Very often people find it difficult to understand when their alcohol consumption has gone from socializing to becoming an addiction. As there is less awareness of alcoholism and lots of stigma around the subject, many cases of alcoholism are swept under the rug.
The onset of alcoholism can be attributed to a host of factors such as the environment while growing up, current social environment, and emotional health and stability. If you are close or related to an alcoholic, you are more likely to develop drinking issues. You may also go through this if you are a heavy or regular drinker, or if you have mental health issues such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, etc. In these circumstances, you are likely to self-medicate and grow dependent gradually. This blog will act as a quick primer to help you understand if your alcohol consumption is becoming self-destructive, and how to get it under control.
The most common and easily identifiable symptoms of alcoholism are:
Short term hazards.
The short-term harm includes health conditions such as injuries caused by accidents, falls, homicides, sexual assaults, alcohol poisoning, etc. Under the effect of alcohol, people tend to lose judgment and decision-making skills.
Long-term health hazards.
The long-term health hazards are medical conditions that develop after excessive intake of alcohol for a long period. Alcoholism is a progressive and chronic condition; being a cause and effect to a wide range of other conditions. Alcohol brings great risk and perpetuates heart disease, stroke, hypertension, liver disease like cirrhosis and hepatitis, kidney damage, nutritional deficiencies, liver, mouth, throat, colon and breast cancer, lung infections, stomach ulcers and bleeding, infertility in woman, damage to the unborn causing fetal alcohol syndrome, drop in sperm count, osteoporosis, dehydrates the skin, weaken your immune system, increases your risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection like HIV, hepatitis and Chlamydia.
Domestic violence and sexual assault.
Studies have shown that excessive alcohol consumption is associated with domestic violence and sexual assault. But this does not mean that alcohol use causes or encourages an individual to do all these.
Alcohol affects the unborn.
Women who are pregnant, if they abuse alcohol, they put not only themselves but also the unborn child at risk. The mother’s alcohol consumption results in the child developing Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which includes symptoms like hyperactivity, poor coordination, issues in hearing and sight, and heart problems. It may also result in the child having certain deformities.
Several people who consume alcohol may think that alcohol helps them cope with their issues, difficulties, emotional turmoil, stress, anxiety, but alcohol is linked to a variety of mental health issues such as depression, risk-taking behavior, disrupted sleeping patterns, anxiety, personality disorders, and schizophrenia. Alcohol also influences areas of the brain associated with concentration, judgment, coordination, emotions, and behavior. The Mental Health Foundation also reported that 65% of suicides have a connection with excessive drinking.
Alcohol lowers your inhibitions by affecting judgment, lowering attention span, and motor coordination, along with loss of balance, reducing reaction time, blurred vision, confusion, slurred speech, dizziness, effects on moods like aggression or increased affection, and reduces the ability to feel pain.
Effects on brain
Alcohol can affect the brain through both direct and indirect means. Generally, alcohol affects a person’s learning and memory, reasoning, and long-term planning. Long-term drinking can also lead to permanent brain damage.
Effects in women
Research shows that women are at high risk of alcohol abuse. As women’s blood alcohol concentration tends to be higher, they are at significant risk of damages such as infertility, menstrual cycles, and even early menopause.
Alcohol has an adverse effect on the social dynamics of an individual. Alcohol has a negative effect on an individual’s personality. From domestic violence to violent behaviors, alcohol is to be blamed. Research shows high rates of divorce, child neglect, homicides, etc. Children generally from alcoholic families face psychological and emotional troubles like anger, mistrust, fear, guilt, and insecurities. Children of such families also end up being addicts themselves.
Alcoholism is a real addiction, much like drug abuse. It is harmful and can lead to self-destruction. However, it is curable. The first step to overcoming alcoholism is to accept that you have a drinking problem and seeking help. Denial is one of the major reasons why alcoholics often do not get the treatment they need.
With the right kind of treatment, alcoholism is curable. No matter how severe the issue may appear, many people with alcoholism can benefit from numerous treatment options available. Studies show that at least one-third of people who are treated for alcohol issues have no further symptoms even after a year. Most people substantially reduce their drinking habits and report fewer alcohol-related cases.
Two of the most common treatments for alcohol dependence are detoxification and rehabilitation:
A recovering alcoholic must be self-driven and put in an effort to recover. If you’re going through this stage, you need constant support and motivation so you can put an end to your cravings for alcohol. You can also get support by joining support groups for recovering alcoholics or speaking to a professional therapist/counselor.
In the end, there is not one-size-fits-all solution that you can find, and what may suit you may not be the best fit for someone else. Simply understanding the different options can be a vital first step.
The stigma associated with alcohol abuse and alcohol dependency is forced upon us by society, friends and family. Almost all assumptions made when you think about an alcoholic are negative, like being deprived, unemployed, having had a bad upbringing, dropping out of school and not completing your education and involved in reckless pursuits such as gambline, betting, etc. Alcoholics are mostly assumed to consume drugs as well.
One of the important aspects for a recovering individual is to overcome this stigma and reach out for professional help to treat alcohol dependence. Remember, alcoholism is a real disease and is not a mark of the weakness of character.
Q1. What is the difference between alcoholism and alcohol addiction?
Ans- Alcohol abusers don’t always turn into full-fledged alcoholics, though it is a major risk factor. Alcoholism or alcohol dependence has almost similar symptoms as alcohol abuse, except for the fact that severe physical and functional dependence on alcohol becomes pronounced. It is one of the most common types of problematic drinking.
Q2. How can I successfully stop drinking?
Ans- Visit this link for more detail : stop drinking
Q3. How long does it take for the body to heal from the effects of alcohol?
Ans- Visit this link for more detail : alcohol dependence treatment
Q4. What are the effects of alcohol on the brain?
Ans- Visit this link for more detail : effects of alcohol
Q5. Does alcohol cause any permanent damage to the body?
Ans- Visit this link for more detail : alcohol dependence treatment
Did you know that the first step to leading an alcohol-free life is to get help from experts? If you’re looking for a trusted alcohol support centre, then Cadabams is your best option. They have a wide range of treatment options to address alcohol-related problems.
You can call us on our mental health helpline +91 96111 94949 for further details on getting alcohol treatment in India or any alcoholism-related emergencies.
Disclaimer – Our team at Cadabams strives to treat our patients with dignity and the utmost sensitivity for a broad spectrum of alcoholism-related issues. We understand that alcohol addiction is a disease, and it is not a sign of weakness. In case you, or a loved one, are struggling with alcoholism and share a real-time perspective on how we can improve this content for our readers, do reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org