What Is Substance Addiction and Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is not a new term in the history of addiction and millions of people across the globe have been suffering from this chronic disorder. Understanding the signs, symptoms and treatment of alcoholism is what everyone should know so as to avoid or overcome alcohol dependence and live an alcohol free life.
Alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependence or alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a chronic physical and mental problem characterized by uncontrolled drinking and obsession with alcohol. The physical and emotional dependency on alcohol leads to an addiction and the body and mind cannot function normally without alcohol.
Are you worried about your drinking habits or those of a family or loved one? Do you know if you are alcoholic and wondering how to go about it? Have you had several unsuccessful attempts to quit drinking? Are you sick and tired of your drinking habits and you want to bring your life back on track? In this article, all these concerns and many more are going to be thoroughly addressed in a simple and easy to understand manner.
How Do I Know That I Am An Alcoholic?
Since time immemorial to date, many people who drink alcohol live in denial. Some of them are not even sure whether they are alcoholics or not. If you are concerned about your drinking problem and you’re not really sure whether or not you are an alcoholic, here are the signs of alcoholism you should know. The earlier you notice these signs the better so you can find help.
If you have uncontrollable desire or physical need to drink alcohol even when you realize that it is posing negative impacts on your life, it means that you are an alcoholic. Alcoholism results when your drinking behavior becomes severe. An alcoholic spends most of the time thinking about alcohol and doesn’t have control over the quantity or frequency of taking alcohol even when it is causing serious problems at home or work place.
Signs Of Alcoholism
Many sufferers of alcoholism will always try not to show anyone that they are having a drinking disorder. Some will try to hide it or deny. When confronted, they might even be abusive and violent.
If you really to tell whether you or your family member is suffering from alcoholism, here are some key signs to look at: –
- Lack of interest in former activities
- Inability to control drinking
- Drinking in secret
- Staying in isolation
- Easily irritated
- Appearing fatigued
- Strong urge to drink more so as to achieve same effects
- Appear intoxicated almost every time
- Stealing money or belongings to buy more alcohol
- Redness of face and eyes
- Appearing sickly
- Nausea, vomiting or shaking when not drunk
Not everyone who drinks alcohol is alcoholic. There are individuals who drink a lot once in a while when partying or over the weekends but they do not drink when working or when having serious engagements.
When you find that alcohol has taken the top priority in your life and all you can think about is drinking, these are red flags that your drinking habit has taken a negative scope and you need help. Alcoholism ranges from mild, moderate to severe alcohol dependence.
Are You Suffering From Alcoholism? Find Help Now
Since alcoholism is the most severe form of alcohol abuse, an alcoholic cannot control the strong urge and craving for alcohol. When the condition gets out of hand, many things can happen and it becomes hard for that person to continue living a normal and productive life.
The moment you realize that you are suffering from alcoholism, the sooner you need to find help. Trying to fight alcoholism on your own may not help especially if you have a severe drinking problem. The withdrawal symptoms can be too tough for you to handle the situation on your own. Find a professional addiction specialist to help you with alcoholism treatment that works for you.
Effects Of Alcoholism
When it becomes difficult for an individual to control their drinking habits, there are countless negative physical, mental, emotional, financial and family problems that arise. Remember we said earlier that an alcoholic will spend most of the time thinking about drinking and therefore he loses interest in things that seemed important in life before the onset of this acute drinking disorder.
This implies that the individual becomes less productive at work, home and society. This results to career death and family issues that are endless. When an alcoholic loses the job that was the main source of income, he/she cannot manage to fulfil the financial obligations at home and this may cause conflicts and marital breakdown.
When a parent loses a job due to alcoholism, he is unable to take the children through quality schooling and this can shutter the dreams of the young minds. When this happens, we end up having many uneducated children and as a result, a society loses important people who could have contributed a lot to development and progress.
Parents who spend most of their time on alcohol do not find time for their children. This means that they don’t have time to promote and build good morals on their children. This leads to increase on social crime in the society.
When an individual becomes alcoholic, he/she becomes unable to control their behaviors- especially when drinking becomes intense. This exposes an individual to sexual immorality and other crimes. As a result is unwanted pregnancy, contract HIV or facing legal charges.
Alcoholism In Children
According to research, children born in families with a history of addiction will tend to use alcohol at their early stages of life. Alcoholism can badly damage the developing brains. Children aged below 24 years are actively having their brain developed and alcoholism affects them negatively.
As we handle the issue of alcoholism, we should address the issue of alcoholism in children because they if we raise a generation of alcohol free children, then we can be sure of a better future some years to come.
Due to this, drug/alcohol awareness campaigns are becoming intensified across the globe. Schools are not relenting on the battle against drugs/alcohol and this is really impressive. Parents should also be at the forefront on the battle against alcoholism. They should be present and actively involved in their children development at every stage and seek to notice their children’s change of behavior to correct the vice before it gets out of hand.
