What is Alcoholism? When is a Person Considered to be an Alcoholic?

What is Alcoholism? When is a Person Considered to be an Alcoholic?

Alcoholism is one of the main addictive disorders present in our country, and at present, it is a real public health problem both because of the affectation it has on the person who suffers it and on their family and social environment.


This type of pathology is associated with a series of very characteristic symptoms and classic signs that can be used as guidelines to know if a person has alcoholism or not.

Of course, although many of these symptoms are usually superficially recognized by anyone, it is important to clarify that the diagnosis of alcohol use disorder can only be made by health professionals.

What is taken into account to know if a person has developed alcoholism?

Here you will find the signs and symptoms that psychology professionals establish as the main indicators of a case of alcoholism.

1. Dangerous use and consumption

The most visible characteristic of alcohol addiction is the excessive use of this substance for a long time and even reaching levels that can endanger your health both physically and mentally.

A sudden change in the way of consuming alcoholic beverages, as well as in the relationship of the person with alcohol both outside and inside the home can be a very useful indicator to identify that there is a problem of addiction to alcohol.

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On the other hand, alcohol consumption does not have to lead the person to a state of clear intoxication for it to be considered that there is an addiction (for example, there are profiles of people who constantly need to drink a little: delta-type alcoholics ).

2. Impact on social relationships

The continued consumption of alcohol affects all areas of a person’s life, and especially how they relate to their closest environment, that is, to friends, family, and loved ones.

This affectation usually translates into greater conflict with friends, the partner, or the person’s family, which usually ends with progressive social isolation and a loss of the relationship in the short or long term.

When you begin to notice specific effects on relationship skills or have interpersonal relationship problems that did not exist before, we may be talking about a case of alcoholism.

3. Withdrawal syndrome

The withdrawal syndrome is another of the essential characteristics that people with alcohol use disorder present and it is based on a series of very recognizable physical and psychological symptoms.

The main physical symptoms that occur in a person with withdrawal syndrome are chills, excessive sweating, tremors, nausea, headache, rapid heart rate, or dehydration.

On the other hand, the main psychological symptoms are usually anxiety, irritability, hallucinations, agitation, or delirium tremens.

4. Tolerance

The phenomenon of tolerance takes place in addition to any type of addictive toxic substances and occurs when the person needs to increase the levels of ingested alcohol to achieve the same effects of intoxication in the body, once consumption is continued.

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It is another of the unequivocal signs and warning signs that indicate a case of alcoholism and it is highly dangerous because it promotes an increasing consumption of alcohol in the affected person.

5. Alteration inhabits

Continued consumption of alcohol can also significantly alter a person’s lifestyle, to the point of leaving aside the activities one normally did to focus exclusively on drinking.

This usually means that the person with alcohol addiction begins to significantly modify the practice of daily activities that previously satisfied them, or that they stop doing them.

In the same way, it usually happens that a person with alcoholism begins to develop activities related only to alcohol consumption, such as always being at the bar or drinking alcohol in any place or situation in which they are.


6. Breach of obligations

This change in habits also translates into a complete disregard for any responsibility that the person in question may have before developing an addiction to alcohol.

People who have a case of alcoholism tend to put aside work, family, personal or emotional obligations with their closest environment since alcohol becomes the center of their new life.

7. Failed attempts to quit

Many people with alcohol addiction tend to go through different attempts to quit the addiction without obtaining positive results, a fact that causes them to enter a spiral of frustration and discomfort that usually causes a greater need to continue drinking.

This usually happens when the person decides to quit on their own or tries to moderate their consumption, something impossible when they have an addiction of this type.

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That is why it is so necessary to request the services of a specialist since only a professional specializing in addictive behaviors can help us overcome this problem.

8. Health problems

Continued addiction to alcohol is related to a wide variety of physical and psychological problems that endanger the state of health of the person daily.

Some of the main physical or psychological disorders associated with alcohol consumption and addiction are heart disease, stroke, depression, digestive problems, cirrhosis, and various types of cancer.

9. New social relationships in the addiction environment

As has been indicated, people with alcohol addiction tend to change old habits and activities that they previously developed normally, and adopt new ways of relating to the environment.

As a result of the repeated consumption of alcohol, changes usually occur at the level of activities and also in the people with whom these activities are carried out since it is common for a change of friends to occur and people who may have the same problem begin to frequent.

10. Exposing yourself to dangerous situations

Finally, another characteristic that usually indicates a case of alcoholism is the habitual exposure to dangerous or criminal situations without the person being aware that they are putting their lives and that of others at risk.

Some examples of this phenomenon can be driving under the influence of alcohol, carrying out criminal activities, or having unprotected sex with strangers.


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