As increasing numbers of individuals experience various symptoms of alcoholism, more and more people are asking how they can better cope with or significantly reduce these symptoms.
It is important to point out that spiritual, social, and psychological symptoms of alcoholism can be just as painful and problematic as the better-known physical symptoms of alcoholism.
The Main Psychological Symptoms of Alcoholism
When the topic of “alcoholism symptoms” is discussed, many people focus on the physical symptoms of alcoholism and exclude many of the other symptoms that are associated with this disease.
As a result, it is important to emphasize the point that other alcoholism symptoms such as social, spiritual, and psychological symptoms of alcoholism exist and can be just as debilitating and agonizing as physical alcoholism symptoms.
The psychological symptoms of alcoholism are as follows:
- Loss of control
- Sleep problems
- The collapse of the alibi system
- An increase in failed promises and resolutions to one’s self and to others
- Obsession with drinking
- Loss of interests
- Unreasonable resentments
- Loss of willpower
- Cloudy thinking
- Poor concentration
- Denial of the effects of alcohol
Social Symptoms of Alcoholism
The following represents the social symptoms of alcoholism:
- Financial insecurity
- Difficulties and arguments with family or friends
- Devaluation of personal relationships
- Blaming problems on others and on things external to themselves
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Difficulties performing at work or home
- Legal problems
- Serious relationship and work-related problems
- Withdrawal from social activities
Spiritual Alcoholism Symptoms
The spiritual symptoms of alcoholism are as follows:
- Dysthymia (mild chronic depression)
- Feeling useless
Physical Symptoms of Alcoholism
It is clear that alcoholism physically affects people while they are addicted and also when they want to recover from this disease and, unfortunately, experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
One way to look at the physical symptoms of alcoholism is to focus on the typical alcoholic behaviors in the various stages of alcoholism:
1st Stage of Alcoholism Physical Symptoms
The following represents some of the physical symptoms of alcoholism and alcoholic behaviors in the first stage of alcoholism:
• Increasing tolerance
• Gross Drinking Behavior – more frequent drinking of greater amounts
• A conscious effort to seek out more drinking opportunities
• Boasting and a “big shot” complex
• Lack of recognition by the person that he or she is in the early stages of a progressive illness
• An ability to drink great amounts of alcohol without any apparent impairment
2nd Stage of Alcoholism Physical Symptoms
The following represents some of the alcoholism physical symptoms and alcoholic behaviors in the second stage of alcoholism:
• Sporadic loss of control
• More frequent blackouts
• Drinking because of dependence rather than for stress relief
• Chronic hangovers
• Unsuccessful attempts to stop drinking
• Physical problems increase
• Increasing tolerance
• Sneaking extra drinks before social events
• Gulping the first few drinks to feel the “buzz” faster
3rd Stage of Alcoholism Physical Symptoms
The following represents some of the alcoholism physical symptoms and alcoholic behaviors in the third stage of alcoholism:
• Neglect of necessities such as food
• The development of an alibi system – an elaborate system of excuses for their drinking
• Half-hearted attempts at seeking medical aid
• Aggressive and grandiose behavior
• Avoidance of family and friends
• Increased tremors
• Frequent violent or destructive behavior
• A decrease in alcohol tolerance
• Problems with the law (e.g, DUIs)
• The start of physical deterioration
• Loss of control has become a pattern
4th Stage of Alcoholism Physical Symptoms
The following represents some of the physical symptoms of alcoholism and alcoholic behaviors in the fourth stage of alcoholism:
• Moral deterioration
• Loss of tolerance for alcohol
• “The shakes”
• Benders, or lengthy intoxications
• The “DTs”
• Continual loss of control
• Unreasonable resentments and hostility toward others
• Auditory and visual hallucinations
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a group of symptoms exhibited by people who quit drinking alcohol after a pattern of excessive and continuous consumption.
These symptoms can range from mild to moderate to severe and include both psychological and behavioral aspects.
Mild to Moderate Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
The following represents mild to moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms that typically occur within 6 to 48 hours after the last alcoholic drink:
• Insomnia, sleeping difficulties
• Involuntary, abnormal movements of the eyelids
• Eyes or pupils different size (enlarged, dilated pupils)
• Abnormal movements
• Sweating (especially on the face or the palms of the hands)
• Tremor of the hands
• Clammy skin
• Loss of appetite
• Headaches (especially those that pulsate)
• Rapid heart rate
• Looking pale, without color
Severe Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
The following represents severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms that typically occur within 48 to 96 hours after the last alcoholic drink:
• Muscle tremors
• Delirium tremens (DTs)
• Black outs
• Visual hallucinations
• Severe autonomic nervous system overactivity
What To Do When Experiencing Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
The first concern when experiencing alcohol withdrawal should be who you should contact about the alcohol withdrawal symptoms rather than “what helps for alcohol withdrawals?”
When experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, always see your healthcare provider or doctor immediately so that he or she can evaluate the severity of your situation and recommend the most effective option for treatment.
The symptoms of alcoholism affect people when they drink, when they try to stop drinking, when they go through the recovery process and, unfortunately, when they experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms. When suffering from alcoholism withdrawal symptoms, keep the following in mind.
First, alcoholism leads to a series of damaging and painful social, physical, spiritual, and psychological symptoms that will get progressively worse unless the person stops drinking.
Second, an essential step in the recovery process is acknowledging that drinking has become a problem and having the desire and the will to quit drinking.
Third, once the alcoholic reaches this point, the next issue to resolve is how to best handle the alcohol withdrawal symptoms that typically follow.
Fourth, the most rational and effective way to cope with and overcome alcohol withdrawal symptoms is to immediately see a healthcare provider or a doctor so that he or she can evaluate the severity of the problem and articulate the most effective form of treatment.
Alcoholism Physical Symptoms
There is a host of alcoholism physical symptoms that manifest themselves when alcoholics progress through the four stages of alcoholism. As the disease continues, regrettably, increasingly more severe physical symptoms of alcoholism become apparent. The important point to be taken away from this discussion, however, is that alcoholics need to get immediate alcohol treatment for their drinking problems if they are to stop drinking, remain sober, and start the alcohol recovery process.