Alcoholism, or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), is an addiction to alcohol which leads to persistent use despite potentially harmful consequences. An alcoholic (person suffering from alcoholism) will display signs of a physical compulsion to consume alcohol paired with a mental obsession with the substance. While the addiction may become apparent to those close to the person at any time, the alcoholic is often the last person to become aware of their condition because of denial.
Alcoholism can often be a secret problem that is hidden from anyone that might be able to help. This will commonly lead to drinking alone, drinking in secret and having stashes of alcohol in strange places. These behaviours are obviously highly suggestive of some sort of problem and discovery of any of the above will likely lead to questions being raised and treatment being sought. The symptoms may not be so dramatic in all cases.
It may be a case that a person suffering with alcoholism consumes drinks very quickly to reach a state of intoxication and feel good. They may become irritated if plans involving alcohol fall through or if alcohol is not available when they expect it to be. A growing quantity of alcohol may also be required to feel an effect. These symptoms may occur in public but often go unnoticed as standalone symptoms.
Social problems may also start to develop such as a breakdown in previously good relationships, distancing themselves from activities which they used to enjoy, difficulty holding down a job or travelling to work and even trouble with the law. As the condition worsens, feeding the addiction becomes a central focus in daily life which may let what is usually a main priority to this person go by the wayside.
It is unlikely that somebody suffering from alcoholism will let themselves get to a point where their body begins to show symptoms of withdrawal unless they are in some form of treatment or receiving substantial support. Withdrawal symptoms are highly unpleasant and include sweating, shaking and nausea if the physical compulsion to consume alcohol is not met.
The first step toward treating alcoholism is awareness. The alcoholic individual must accept their condition for treatment to move forward. Without their cooperation, it would be difficult to impossible for any further treatment to be successful.
Detoxification can start once the individual is willing to move forward with treatment and has expressed a willingness to overcome the disorder. This will be an incredibly difficult time as withdrawal symptoms may occur. Support and availability of medical services during this time are vital for both morale and safety as the body works its way through this exhausting process.
This is only the beginning of a long road as the individual must work toward rehabilitation so that they might remain in a sober state. Therapy and support programs can be hugely beneficial at this time as the individual must not only battle their mental reliance on the substance but also the addiction which has taken a physical hold of their body.
To maintain the hard work to this point, it is advisable that the individual continues therapy or other forms of support (such as Alcoholics Anonymous). Taking pride in their accomplishments and seeing the grip that they are regaining on their life will be massively beneficial but may take some help from others to make them aware of this.
As alcoholism is often linked to other issues or disorders, it is important that these are treated also. Consulting a doctor or therapist about the potential of disorders linked to stress, anxiety or depression could be the key to beating the addiction for good.