There are many different definitions of alcoholism, but the most widely accepted ones include a recurrent consumption of alcohol in spite of negative consequences.
This implies a distortion in thinking, i.e. the inability to recognize the adverse effects caused by regular alcohol consumption. Alcoholism is a widespread global problem and causes a number of diseases, which can in turn have lethal consequences. These include, but are not limited to, liver cirrhosis, heart disease, alcoholic dementia, panic disorder, etc. In addition to its physical and mental effects, alcohol abuse is also a major social problem in that it incapacitates the alcoholic for work after a certain period of time and thus causes serious problems to entire families. Moreover, it leads to alienation from family, friends, partners and society in general.
Although the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption that is necessary to become an alcoholic is different from person to person, there are certain warning signals that may indicate the beginning of alcohol addiction. These are very simple, but should be taken very seriously. One of the initial warning signs of alcoholism is when you think that you have been drinking too much. This may be a harmless thought, but if you believe that you have been drinking excessively, chances are that your brain is trying to tell you something. If your own self-criticism is accompanied by criticism from other people, then you can almost be sure that you need to introduce some changes in your drinking habits. Others can often see things about us that we cannot. If someone is bothered by your excessive drinking, it is highly likely that they are trying to help you because they care about you. Do not brush their criticism off as unimportant. Take it seriously and consider stopping drinking to save your friendships, relationships and career.
Another important indication of the start of alcoholism is having an alcoholic drink first thing in the morning. Drinking alone is already bad enough, but it does not always mean that one is an alcoholic. Many of us are under a lot of pressure and sometimes it helps to unwind with a drink in the evening and blow off some steam. However, if this becomes recurrent, then you should start worrying. If you wake up and feel that you need a drink, this may a serious sign that you have become dependent on alcohol. In the event that you feel that you are experiencing any of the above signals, make sure to seek professional guidance. Alcoholism can be deadly and it is easiest to treat when detected early.