How Is Alcoholism Diagnosed

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Many people use alcohol as a way to escape from the stresses and pressures of the real world. In fact, it has almost become normal for people to drink at parties or with friends and family.

However, the barrier between social drinking and alcohol abuse is a fragile one and excessive use of it over time may lead to a full blown addiction.

Long term drinking can be extremely detrimental to the physical and mental health of an addict as well as the wellbeing of the people closest to them.

Society considers alcohol abuse and addiction as a weakness, making denial one of the main reasons why most addicts refuse to get addiction treatment.

This denial causes addicts to deny that they have a problem and will go to great lengths to keep their addiction under wraps, making the task of diagnosing alcoholism challenging, but not impossible. By watching how a suspected alcoholic drinks and acts, one can see the damage it’s causing when they consume it and when they don’t (for example, suffering withdrawal symptoms when alcohol isn’t readily available).

How is alcoholism diagnosed? In this article we’ll answer that question.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism can be defined as the excessive and continued use of alcohol regardless of the negative effects it’s causing to the health and wellbeing of the user and the relationships they have with the people around them.

Every alcoholism addiction is different and no alcoholic will have the same symptoms as another, making diagnosis a tricky task.

Methods of Diagnosis

Medical professionals use various types of screening tests such as the CAGE test to determine whether someone could be suffering from alcoholism. These tests include a list of questions which help doctors diagnose the severity of the alcoholism problem.

Some of the questions that will be asked include:

1. Has the individual ever thought about cutting down on their alcohol usage?
2. Does the drinker feel aggrieved when people criticise the amount of alcohol he/she drinks?
3. Does the drinker ever feel ashamed about the amount of alcohol they use?
4. Does the individual drink alcohol to relieve stress or anxiety?
5. Has the drinker use alcohol to remove a hangover caused by alcohol?
6. What is the individual’s drinking limit?

Blood tests are another method used to determine whether someone is suffering from alcoholism or not. These are done to determine the functioning of the liver and to check if there are any anaemia and electrolyte imbalances in the bloodstream.

Alcoholics will also have a very low potassium, calcium and magnesium content in their blood. The presence of alcohol in the kidneys of the individual can also indicate that the person has a drinking problem and that they need medical help.

Some doctors may even discover an alcohol problem in patients coming to them for treatment for physical issues that are related to excessive drinking. Medical practitioners can do tests for stomach issues, heart problems, withdrawal symptoms and cirrhosis of the liver.

Another way to check if you or a loved one is addicted to alcohol is to notice their behavioural patterns. Alcoholics will lie about their addiction to cover it up, neglect their daily responsibilities at work or at home and might even try to disguise where they are going.

If you suspect that your loved one is addicted to alcohol, then it’s important to get professional help immediately. We provide access to the best private alcoholism rehabilitation centres all over South Africa, the United Kingdom and Thailand. Call us now and let one of our qualified addiction counsellors assist in finding the right treatment available for you.

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