Alcoholism is a chronic disease that will affect a person for an entire lifetime. There are four main symptoms that are present when someone is dealing with alcohol dependence (a.k.a. alcoholism):
- Craving – having a strong need, or urge, to drink alcohol
- Loss of control – not able to stop drinking once drinking has started
- Physical dependence – Withdrawal symptoms (nausea, sweating, shakiness and anxiety) after drinking has stopped
- Tolerance – Need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to get “high”.
If you think you might have a problem, below are four helpful questions to ask yourself:
- Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
- Have you been annoyed if others expressed concerned about your drinking?
- Have you ever felt guilty about your drinking?
- Have you ever had to drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?
Answering yes to one of these questions suggests a possible problem. More than one “yes” means it’s very likely that you have a problem with your drinking.
If you want more information for yourself, or someone you love, check out the Mayo Clinic’s website info on alcoholism or the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism .