Alcohol Addiction

What is alcohol addiction? Alcohol addiction as defined by WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University is habitual intoxication; prolonged and excessive intake of alcoholic drinks leading to a breakdown in health and an addiction to alcohol such that abrupt deprivation leads to severe withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol addiction is developed over time through repeated overuse. For some people, use drinking as a coping mechanism when they become stressed. Researchers believe that imbalanced stress hormones play a part in the development of alcohol addiction. An underdeveloped coping mechanism leads some people to abuse alcohol to deal with extreme feelings. Without proper coping skills, many people turn to alcohol when they become depressed or fearful. Peer pressure is another big reason a person might begin drinking.  

The signs of alcohol addiction are if a person cannot stop drinking after one drink even though they had every intention of stopping after one. A person addicted to alcohol will many times drink alone. They will drink anywhere and at anytime and may also try to hide the fact that they are drinking. They also will have a very real physical dependency on alcohol. The need for a drink will almost always be present. It will be the first thought in the morning, the last thought at night and with every thought in between.

Alcohol addiction symptoms are both physical and mental and often vary a great deal from one person to the next. The initial symptom of alcohol addiction is denying there is a problem.

The most common physical symptoms of alcohol addiction are blacking out (passing out from too much alcohol), weight loss, redness in the face and slurred speech accompanied by dizziness or clumsiness. Other physical symptoms may include unexplained upset or sore stomach and tingling or numbness in the hands and feet. Withdrawal symptoms---nausea, shaking and sweating---are usually present when alcohol is withheld.

The mental symptoms of alcohol addiction include inability to control drinking (can't stop with just one drink), increased irritability and agitation, and extreme emotional outbursts. A person with an addiction to alcohol build up a tolerance to alcohol, which means it takes greater amounts of alcohol to produce the same feeling. They also tend to avoid activities that don't provide an opportunity to drink and may have difficulty making commitments. People with alcohol dependence tend to be absent from work often, oversleep often or have difficulty sleeping.

Other symptoms of alcohol addiction include drinking alone or in secret, losing interest in normal activities and hobbies, and hiding alcohol in unusual places. People addicted to alcohol often have legal problems and may experience trouble with relationships, employment or finances.

Alcohol addiction can be handled so the person is back in control of their life. They will probably need outside help. Alcohol addiction is difficult to beat on ones’ own. Research the options that are out and take away the devastation of alcohol addiction.