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Alcoholism is a serious medical disease. But because of the fact that drinking alcohol is a very common social activity, it can be hard to determine who’s abusing alcohol and who’s just having a great time. Not to mention that there are also high functioning alcoholics—the whole thing just gets more and more confusing.

So how do you know if someone is an alcoholic? Here are the signs and symptoms you should look out for. Watch out for these, especially if you think one of your loved ones is an alcoholic.

Signs of Intoxication

Just because someone is intoxicated, doesn’t automatically mean they are an alcoholic. Overconsumption of alcohol can lead to intoxication—but not all people who black out after binging are alcoholics.

The signs of overconsumption are easily recognizable: slurred speech, clumsiness, delayed reflexes, facial redness, vomiting, and blacking out.

Now consider this: even if you are not an alcoholic, it is possible to reach a life threatening level of intoxication. The respiratory system can become depressed, and the person will stop breathing.

Signs of Alcoholism

You can tell that a person is alcoholic if they can no longer control their intake. They will drink alone, or in the middle of the day. They don’t know how much is too much. And they will try to drink all of their problems away—on a daily basis. Every single thing that stresses them out will be managed by drinking.

Alcoholism doesn’t happen overnight. It happens with increased frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption. Someone who is abusing alcohol will make it a central activity of their life. It can displace healthy relationships. They will even lose interest in hobbies that used to make them happy.

They may begin prioritizing alcohol over their professional obligations and family responsibilities.

An alcoholic is more likely to indulge in dangerous and illegal behaviors. They may get in trouble with the law, or get into an accident.

Signs of Alcohol Dependence

Untreated alcohol abuse can eventually lead to addiction. Long term abuse of alcoholic drinks can make a person dependent. When a person is physically dependent on alcohol, it means that their body has already adapted to the substance’s presence. Removing the substance from the system will cause a violent reaction.

At this point, the person will have little control over the amount they consume. Obtaining and consuming alcohol will become the predominant focus of their life.

Their tolerance will increase, and so they will begin to feel like they need to drink even more. They will repeatedly attempt to reduce their alcohol consumption—and they will repeatedly fail due to withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings. Alcohol abuse will develop into addiction.

Signs of Withdrawal

Attempting to quit on their own may cause severe withdrawal symptoms. It puts them at risk of serious medical consequences. They need proper medical supervision during the detox process if they want to drop their drinking habits safely.

Common withdrawal symptoms associated with alcoholism are tremors, convulsions, anxiety, seizures, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, and hallucinations.

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Alcoholism can cause irreversible damage to critical organs in the body such as the liver, the heart, the stomach, and the brain.

An intervention can go a long way in making the person realize that they have a drinking problem. They should see that their drinking habits are affecting their loved ones too. As difficult as it may seem, alcoholism can be beaten, and they can get sober again. You just have to support them all the way.

Look for an alcohol addiction treatment center near you today.

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