If you are worried about your child’s drinking behavior, don’t worry. You are not alone. Millions of parents across the globe are facing this challenge but there is hope. By finding a children friendly rehab facility, you can find quality alcoholism treatment for your child.
Stop Alcoholism Today – It Makes You Feel Empty
If you talk to many people who have been suffering from alcoholism, they’ll tell you that the constant feeling of emptiness is making them live in desperation. Many alcoholics suffer loneliness. Broken relationship ties are hard to mend once you become an active alcoholic.
An alcoholic will find it an uphill task to perform even the life’s simple tasks like good grooming. This negatively affects an individual’s appearance. The smelly odor and bad breath keeps people away from you.
Impacts Of Alcoholism On Your Health
Alcohol dependence affects the normal functioning of the brain and you find that your brains cannot function normally without alcohol. This interferes with the neurotransmitters in the brain and this badly affects the sufferer’s judgement.
Alcohol drinking badly affects your health. There are many health problems that arise from alcohol dependence. Liver and lungs complications, respiratory problems, cardiovascular problems are among the most common health disorders arising from alcoholism. Spending most of your time drinking decreases your appetite. As a result, your body’s immunity is lowered, you look weakly and sickly and there is unintentional weight loss.
When alcohol becomes the daily routine of life, it can cause: –
- Blurred vision
- Poor concentration
- Slow reaction time
- Reduced inhibitions
- Difficulty breathing or even
Individuals who consume too much alcohol for a long time are likely to suffer from severe effects of alcohol dependence. Long-term alcohol dependence damages most of the body organs. Brain, cardiovascular system, liver and the gastrointestinal system are the most affected organs. Alcoholism causes chemical changes in the brain that badly affects cognition and memory.
The following are some of the long-term health conditions of alcoholism:-
- Cardiomyopathy / drooping of the heart muscle causing heart attack or strokes
- Increased risk of cancer (colon cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer, mouth cancer etc.)
- Consistent high blood pressure
- Vision damage
- Wernicke – Korsakov syndrome caused by vitamin deficiency leading to dementia and inability to walk
- Bone loss
- Brain defects
- Liver complications (liver failure, cirrhosis or alcohol- induced hepatitis)
- Digestive problems
- Low hormone levels
- Memory loss
- Mood disorders (depression or anxiety)
- Seizure disorder
- High blood sugar causing diabetes
In severe cases of alcoholism, immediate professional intervention is required. If this condition is not handled thoroughly, it can lead to severe health complications which can lead to death.
People living in alcohol dependency have been reported to die from accident related deaths. This mostly happens when one drives while drunk. It could also result from a bad fall when one is drunk leading to internal bleeding.
Is Your Drinking Habit Taking A Toll On Your Life?
One thing that is very obvious is that once you become an alcoholic, there is a negative change of behavior and life now takes a different route. You’ll find an individual who used to be well groomed, quiet and well-disciplined becomes a dirty, unkempt and abusive noisemaker.
If you realize that your drinking problem is taking a toll on your life, what are you waiting for? Find help from addiction specialists as early as now. In fact, the earlier you identify your drinking problem, the sooner you need to find help. Don’t wait until the condition gets severe and complicated to treat.
Factors That Increase The Risks Of Alcoholism
There are many reasons why many people drink alcohol. No one turns on alcohol with a mere purpose of developing dependency. What starts as a fun glass of alcohol can potentially trigger lifelong alcoholism.
A good number of people who gets hooked to drinking got into it due to fun. This mostly happens when one is hanging around friends who are drinking and he/she envies the experiences of the drunken friends.
Many people drink due to influence from peers. This usually happens when the company one is walking in demands that they drink to fit in. so, whether or not willing to drink, one is left with no option but to drink in order to fit into that specific social class.
To Relief Stress
Life at any stage can be very stressful. In order to get a break from the reality, many people prefer to get drunk. Because of the daily life stressors event in everyday life, many people rely on alcohol and this dependence leads to a bad alcohol obsession. This is because an individual will be forced to drink more so as to achieve the same effects.
To Cope With Loss
In life, one can suffer great loss. It could be loss of a loved one, loss of a job or a marital breakdown. This can take a toll on an individual’s mental, emotional and physical health. In order to overcome the feelings of desperation and loneliness, a glass of alcohol has been thought of a quick solution.
Alcoholism, if goes for long without proper professional intervention can become deadly. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), the US number three cause of deaths is alcohol abuse.
If you are feeling embarrassed about your drinking problem, hiding your problem will not help you. Neither is living in denial will. The best justice you can do to yourself is to speak loud and talk about your drinking concerns. Visit your local rehab and meet addiction specialists who are ready and willing to help you begin your journey to sobriety.
