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Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (cont.)

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How can you tell if someone has a drinking problem?

Signs of a drinking problem include behaviors like drinking for the purpose of getting drunk, drinking alone or keeping it secret, drinking to escape problems, hiding alcohol in odd places, getting irritated when you are unable to obtain alcohol to drink, and having problems at work, school, home, or legally as a result of your drinking. Other warning signs of alcohol use disorder include losing interest in activities you used to enjoy, having blackouts because of heavy drinking, and getting annoyed when loved ones say you may have a drinking problem. Behaviors that may indicate that a person is suffering from alcoholism include being able to drink more and more alcohol, trouble stopping once you start drinking, powerful urges to drink, and having withdrawal symptoms like nervousness, nausea, shaking, or having cold sweats when you don't have a drink.

Can an alcoholic just cut back or stop drinking?

While some people with alcohol use disorder can cut back or stop drinking without help, most are only able to do so temporarily unless they get treatment. Individuals who consume alcohol in lower amounts and tend to cope with problems more directly are more likely to be successful in their efforts to cut back or stop drinking without the benefit of treatment.

Is there a safe level of drinking?

Recent research describes potential health benefits of consuming alcohol, including decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, and dementia. Given that, it is fair to say that low intake, along the lines of 4-8 ounces of wine per day, is likely safe.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/21/2014

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Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/alcohol_abuse_and_alcoholism/article.htm

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