Alcoholism is a chronic and progressive disease that is characterized by an addiction to alcohol, either by a physical, mental, emotional or behavioral dependence. An alcohol addiction often is accompanied by an abundance of negative consequences due to alcohol use and abuse, which can occur as physical, mental, emotional or social consequences. The disease of alcoholism typically will manifest itself in a person as a mental preoccupation with drinking, where all areas of a person’s life are in some ways associated with alcohol in one form or another.

Much of the time, people suffering from alcoholism or alcohol addiction are unaware of their own issues. More often than not, friends and family will be clearly aware of negative issues with alcohol than the alcoholic will themselves. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse can manifest itself in many ways, but here are a number of symptoms or behaviors that typically will categorically define someone with alcoholism, alcohol addiction or alcohol abuse issues:

  1. A mental preoccupation with alcohol
  2. Turning to alcohol as the solution for any problem
  3. Medicating unwanted or uncomfortable feelings with alcohol
  4. Being unable to stop drinking on your own, even when you want to
  5. An inability to stop or moderate your drinking
  6. Having little or no control over the amount of alcohol you drink
  7. Regularly blacking out while drinking
  8. Experiencing a growing tolerance to alcohol or having to drink much more alcohol to get the same effect
  9. Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms such as shakes, sweats or tremors once you stop drinking
  10. Drinking only to experience a “buzz” or to experience full drunkenness
  11. Hiding your drinking from others
  12. Regularly drinking alone
  13. Hiding or stashing alcohol around your house
  14. Showing restlessness or irritability when not drinking because you would rather be drinking
  15. Feeling an overwhelming urge or compulsion to drink

There are several “levels” or differences in alcohol abuse. Alcoholism is categorized as a disease by the American Medical Association. There is also a physical alcohol addiction, but it is important to remember that not alcoholics necessarily are physically dependent on alcohol. There is also alcohol abuse, problem drinking, binge drinking. All of these types of drinkers can be looked at as people that may have issues with alcohol.

Just to be clear, One standard drink is:

  • 12 ounces (355 milliliters) of regular beer (about 5 percent alcohol)
  • 8 to 9 ounces (237 to 266 milliliters) of malt liquor (about 7 percent alcohol)
  • 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of wine (about 12 percent alcohol)
  • 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) of 80-proof hard liquor (about 40 percent alcohol)

If you are concerned about your drinking habits or feel you may fall into one of these categories of someone that is dealing with an issue with alcohol, you may not be able to stop on your own. Alcohol addiction and specifically alcohol withdrawal can be fatal. It is imperative that you seek medical care if trying to stop drinking and experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, it is important to seek out quality, comprehensive drug and alcohol addiction treatment to stop drinking if you find you cannot stop on your own.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a drug and alcohol addiction and needs treatment please call us for help. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive addiction treatment in the area. If we aren’t the best fit, we will work with you to find a treatment center that fits your needs. Please call us at (410) 773-0500 or email For more information on all of our alcohol and addiction treatment services and resources, please visit the web site at

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