To outward appearances the difference between alcohol abuse symptoms and alcohol dependency, better known as alcoholism, may be indistinguishable but between the two conditions, lies a fine line that once crossed cannot be retracted. Left unattended alcohol abuse may progress to become a brain disease – alcoholism. Once alcoholic a person can never return to controlled drinking. This article will help you to clarify whether you or a loved are experiencing alcohol abuse symptoms. Whilst the final diagnosis is best made by a qualified addictions counsellor or similar professional we hope to shed some light for family and friends of those with an alcohol abuse problem.
If you or someone you know exhibits the alcohol abuse symptoms listed below then almost certainly the individual is at risk and may be in need of professional alcoholic treatment. If you feel this is the case, please call us to arrange an immediate alcohol abuse assessment.
The DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV published by the American Psychiatric Association) defines alcohol abuse symptoms as:
1. A maladaptive (unhealthy, sick) pattern of alcohol abuse leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by one (or more) of the following, occurring within a 12-month period:
- Recurrent alcohol use resulting in failure to fulfil major role obligations at work, school, or home (e.g., repeated absences or poor work performance related to alcohol abuse; alcohol-related absences, suspensions or expulsions from school, work or home; or neglect of children, household or other responsibilities).
- Recurrent alcohol abuse in situations in which it is physically hazardous (e.g., driving an automobile or operating a machine).
- Recurrent alcohol-related legal problems (e.g., arrests for alcohol-related disorderly conduct).
- Continued alcohol use despite persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of the alcohol (e.g., arguments with spouse about consequences of intoxication or physical fights).
2. The patient exhibiting these symptoms must never have met the criteria for alcohol dependence.
Another good indicator of abnormal drinking with the potential to be termed abuse is when you begin to worry about someone else’s drinking. If you’re concerned that their alcohol abuse may be spiralling out of control, chances are there’s a problem.
Normal drinkers rarely raise concern amongst their family and friends about their drinking habits. Again if you’re not sure, seek guidance from alcohol and addiction professionals. If nothing else exploring whether your loved one has an alcohol abuse problem will put your mind at ease and it may be the step you need to take before things become worse.
This brief “Cage Questionnaire” is framed more for the person displaying alcohol abuse symptoms and is another reliable indicator of alcohol-related problems:
C: Have you ever felt that you should Cut down on your drinking?
A: Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
G: Have you ever felt bad or Guilty about your drinking?
E: Have you ever had an Eye opener – a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover
One “yes” answer indicates a risk for Alcohol Abuse and/or dependence alcohol use problems; more than one “yes” indicates a high likelihood. Alcoholism is a treatable but non curable, life threatening, illness. It has severe consequences for the alcoholic, the family and friends of the alcoholic and society at large.
While alcohol abuse does not always develop into alcoholism, alcohol abuse is by no means healthy nor should it be confused with normal social drinking behaviours. Alcohol abuse is a problem. Like alcoholism, it’s a problem that can bring about severe life-changing consequences leading to; legal problems, relationship disputes and divorce, problems with work and career, social problems and severe health problems, both physical and psychological.
Beginning to deal with alcohol abuse symptoms or confronting a loved one with a drinking problem is never easy. It can be frightening and overwhelming. Not surprisingly many people feel too embarrassed or ashamed to seek help. We understand these emotions and how they can paralyse you. In fact we understand quite a lot about alcohol abuse symptoms and the disease of alcoholism, in all its many shapes and guises. We strongly encourage you to give us a call today. Let us help you to find a way forward. We can help you to find options that suit your situation, location and budget. We’re friendly, non-judgemental, sympathetic and knowledgeable.
If you’re not sure whether you or a loved one is showing alcohol abuse symptoms or suffering with some other addiction problem, call us, we can help you to devise a plan that will clarify the best way forward. We’re on hand to receive your call right now…What could be more important than dealing with these alcohol abuse symptoms?