Firstly we need to examine the different types of alcohol related problems.
It is important to note that alcohol problems are not static, but start with low concern symptoms so as they may be easily dismissed. There is unfortunately a progressive continuum with associated problems getting continuously yet inconspicuously more severe.
The term alcoholism usually relates to any alcohol abuse or dependence. Of these, alcohol dependence is the most severe of all alcohol problems and will usually consist of between three and seven symptoms experienced within one year. These symptoms will generally include:
- Repeated yet unsuccessful attempts to stop or reduce consumption.
- A need for increased amounts of alcohol when partaking. (tolerance).
- Symptoms of withdrawal upon cessation of drinking. (physical dependence).
Many other types of alcohol problems do not entail alcohol dependence but are nevertheless harmful in their effect on a person’s health, their relationships and their employment. As already stated, alcohol problems of seemingly lesser severity often progress to alcoholism if untreated. It is vital therefore that if, as a friend or loved one who observes these behaviours, that dialogue and communication is commenced as the victim will often even in the early stages of the illness be in denial or worse ignorance and will be making attempts to conceal.
The most common alcohol problems include:
This is the type of problem drinking most often engaged in by young people in the 15-21 year old age range. Within this age group binge drinking is more prevalent among college students than non-students. Binge drinking can be reasonably defined as the consumption of five or more drinks at one sitting for males and three or more drinks at one sitting for females. Binge drinking amongst students is more likely to cause or result in damage to property, problems or issues with authority, the missing of study or classes, hangovers, and even degrees of injury.
Live in students with high rates of binge drinking experience more incidents of assault and unwanted sexual advances than those with lower binge drinking rates. The key for parents, care givers and management /teaching professionals who observe these habits occurring is to know that the less mature the body and nervous system is, the greater the effect of and damage that will be being caused, often not displaying the real severity until latter in life. It is a notice of the need for and the call to action to help and it is our responsibility to act at once.
Problems associated with abuse will more likely than not have far reaching consequences and will include all or some of the following:
- Absence from, and impaired performance at school, college and at work.
- Neglect of child care or household responsibilities.
Difficulties with the Law.
- Consumption in physically dangerous circumstances such as while driving or working with machinery. and in more recent times a noticeable increase in fires from leaving cooking tasks unattended.
And here is the most insidious and harmful problem related to progressive excessive consumption:
Individuals who abuse alcohol may continue to drink despite the knowledge that their drinking is clearly causing them recurrent and significant social, interpersonal, and or legal problems.
Alcohol dependence is a chronic and often progressive disease that includes a strong compulsion to drink despite repeated social or interpersonal problems such as losing a job or deteriorating relationships with friends and family members. Alcohol dependence has a generally predictable course, recognisable symptoms, and is influenced by a complex interplay of genes, psychological factors such as the influence of family members and friends, and the effect of a culture of drinking behavior, attitudes and peer pressure. Science and research gratefully is increasingly able to define and understand the genetic and environmental factors that make an individual vulnerable to alcoholism.
Do You, a Loved One or Friend Have an Alcohol Problem?
Answering these 20 questions will give you an idea if your drinking patterns are safe, or harmful. Be honest with yourself, only you will see the results of your test and you can only benefit if your answers are accurate. If you are a concerned friend or family member take the test on behalf of your loved one to quickly identify whether help may be needed. Remember alcoholism is an illness and it’s victims may be unaware of or in denial of its presence.
Questionnaire courtesy of About.com