The American Psychiatric Association has created a resource for professionals to use in order to diagnosis and identify different mental disorders and conditions that may affect individuals. This book is called the DSM-IV. This book is a wonderful tool to use because it helps professionals make accurate decisions related to the different symptoms that individuals may be experiencing in their everyday lives. This resource also helps the professionals identify if a person is suffering from alcoholism.
This article can be used as a tool to help a person identify whether a problem with alcohol dependence is being experienced. However, it is very important to remember the need to speak with a professional if alcoholism is suspected. The following information should only be used as a guide to help educate. There are several different symptoms that may be seen and all should be taken into consideration. However, in order to meet the DSM-IV criteria for dependence, an individual only needs to meet three, or more, of the symptoms during a single 12 month period.
1. Tolerance – There are two different ways to determine if tolerance is an issue for the person. First of all, the person may need to consume larger amounts of alcohol in order to become intoxicated, or to get the same intoxicating effects that he, or she, once got. Second, the person may begin to notice that they are not getting the same results that they once got when they consume a certain amount of alcohol. Actually, he, or she, may not get any results at all as they consume the same amounts of alcohol.
2. Withdrawal – Again, there are a few ways that withdrawal can be experienced. One way is through behavior changes or through physiological and cognitive changes. Each person may experience different withdrawal symptoms. This means that they may not be the same for each and every person. However, many individuals may suffer from shaking, extreme anxiety, nausea and even sweating. Another way to determine if withdrawal is being experienced is by identifying if the person is taking another drug in order to decrease some of these symptoms.
3. Individuals that are misusing alcohol will often consume it in much larger doses than a normal person. They will also use it much more frequently, and for a longer amount of time, than individuals that are not dealing with this type of dependence.
4. The person may want to stop consuming the alcohol as much as they do. They may even try to stop this use, but they are not successful in these attempts.
5. People that are suffering from this type of condition are often consumed by trying to find out how they can get the alcohol. They will spend a great deal of energy trying to determine how they can get what they need in order to feel good.
6. Another symptom is that the person will begin to decrease the amount of time and energy that they once spent on other activities and responsibilities. They may stop carrying out these tasks all together. They may become lazy and have a very difficult time meeting the life demands and responsibilities.
7. Those individuals that are suffering from alcoholism will not be able to stop their usage. This is true even if the person knows that they are suffering from different medical issues related to their abuse. They may also be fully aware of psychological issues that they may be facing in relation to their continual using but they are not willing to stop using. An example of this would be individuals that have been told they have Cirrhosis of the liver but they are not willing to stop using their drug of choice.
There are a few considerations that people need to keep in mind when they are trying to determine if they are alcoholics, or if someone that they love is suffering from alcoholism. The following information will present a few questions that individuals will want to ask themselves, or others when attempting to determine if alcoholism may be a problem.
• Has alcohol use caused any complications, or problems, in different areas of the person’s life? These can include at work, or at home.
• Have there been any legal issues related to the drinking?
• Does the individual suffer from any type of memory loss related to the drinking and their habits?
• Are blackouts and issue, or have they ever taken place while drinking?
• Does the person remain drunk for days at a time?
• Is the drinking used as a way to overcome barriers, or shyness?
These questions are simply meant to be used as a tool that can help an individual
self-assess their situation. The answers to these questions can help a person determine if they should seek medical assistance, or help from a professional. An individual that answers any of these questions “yes” may want to contact a professional in order to gain control over his or her life.
Remember, alcoholism can have negative effects on several different areas of a person’s life. Therefore, it is very important to be open, and honest about what is experienced. This will help an individual make appropriate, healthy choices in order to decrease their alcohol consumption. This may be exactly what is needed to help a person get their life back in order.