Stages Of Addiction Treatment
Sobriety or total alcohol cessation is not a one day event. Alcoholism treatment is a journey that may last for months or years before sobriety is achieved and this duration basically depends on the severity of addiction, age, gender, health status and whether the patient is using alcohol along with other drugs.
Alcohol treatment usually involves three stages – detoxification, rehabilitation and maintenance.
This stage usually involves flushing off all alcohol traces in the body system. The main aim is to clear the body system after alcohol cessation and help the body gain stability by living without alcohol. It is one of the toughest stages of alcoholism treatment coupled with multiple severe and life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
In order to achieve a successful alcohol cessation, it is highly recommended that individuals suffering from alcoholism to consult with a doctor. Before attempting to quit alcohol, understanding what to expect is very important. No one should ignore the severity of the withdrawal symptoms if a relapse is to be avoided. An attempt to quit alcohol suddenly can lead to seizures. This can be very dangerous not forgetting the many other dangerous withdrawal symptoms that need the attention of a professional doctor.
Withdrawal symptoms of alcoholism
- High fever
- Joint pains
- Abdominal pains
- Racing heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Strong cravings and urge to drink
Why Find Alcohol Treatment?
If you look at the above withdrawal symptoms, you will agree that some of the symptoms are difficult to manage on your own. Excessive vomiting can lead to dehydration and can result to loss of life.
If the high blood pressure goes untreated, it can lead to fatal heart problems or even death. Excessive pains require medicine to help relief the discomforts. For the intense cravings and urges to drink even after quitting alcohol can be very difficult to manage on your own. You need a doctor to help make detoxification easy, fast, tolerable and successful.
Talking to an addiction specialist is the best way to go if you want to overcome that nasty alcohol dependence. The doctor will take you step by step through alcohol treatment and recommend the best therapy that works for you.
Depending on the severity of your alcoholism, the doctor can recommend inpatient, residential or outpatient rehab. The kind of alcoholism treatment recommended also depends on whether you have family responsibilities like childcare or tight work schedule that cannot allow you stay within the rehab facility throughout detox. You will discuss with your doctor on the detox program that fits your lifestyle. Upon a success detox, you can progress to the rehabilitation stage.
As stated earlier in this content, sobriety is not a one day event. It is a journey. After your body gains stability by functioning without alcohol, the battle is not over yet. This does not mean that intense cravings, urges and temptations to sip a glass of alcohol will fade away. In fact you will experience these cravings every now and then.
During rehabilitation, your doctor will put you in intense therapies to help you understand the root causes of your addiction to alcohol/drugs to help you change your behaviours and bring your life back on track. This also helps you change your behaviours towards alcohol and other intoxicating substances. This stage runs for 90 days.
How To Stay Motivated During Alcoholism Treatment?
Understanding that treating alcoholism is a tough journey coupled with its good share of ups and downs, being patient with yourself and keeping the right attitude is the best thing any alcoholism treatment patient must do.
Whether you’ve had several relapses or not, don’t give up the fight. After a relapse, take your lessons and go back to treatment again with confidence that this time you are making it. Relapse is dangerous though and should be avoided at all cost.
After going through the detox and rehabilitation, maintenance is the final stage of alcoholism treatment. It is the ongoing aftercare treatment to help you stay sober and healthy. If insufficient aftercare is not given, relapse can occur at this stage.
The doctor provides counselling sessions along with other therapies like putting you in a support group whereby you meet on scheduled appointments and discuss broad topics related to alcoholism. At this point, you can raise your concerns about your progress and talk about your experiences openly to get the help needed at this stage.
Depending on the severity of your alcohol dependence, the doctor can prescribe maintenance medication to help reduce or eliminate cravings. Support from family and friends is very important at this stage.
A supportive home environment, moving into a new home, clearing drugs/alcohol pills and bottles from your home, changing your old friends and replacing them with new ones who do not take alcohol, changing your previous hangout points and engaging yourself in worthwhile activities are some of the things you can do to avoid situations that can trigger you into drinking.
Relapse – which is going back to alcohol/drugs after a period of abstinence can happen during rehabilitation if you are not committed to your treatment program and you are not honest with yourself or not active in your support groups.
Are You An Alcoholic? You Are Not Alone!
Actually, gone are the days when people used to suffer from alcoholism in silence. Alcohol abuse is no longer a social mischief as it used to be long ago. Alcoholics are therefore no longer treated as social outcasts.
In the world today, alcoholism is treated just like any other chronic disease. If you visit your local rehab centre, you will be treated with care and dignity because professionals understand that you are suffering from a severe physical and mental disease.
Sobriety Is Worth Fighting For! Find Someone To Help You Out
Now that you understand that alcoholism is a chronic physical and mental disorder, you must be willing to admit that you need help. If you want to bring your life back on track and achieve your goals and aspirations in life, finding the best alcoholism treatment option is the way to go. Call your local rehab center and get an appointment with the addiction specialist who is experienced and committed to help you gain sobriety.