Most people would say that they can recognize when a loved one is living with alcoholism but if you asked them to define it, they might have a more difficult time putting this type of addiction into words.
Signs of Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a severe pattern of behavior that was called alcohol addiction and alcohol dependence at one point. It includes having a tolerance for alcohol, which means having to drink more to get the desired effect, or experiencing withdrawal symptoms if a person goes for too long without a drink.
An alcoholic has trouble drinking in moderation, even if they plan to “take it easy” on a particular occasion. Once they start drinking, they drink more alcohol or drink longer than they had originally planned.
Another sign of alcoholism is when someone spends a lot of time and effort procuring, using or recovering from their alcohol consumption. A person in this situation continues to drink in spite of negative consequences their alcohol use is having in their life.
An alcoholic may run into problems at work or school due to drinking (absenteeism, difficulties getting along with peers or supervisors or teachers), personal relationships may suffer, they may have financial difficulties from drinking, alcohol use may have an adverse effect on their health, they put themselves at increased risk of injuring themselves from falls while drunk and someone who drives after drinking is a hazard to others while on the road.
Alcoholism is not a weakness of character or a pattern of bad behavior that a person chooses to engage in over months or years. It is considered to be a disease which affects over 16 million adults in the US, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH). Young people are not immune from becoming alcoholics, either. The NIH released statistics indicating that an estimated 697,000 people aged 12-17 had an alcohol addiction. This figure was made up of 385,000 females and 311,000 males.