Alcohol Abuse Symptoms and
Alcohol abuse is not to be confused with alcoholism. Those
who abuse alcohol are not necessarily addicted to alcohol;
however, prolonged excessive use could eventually lead to
alcoholism. Alcohol abusers do not possess a dependence on
alcohol, but usually drink more than is considered healthy.
Distinguishing alcohol abuse symptoms from alcoholism can
be tricky. How do we know if a person is just enjoying a good
time or if the alcohol consumption is taking over their life?
Fortunately, there are ways to recognize the signs of alcohol
abuse and seek help before it becomes too late.
Alcohol abuse symptoms
Many people wonder about recognizing the early signs of alcohol
abuse. These can include: sneaking drinks, gulping first drinks,
frequent memory blanks while engaging in drinking, unwillingness
to discuss drinking habits, and feelings of guilt over drinking.
An alcohol abuser will demonstrate a pattern of excessive
drinking and usually sets out to drink in order to feel the
“high” that excessive alcohol ingestion brings.
Other common alcohol abuse symptoms can include: often turning
up late for work or school due to hangovers, frequent injuries
that occur during times of excessive drinking, trouble with
the authorities for drinking and driving or aggressive behavior.
Physical signs of alcohol abuse are drunkenness, drowsiness,
slurred speech, short attention span, uncoordinated movements,
memory problems, and aggression.
Knowing the signs
Many people who routinely abuse alcohol believe that it is
not a big deal and that they can control their habit. Most
of them do not recognize alcohol abuse symptoms and may need
outside help in acknowledging the problem. The following is
a series of questions to help you detect whether you or a
loved one may have an issue with alcohol abuse.
- Have you missed work or school more than once due to
- Have you become angry when others have commented on or
criticized your drinking habits?
- Have you felt that you should curb your drinking?
- Have you decided to reduce your drinking and found that
- Have you exhibited overly aggressive behavior under the
influence of alcohol (i.e. getting into fights)?
- Have you encountered problems with the authorities in
situations when you were drinking?
- Have you had sexual experiences while under the influence
of alcohol that caused you to be regretful?
- Do you “binge drink” on a regular basis (four
or more drinks for women and more than five for men)?
- Do you have “blackout” periods whereby you
cannot remember certain instances while you were drinking
- Is excessive drinking a normal part of your weekly social
If the answer is ‘yes’ to the majority of these
questions, then there is most likely alcohol abuse.
Effects of Alcohol Abuse
Physically, excessive drinking can cause certain cancers,
such as those of the throat, esophagus, larynx and liver.
It can also cause liver cirrhosis, brain damage, problems
with the immune system, and damage to a fetus during pregnancy.
Excessive alcohol consumption also increases the risks for
automobile accidents and on-the-job accidents. Alcohol abuse
can be a detriment not only to your health, but also to your
personal relationships, your job or schooling, and can even
get you in trouble with the law.
Since an alcohol abuser is not necessarily an alcoholic, that
is, not addicted to alcohol, he/she may respond favorably
to loved ones who express concern over the drinking issue,
and may choose to curb the abusive behavior. However, consulting
a healthcare professional about excessive drinking can improve
the chances of solving the problem. They can advise you on
seminars or meetings, refer you to a support group, and talk
to you about limiting or abstaining from drinking. They will
provide information on specific alcohol abuse symptoms and
the effects of excessive alcohol consumption on the body.
A medical doctor will generally give you a physical exam and
a mental health assessment. It is to your benefit to always
be honest with your doctor; it is imperative to tell the complete
truth regarding your symptoms and drinking behaviors in order
for a professional to be able to help you.
Loved ones are a key resource; they are usually first to
recognize alcohol abuse symptoms and can provide invaluable
support to help you cope with alcohol abuse. An important
factor in abstaining from alcohol abuse is to avoid situations
where alcohol abuse is made easy.
Written by Ronnie Evans
Ronnie Evans writes articles about drug
rehabilitation to help those who are addicted to drugs. DrugRehabAdvice.org