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The Transition House Blog

What are the Signs of Alcoholism?

Posted by Jennifer Dellasanta on Feb 17, 2015 8:54:05 AM

Bob’s daughter had the lead in a school play, but the 1st grader couldn’t find her father in the audience because he was at a bar drinking with his buddies.

Nancy and her husband have been fighting a lot lately because he thinks she spends too much of their time together intoxicated.

Frank wondered why he was making more frequent stops at the store to buy wine. After all, he was just de-stressing after a hard day at the office.

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Bob, Nancy and Frank may have vastly different lives, but they have one thing in common – signs of alcoholism.

There is a difference between alcoholism – which is sometimes called alcohol dependence or alcohol use disorder (a medical diagnosis of this disease)  and alcohol abuse. Alcoholism is the most severe form of problem drinking and involves all the symptoms of alcohol abuse, but also involves another element: a physical dependence on alcohol.

A person who is abusing alcohol may be able set some limits for their use of the substance. However, as with any substance abuse, continued abuse of alcohol can develop into alcoholism. Over time, a person will build up a tolerance to any substance and need more of that substance to reach the same level of intoxication. Bob, Nancy and Frank are showing some of the typical signs of alcoholism or alcohol dependence, but there are others.

  • Using alcohol while at work or driving a car.
  • Frequent arrests for fights, DUI or domestic abuse.
  • Vowing to quit drinking, but can’t.
  • Becoming anxious or irritable when not drinking alcohol.
  • Not remembering events or frequent blackouts.

Alcoholics Anonymous has developed a list of 12 questions for determining whether or not you have a problem with alcohol. If you answer yes to at least four of the questions, you probably do have an alcohol problem.

Some behaviors, like binge drinking or drinking every day, increase the risk of becoming an alcoholic or alcohol dependent.

"How can I overcome alcoholism?" is a frequently asked question, and while there is no cure for alcoholism or alcohol dependence, we are here to help.


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Topics: Substance Abuse, Alcohol Dependence

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The Transition House is a behavioral health organization serving the public in Florida and Tennessee.

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