking?
  • Do the person feel bad or guilty about drinking?
  • Does the individual ever forget what he or she did while drinking?
  • Does the individual drink early in the morning to calm his or her nerves?
  • Has the person ever tried to reduce his or her drinking frequency?
Answering yes to any of those questions would signify that there are some issues surrounding alcohol that need to be dealt with. None of them are definitive by themselves but they all deserve some attention.

Alcoholism is a substance dependence disease characterized by several elements that qualify it as a disease and not just a state of being. These elements include:
  • Strong cravings that create a desire for the individual to drink even when the situation doesn’t warrant it.
  • Withdrawal symptoms that occur when the individual cannot get alcohol into his or her system that include nausea, nervousness and profuse sweating. Often these symptoms subside once alcohol gets into the bloodstream.
  • There is a significant loss of mental and physical control once the person starts drinking. He or she very rarely remembers what he or she did, where he or she did it or who he or she was with. The mental state is greatly inhibited when the person is intoxicated.
  • There is a constant search for the individual to experience another alcoholic high, even stronger than the last one. The person will often consume larger and larger amounts of alcohol each time in pursuit of a completely inebriated state.
People who are dependent upon alcohol lack the necessary will power or control to just simply “stop.” They are unable to escape the craving that their bodies experience when they want a drink. This is why alcoholism is described as an illness.

While some people are able to recover without help, the majority of alcoholic individuals need outside assistance to recover from their disease. With support and treatment, many individuals are able to stop drinking and rebuild their lives.

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