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Alcoholism - Overview

Alcoholism is a wide spread disease. The very accessibility as well as social acceptance makes alcohol one of the main substances which cause both physical and mental addiction. It is not so hard to recognize symptoms and signs of alcoholism. The person suffering from this addiction has a problem to admit addiction and often refuses to undergo treatment.

It is not unusual that many people drink occasionally. Social drinking generally does not lead to imminent abuse and dependence. However, if one starts to drink every day especially if the amount of taken alcohol increases the person will soon develop addiction.

People start to drink due to many reasons. Some of them try to escape from the unpleasant things in their lives while others enjoy the feeling alcohol 'offers'. Alcoholism is more common in people who have a family history of alcoholism. It is also more frequent among people with anti-social behavior as well as in those who have experienced a transforming life event.

Symptoms and Signs of Alcoholism

Initially symptoms and signs are not so clear. However, as the person becomes more addicted specific changes become more evident.

Quick screen tool for alcohol addiction is CAGE test. This is a test which can successfully assess symptoms and signs of alcoholism. This is only one of many tests performed in purpose of determination whether a person is an alcoholic or not.

The basis of CAGE test includes four brief questions which can identify alcohol abuse and dependence. If a person answers YES to one of these questions there is a possibility he/ she has a problem with alcohol. If a person answers with YES to 2 or more questions this points to a high risk of alcohol abuse/ dependence. The questions used in CAGE test are only guidelines and they are not used as diagnostic criteria.

CAGE questions investigate whether a person has ever felt the need to cut down on alcohol consumption, whether a person is annoyed when people question his/her habits, whether a person feels guilty about alcohol use and whether a person has even used alcohol as an eye opener to recover from a hangover.

Some signs of alcoholism are typical and they include cravings for alcohol (a person simply cannot cope with a desire for alcohol), loss of control (a person cannot control the driving compulsion to drink), physical dependence (anxiety, irritability, nausea and tremor-physical changes which can be dealt with only with drinking even more) and increasing tolerance (the need of a person to drink more than he/ she used to drink before).

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