Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction

By: Carl-Peter
What are the real signs and symptoms of alcoholism and drug addiction? When do you cross the line between being a social drinker or drug user - or even an occasional substance abuser - to becoming a 'full-blown' addict or alcoholic?

The answer doesn't lie in the 'how much' is consumed (even though that can often paint a fairly accurate picture), but rather in the after-effects or consequences of the drinking or using, which I'll get to in a minute ...

There also seems to be the mistaken perception that you have to be totally 'down and out' - just about living on the street - before you can be considered an addict. That just isn't so. There are many people leading so-called 'normal' lives in steady jobs, with families etc. who are also drug addicts and alcoholics.

The thing about addiction - is that it crosses all cultural, social, ethnic and religious boundaries - and whatever other possible classification that you can possibly think of. It ranges from the full-blown junkie living on the street, to the high-powered businessman who uses alcohol or drugs to keep him going. It can happen to anyone.

So, whether you're wondering about yourself - or someone you care about deeply - the following signs and symptoms should aid you in making an accurate diagnosis ...

1.) Do you or someone you love experience excessive withdrawal symptoms, e.g. the shakes, mood swings, depression, anxiety?

2.) Have you or a loved one experienced an increase in tolerance levels and need to take/drink more to get the same effect?

3.) Have you or that person you care about experienced feelings of remorse around drinking/drugging - and promised to cut down or even stop, but failed repeatedly?

4.) Gotten into trouble - at work or, even with the law - as a result of drinking or using?

5.) Often drink or use alone - and are displaying increasingly anti-social type behavior?

Even answering yes to one of these questions could indicate a real problem. If you answered yes to two or more, help should be sought immediately.

It's important that you take any kind of substance abuse seriously because the consequences can be devastating and potentially fatal if you don't. There is nothing shameful in admitting to a problem with alcohol or drugs. Awareness is the first step on the road to recovery and help today is readily and easily available.

When seeking help it's important that you understand the nature of addiction. Addiction is now widely medically accepted as a disease. I prefer to think of it as dis-ease, dis-ease of the spirit primarily.

So as far as I'm concerned, addiction is primarily a spiritual problem, something Andrew Weil, MD, sums up perfectly in his book 'Natural Health, Natural Medicine,'pg. 135. 'Addiction is NOT a psychological or pharmacological problem, and CANNOT be solved by the methods of psychology or pharmacology. It is, at root, a SPIRITUAL concern, because it represents a misdirected attempt to achieve wholeness, to experience inner completeness and satisfaction.'

That's why I believe so many people get it wrong when treating addictions - because they inevitably end up treating the symptom rather than the cause.

By treating alcoholism, drug addiction - or any addiction for that matter - as primarily a spiritual problem, you're getting to the root of the matter and treat addiction at the causal level where all healing ultimately begins and ends.

So finding a Spiritual Program to aid in recovery - whether NA/AA or your own preferred avenue - coupled with a daily meditation practice, on which I touched the importance of in a previous article, will go a long way in allowing you to create a new, fulfilling life - free from all addictions.
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