Like most addictions, alcohol addiction does not happen overnight. People normally drink because of the pleasant effects, so that in itself cannot be considered a symptom. There are stages that lead to the addiction and they start with craving alcohol. This is difficult to spot because there are many people who say things such as “I’d like a drink right now”, or something similar and yet they are not an alcoholic. For someone forming an alcohol addiction, however, it is both a physical and mental craving for alcohol. Next, the person’s tolerance of the alcohol builds up, so it takes more and more alcohol to achieve the desired effect. After that, the physical dependence begins. The person begins to “need” to drink. Once that happens, the drinking becomes out of control and the person is a true alcohol addict.
Once someone has an alcohol addiction, there are also levels that have been defined but basically, more and more control is lost. The person sneaks drinks, or they may have one or two drinks before a social engagement. They even drink several drinks very quickly to get the “high” going. Eventually, the alcoholic begins to avoid contact with other people. They neglect their responsibilities and continually find excuses for their drinking and their behavior. There often are increased incidents involving law enforcement, such as DUI’s. The addict may become more hostile, especially if it is suggested that he/she has an alcohol problem. The alcoholic may half-heartedly make an attempt at rehabilitation but it doesn’t last long. They are usually doing it to try to quiet the critics and not actually to get help.
In short, someone who has an alcohol addiction cares for little else than getting and drinking the alcohol. In the worse stage of alcohol addiction, there are often tremors, unclear memory and even more hostility. The addict will frequently wake up in his or her own sick or wet the bed. They go on extended binges which last for days on end. The sad fact is; if someone is asking what the symptoms of alcohol addiction are, they already know because they are living with it. People do not normally get concerned if someone has the occasional drink, or even one or two drinks a day. If it becomes more than that, there may be good reason to worry. The earlier the symptoms are caught and the addiction treated, the better the treatment works.