Alcoholism is a chronic drinking disease, characterized by uncontrollable urges to drink, a complete lack of power over the amount of alcohol consumed, and an overwhelming preoccupation with drinking and getting drunk. Somewhere near 18 million American citizens currently struggle with alcohol dependency disorders. These disorders range from alcohol abuse to physical alcohol dependence – though all alcohol-related disorders cause immense amounts of stress and destruction within the lives of those afflicted. There are four main characteristics of alcohol dependency that those afflicted will likely experience:

Loss of control over intake.

Once an alcoholic individual begins drinking, he or she will lose control over the amount of alcohol consumed. For example, he or she may set out to drink one or two beers after work with his or her friends, and find it impossible to stop after one after the initial alcoholic beverage has been consumed.

Intense cravings.

An alcoholic individual will likely find that much of his or her time is spend thinking about obtaining and using alcohol. Psychological and physical cravings will often become so intense that they will overwhelm the individual, and he or she will feel as is drinking is a necessity.

Actual dependence (physical).

Physical dependence becomes apparent when withdrawal symptoms are experienced after an abrupt cessation of use. Those who are undergoing withdrawal may experience symptoms as slight as trembling hands and a moderate headache.

Increased tolerance.

Over time, an addicted individual will need to consume greater quantities of alcohol in order to experience the same physical and emotional effects.

Alcohol abuse disorders typically lead to a host of consequences, ranging from a decline in performance in work to serious damage done to interpersonal relationships and an accumulation of severe legal issues. Alcoholism is a highly progressive disease, meaning that even those who are not currently experiencing severe consequences as a result of their drinking patterns are still at risk of losing everything somewhere down the line. If you have been struggling with controlling your drinking, it is a wise idea to seek professional help as quickly as possible. Alcoholism is a chronic disease – one that will inevitably worsen over time if left untreated.

Are You an Alcoholic?

There are several differing forms of alcoholism. Many men and women who struggle with alcoholic drinking patterns will fail to recognize that they are headed down the road towards alcoholism, seeing as they have distinctive and limited ideas of what ‘alcoholic’ behavior truly is. Many believe that an alcoholic is an old homeless man in a trench coat, drinking cheap liquor out of a brown paper bag under an overpass. While this can be true, it is not always the case. Some alcoholics are successful and seemingly unaffected businessmen or businesswomen, who manage to keep their drinking patterns hidden from all colleagues and family members. They may only drink after getting off work at 5, and may not experience any outwardly apparent consequences for years and years. There are also binge drinkers – men and women who may not drink every night; who may not even drink on a regular basis at all. However, when they do drink, they may find it impossible to discontinue drinking before blacking out, and may wake up several days later confused and disoriented.

If you or someone you love is battling an alcohol abuse disorder or potential alcohol dependency, seeking outside help is absolutely pertinent. Heavy drinking can cause significant health damage to the afflicted individual, and will inevitably cause an array of other outside issues pertaining to work, school, interpersonal relationships, and home life. For more information on alcoholism and to find out what steps to take in order to seek help, please contact one of our trained representatives today.