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Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol consumption is an integral part of cultures across the globe and is used to celebrate, as a means to relax from a hard day, and even during times of grief.

However, excessive alcohol consumption can result in alcohol addiction or dependency, which can start to have detrimental effects on the live of those who are dependent on alcohol as well as their families and loved ones.

In this article we will talk about how to identify the signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction.

rehabilitation centre south africa

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

It’s important to remember that not everyone who struggles with alcohol addiction are entirely debilitated by their addiction. In fact, many people are able to function relatively normally and show little to no signs of alcohol addiction so identifying symptoms may not always be easy to do.

However, according to the DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), there are 11 symptoms of alcohol use disorder:

  • Drinking more alcohol or for a longer period than intended
  • Spending a lot of free time drinking and feeling the negative aftereffects of overconsumption
  • Struggling to stop or cut back on drinking despite wanting to
  • Experiencing strong urges to drink (craving alcohol)
  • Experiencing problems with personal and professional relationships as a result of drinking too much, or feeling sick from alcohol
  • Losing interest in important or pleasurable activities to drink instead
  • Continuing to drink despite it causing issues with family or work
  • Engaging more and more in risky behaviour during drinking episodes or after
  • Experiencing a higher tolerance to alcohol so having to drink more to feel the effects
  • Continuing to drink despite feeling anxious, depressed, or exacerbating other health issues, or after having a memory black out
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, insomnia, shakiness, nausea, sweating, restlessness, or depression once the alcohol has worn off

According to the DSM 5, when someone experiences at least two of the above symptoms on a regular basis will indicate that the person has alcohol use disorder (AUD).

In addition, AUD can present itself in different ranges of severity depending on the symptoms experienced:

  • Mild: two to three symptoms
  • Moderate: four to five symptoms
  • Severe: six or more symptoms

Mild AUD can easily progress to severe if left untreated. Therefore, seeking early intervention is crucial for recovery. However, with the right treatment, it’s possible to recover from severe AUD.

Step Away – Alcohol Abuse Rehabilitation Centre

Our rehabilitation centre in Gqeberha, South Africa offers both in- and out-patient programmes for alcohol use disorder.

We approach each of our clients with compassion as we learn to understand their unique situation and what they need as an individual to get through their recovery.

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