Last week, two out of every five college students drank to excess. If you were among them, heres how to tell if you might have a problem with alcohol. Alcohol abuse is a broad term used to describe excessive drinking, including both binge drinking - where a large amount of alcohol is consumed in a short period of time, and the consumption of alcohol on a regular basis. Alcohol abuse is different than alcoholism, which is a dependence on alcohol, although both come with similar red flags. Its important to be aware of the signs of alcohol abuse: so that you can control your own drinking, and so that youll know when its time to get help for yourself or a friend. Perhaps the first sign of alcohol abuse is when someone continues to drink even after theyve had recurring problems as a result of alcohol. These problems can include drunk driving, having unprotected sex with multiple new partners, or missing class on a regular basis. Other early signs of alcohol abuse include: regularly being intoxicated, blacking out, binge drinking, or experiencing drastic personality changes as a result of drinking. When alcohol abuse becomes alcoholism, additional warning signs usually become apparent. One such sign is when someone hides their drinking habit, either by drinking alone, by keeping alcohol in unlikely places, or by withdrawing from their usual activities to drink. People who are alcoholics may also find that their reaction to alcohol changes over time. For instance, they may develop a tolerance to alcohol, needing more and more to feel its effects, or they may feel that they need alcohol to be normal, funny, or happy. At its most extreme, alcoholics may experience tremors, sweating, nausea and other physical symptoms when alcohol is not consumed. If you notice that either you, or someone you know, has two or more of these symptoms, alcohol abuse may be a problem.
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Last Updated:December 20, 2012