Someone who starts out as a social drinker may quickly progress into a binge drinker and then into a alcoholic, depending on their genetic and social circumstances.
Therefore it can be difficult to immediately tell whether someone has a drink problem or not and even more tricky to gauge how serious the condition is.
One of the key symptoms of alcoholism is the morning drink.
Most dependent alcoholics can not function in the morning without having a drink to 'calm their nerves'.
In reality they have come physically dependent on the substance and require a dose of the drug to prevent the worsening of delirium tremens (or shaken madness) which is the body's unpleasant reaction to the immediate withdrawal of alcohol which may take the form of shakes, hallucinations or hot and cold sweats.
As a persons drink problem worsens they become more prone to secrecy in order to hide their problem.
Whilst they may not be willing to acknowledge that they have an issue with alcohol abuse, their subconscious is fully aware that something is wrong and it results in them trying to cover their tracks more.
For example an alcoholic may begin to hide bottles to make it appear that they haven't consumed as much alcohol as they actually have.
They might shop at different liquor stores to avoid the shame of being labelled as an alcoholic by the staff who work in that establishment.
As the disease progresses the user's mindset will typically worsen with the development and progression of conditions like depression, paranoia, anxiety and shame.
It's normal for an alcoholic to lose all interest in their previous hobbies and pasttimes with the consumption of alcohol becoming the sole focus of their lives.
All in all, alcoholism continues to be a plague on society that can only be helped by the caring vigilance of friends and families of those affected by this affliction.