Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, refers to a problematic pattern of drinking that leads to impairment or distress. It can range from mild to severe, based on the number of symptoms experienced by an individual. Here are some common signs and symptoms associated with alcohol use disorder:
- Being unable to limit alcohol consumption: Individuals find it challenging to control the amount of alcohol they drink.
- Failed attempts to cut down: Despite wanting to reduce alcohol intake, they struggle to do so effectively.
- Excessive time spent drinking: A significant portion of their time is devoted to drinking, obtaining alcohol, or recovering from its effects.
- Strong cravings or urges to drink: The desire for alcohol becomes intense.
- Impaired functioning: Alcohol use interferes with work, school, relationships, or other daily activities.
- Continued alcohol use despite negative consequences: Even when aware of physical, social, or work-related problems caused by alcohol, they persist in drinking.
- Risk-taking behavior: Using alcohol in unsafe situations, such as while driving or swimming.
- Tolerance: Developing a need for more alcohol to achieve the same effect.
- Withdrawal symptoms: Experiencing nausea, sweating, shaking, or other discomfort when not drinking.
Alcohol intoxication, characterized by behavior problems, mental changes, and even memory lapses (“blackouts”), occurs as blood alcohol concentration increases. Very high levels can lead to coma or permanent brain damage.
Remember that early treatment is crucial, as even mild alcohol use disorder can escalate into serious problems. Seeking professional help is essential for managing alcohol-related issues effectively.
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