What Is Alcoholism and Its Affect On Friends and Family

April is Alcohol Awareness Month in the United States

Over seven percent of the United States population suffers from a drinking problem. This means that over 15 million people over the age of 18 have an alcohol use disorder. Alcohol-related deaths are also the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

Alcoholism also referred to as alcohol use disorder, is characterized as a severe form of alcohol abuse where an individual is unable to manage their drinking habits. They do not know how to stop drinking or when they should stop drinking.  Alcoholics will also spend a significant amount of time thinking about alcohol. Alcoholism is divided into three categories of abuse from mild, moderate, to severe depending on the amount of alcohol that is consumed.

Being able to identify the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse is imperative. Those suffering from alcoholism may not even understand that they have a serious condition. By knowing the signs and symptoms of alcoholism and being able to share the dangers of this disease, you may be able to help a loved one take the necessary steps needed to kick the habit.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism

Alcoholism may not always be easy to spot. People who know they have an issue but are not willing to come to terms with it may look to hide some of the common signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse. Be on the look-out for the following signs and symptoms that could point to alcohol abuse:

  • Being intoxicated regularly
  • Drinking alone or being dishonest and secretive
  • Inability to say “no” when offered alcohol
  • Craving alcohol when not drinking
  • A high tolerance for alcohol (needing to consume more and more drinks in order to achieve their desired effect)
  • Appearing ill, irritated, or generally unwell
  • Blacking out while drinking
  • Ritualistic drinking and irritation if drinking is commented on (ex. After dinner drink, after-work drink)
  • Signs of withdrawal when not drinking such as nausea, shaking, sweating
  • Increased difficulties at work, in relationships, run-ins with the law, or financial issues stemming from alcohol use.


Deborah Price