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Signs of Alcoholism in Women

As alcoholics hardly ever admit their problem with alcohol and the signs of alcoholism in women can often be difficult to find, the disease of alcoholism can go untreated and multiple health problems can occur. Extreme alcohol use can cause exhaustion and short-term memory loss, as well as weakness and paralysis of the eye muscles. More seriously, however, are liver disorders, such as cirrhosis, which is the irreversible and progressive annihilation of liver tissue.

During college years it is very common if not habitual for students to consume alcohol on the weekends and sometimes during the week. Because alcohol is readily available and usually present at every college party, drinking can become the norm. Social drinking on the weekends is one thing, but many take it much farther than this. Some students look forward to these events to get belligerently intoxicated. When students get into the habit of abusing alcohol to get drunk on a consistent basis, a problem begins, and the signs of alcoholism in women can be seen.

Alcoholism can be defined as an addiction to the consumption to alcoholic beverages or the mental illness and compulsive behavior resulting from physical dependence of alcohol (dictionary.com). As there is a physical dependence in addiction to the compulsion within the brain, the signs of alcoholism in women can be difficult to see. What ultimately triggers the onset of alcoholism in the brain is debated; the fact of the matter is alcoholism is onset in terms of the drinker’s relationship with alcohol.

Signs of alcoholism in women can begin with the heavy use and abuse and dependence are the general labels used to explain consumption practices. Problems with drinking suggest the use of alcohol beyond the point where it causes physical, social or moral impairment and destruction to the individual. Abuse and dependence are defined as a preoccupation with the consumption of alcohol and a physical desire to consume alcohol. In addition to these signs of alcoholism in women and alcohol abuse in women, there are four specific symptoms:
1.    Craving: A strong need or urge to drink and a loss of control
2.    Physical Dependence: not being able to stop drinking once drinking has begun
3.    Withdrawal Symptoms: Nausea, sweating, shakiness or anxiety after stopped drinking
4.    Tolerance: the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to feel drunk.
An alcoholics craving to consume alcohol can be as strong as a need like hunger, another sign of alcoholism in women. Because of this need, an alcoholic woman will continue to drink despite serious health and legal problems which can also be signs of alcoholism in women.

The signs of alcoholism in women listed above can also be applied to alcohol abuse in women, but abuse can lead to dependence and criteria set up by the CAGE questionnaire; a method to show the signs of alcoholism is women which can determine if an abuser is actually an alcoholic.

The physical and health signs of alcoholism in women are extensive and can be visible to friends and family, but most are detected by physicians. Because the signs of alcoholism in women and their symptoms are mainly overt, they can be easily recognized. Gastrointestinal problems are also cause by chronic alcohol abuse. Such problems include gastritis, which is damage to the stomach lining; pancreatic damage, which reduces the hormones hat regulate metabolism. Excessive drinking can lead to high blood pressure and damage the heart increasing the risk of heart failure or stroke. Alcohol is an addictive substance and it can be extremely difficult to break an addiction. However, there are treatment centers, such as Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women, set up to do just that.

Signs of alcoholism in women can include drinking more than 15 drinks a week for men or 12 drinks a week for women. Drinking alone is a single risk factor that can contribute to alcoholism. Other factors include the following:
1.    Age: People who start drinking in their teens are at a higher risk of alcoholism and alcohol abuse.
2.    Genetics and Family History: A person is more likely to develop alcoholism if their parents are alcoholic or abused alcohol.
3.    Emotional Disorders: Being severely depressed or having anxiety places one at a greater risk of abusing alcohol. Also, adults with ADHD may be more likely to become dependent or abusive.
Similar to the causes and signs of alcoholism in women, it is hard for doctors to decide which patients to monitor and test for alcoholism as some of the signs and symptoms could be because of other illnesses and it is rare that an alcoholic will be honest about how much alcohol they are actually consuming. Doctors may ask a series of questions about drinking habits in order to get an indication of amount of drinking. Blood tests that measure the size of red blood cells, which increase with long-term alcohol abuse.  Tests that show liver damage can also assist in diagnosing a patient with alcohol abuse. Because the signs of alcoholism in women cannot be easily discovered by medical tests, doctors often speak with family members or friends about the alcoholics drinking habits. The doctor needs to as others because alcoholics often deny the extent of their drinking.

The probability of addiction depends on the authority of parents, friends and other role models and at what age they began drinking alcohol.  A few tests that a person can perform are trying to avoid drinking out of habit and while bored and setting limitations on drinking before the day begin. It is important to establish activities separate from drinking as drinking with friends and drinking heavily can encourage alcohol abuse. According to Alcoholics Anonymous, there are different treatments available to help women with alcohol troubles and have the signs of alcoholism in women. Treatment includes assessment, intervention, an outpatient series or therapy and possibly an inpatient stay if the patient is a danger to herself. A housing treatment begins with detoxification and withdrawal. This period can last for to seven days and delirium tremens (DT’s) or withdrawal seizures may occur. After detox, emotional support is given. This consists of individual therapy and counseling, support from respective recovery groups, helping to combat active addiction and alcoholism. Most importantly, acceptance of the fact that one is addicted and unable to control their drinking is necessary for effective treatment. Support groups, therapy, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings can help women abstain from drinking and continue their lives sober. It is important to recognize the signs of alcoholism in women as soon as possible because of the possible mental and health complications so they can achieve treatment.