Alcoholism, like other addictions, manifests itself in a quite subjective way and at first difficult to assess not only by outsiders, but also by the addict himself. Even the first glance at the symptoms that are described for the first or second phase of alcohol addiction (pre-alcohol and warning) may give food for thought.
Many people at this stage, although their addiction will be stronger, will seemingly look like people drinking alcohol occasionally. Therefore, observations here are significantly more difficult. So what are the symptoms of addiction and how to recognize an alcoholic, even in the initial stages of addiction?
4 Phases of Alcoholism – Basic Symptoms of Addiction
According to the official classification used in medicine, psychology and addiction treatment centers, the symptoms of alcoholism can be divided into four phases of the course of alcoholism, which increase with the progression of addiction.
The initial, pre-alcohol phase is mainly psychological symptoms that will be practically imperceptible to an outside observer. The alcoholic will drink here like people who drink alcohol occasionally, i.e. at parties, birthdays or with friends.
The difference between a person falling into addiction and a healthy one, however, will be the mental approach – for a potential alcoholic, drinking will be particularly pleasant and relaxing, and therefore he will start to treat alcohol as a means of improving mood, bad mood or de-stressing. Such people may subconsciously create opportunities to drink for themselves more often.
The warning phase is the next stage in the worsening of alcoholism symptoms, at which memory gaps or so-called “Breaking the film” after consuming larger amounts of alcohol. In people who should be referred to as addicts at this stage, you can also notice:
- a tendency to accelerate the pace of drinking, e.g. during a party,
- a significant change in behavior under the influence of alcohol,
- a desire to drink secretly and alone, also to “season up” before the party.
The alcoholic may feel guilty about his drinking at this stage, though he is yet to admit that he may actually be addicted.
The critical phase is a fairly serious and advanced state of alcoholism, in which the addicted person loses control over drinking. People in this phase are most often aware of their addiction and become highly oversensitive about it – they perceive critical remarks towards excessive drinking as aggression, reacting negatively, and often trying to forcefully prove that they have no problem at all and can give up drinking at all. moment.
Short periods of abstinence, however, are purely a test of strength, which always ends in a return to drinking. The most important symptoms are the ordering of life in terms of drinking, neglect of work, family and social life, and the physical symptoms of craving for alcohol.
The chronic phase is the last stage of alcoholism, in which all remorse and inhibitions lose to the irresistible need to reach for another dose of alcohol. The time of the day, the occasion, or even the drink the alcoholic reaches for does not matter anymore.
Drinking also affects health here, reducing intellectual functions, reducing mobility, causing frequent headaches or vomiting due to the temporary withdrawal of alcohol.
What To Look For When Looking For Symptoms Of Alcoholism In Relatives
Many obvious symptoms of alcoholism will be visible only after long observation of the addicted person and knowledge of his normal behavior, on the basis of which abnormalities can be judged. However, there are signs that we can pay attention to even when we are not with the alcoholic on a daily basis:
- increased tolerance to alcohol,
- alcohol craving manifested, inter alia, in the physical effects of withdrawal and the need to “wedge” with another drink,
- concentration of life on drinking,
- no control over the amount of alcohol consumed,
- recurrent depressive states.
It is also worth paying attention to the appearance of the person in whom we suspect an addiction – alcoholics dehydrate much faster, which often makes their skin dull, and wrinkles and skin defects more pronounced. Moreover, an alcoholic is easily recognized by a severely swollen face and redness caused by dilated blood vessels.
Alcohol And Other Addictions – How To Recognize An Addiction?
Any addiction to substances that are toxic to the body is dangerous, and although all of them have slightly different symptoms, some changes in behavior, the approach to the drug itself or the appearance of the addict will be obvious regardless of what he or she is taking.