At first, you may see a friend have an occasional drink or maybe a drink to alleviate stress. Then, the person may begin having intense urges for alcohol, and you may notice more frequent drinking. Soon, the person may be unsuccessful in limiting alcohol consumption. Once the person starts drinking, he or she may be unable to stop. The individual may even build up an alcohol tolerance, needing more and more alcohol to create the same “buzz” effect. The individual may have trouble giving up alcohol even though it may be causing family problems, friendship issues, or even physical problems. Your friend may start spending more and more time drinking and recovering from drinking, and may be preoccupied with alcohol, spending lots of time thinking about obtaining and then consuming alcohol. He or she will likely find excuses to drink, such as attending live events or friends’ parties. Soon, they will eventually make alcohol central to their life. Their work in school or at a job may suffer. They may become careless, and may also give up hobbies and activities that were once very important. The person may ask friends and family for money, or might even steal to support the alcohol habit. The person is not being his or her best self. Alcohol is interfering with his or her ability to be a good student, employee, friend, and family member. You may see a friend drink an occasional beer at parties. But it is important to know that many people use alcohol in secret, so you may never see that person actually binge drink. (Binge drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as a drinking pattern that causes the blood alcohol concentration to be 0.08 percent or higher.) An alcoholic will usually not acknowledge the drinking problem and might rationalize the behavior, or say that it is just a bad habit. The person will complain that family and friends are blowing the situation out of proportion, and may even blame others for the drinking problem. There are some very clear physical signs that someone has a drinking problem. One of the most obvious signs is that they may


What is Alcohol Addiction?

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