In the United States, more than 10 million people were reported to have alcohol use disorder. One does not need to say more to illustrate the prevalence of alcoholism and how serious of an issue it is. As such, it is necessary that you educate yourself more on such a serious issue so that you can help someone you know who, God forbid, might be heading towards alcoholism.
Alcoholism does not work like the flu. You can’t wake up one day and be an alcoholic. There are stages that one goes through that builds the dependence on alcohol and the earlier you recognize the stages, the better chance you have of curbing the problem.
These alcoholism stages include a wide set of behaviors and last a long period of time. So you need to keep a watchful eye to ensure you’ve got all the signs correct.
BINGE DRINKING AND GRADUAL INCREASED TOLERANCE
Binge drinking does not mean drinking every night. It means the consumption is rapid and also frequent. If you’re looking for a strict parameter to identify, then it would be 5 to 6 drinks every 2 hours for men, and 4 to 5 drinks for women. Again, they need not do it frequently, but if that is the consumption whenever they do drink, then there is a problem.
With time, you will also notice that while the amount might not reduce, the tolerance will increase. Your friend could drink 5 pints of beer and he’ll look and act as if he’s just finished his first drink fo the night.
Along with consumption, you should also try to note if alcohol plays a part whenever the person is going through a problematic time. They could be using alcohol to help cope with stress at work or need alcohol just to be able to talk to people at a party. This gradually turns into erratic behavior, a change in social circle, and relationship issues.
In fact, the term “problem drinker” comes from the fact that drinking is literally causing problems in different aspects of a person’s personality and lifestyle. This slowly turns into heightened anxiety and depression, with disturbances in sleep patterns.
PHYSICAL DEPENDENCE AND ADDICTION
The final stage of alcoholism is often the hardest to watch. Physical dependence develops and the person will start to experience withdrawal symptoms the longer they do not consume alcohol. These symptoms can include nausea, sweating, irritability, insomnia, increased heartbeat, and even body tremors.
Along with the physical dependence also comes the psychological dependence, with the affected person’s belief that they “need” alcohol for each and every situation. It’s more the stimulation that these people chase, as they tend to abuse other substances at this stage along with alcohol.
While not strictly a stage of alcoholism itself, treatment can be the final stage for an alcoholic. There are places where people can get help and there are many success stories in recovery. One just needs to find the willpower to recognize the problem and then get the help they need.