Alcoholism is the most severe form of alcohol abuse and involves the inability to manage drinking habits. It is also commonly referred to as alcohol use disorder. Alcohol use disorder is organized into three categories: mild, moderate and severe. Each category has various symptoms and can cause harmful side effects. If left untreated, any type of alcohol abuse can spiral out of control.
Individuals struggling with alcoholism often feel as though they cannot function normally without alcohol. This can lead to a wide range of issues and impact professional goals, personal matters, relationships and overall health. Over time, the serious side effects of consistent alcohol abuse can worsen and produce damaging complications.
Warning Signs of Alcoholism
Sometimes the warning signs of alcohol abuse are very noticeable. Other times, they can take longer to surface. When alcohol addiction is discovered in its early stages, the chance for a successful recovery increases significantly.
If you feel as though your alcohol consumption is taking a toll on your life, it’s important to find treatment options that will help you kick you alcohol addiction to the curb. Your doctor will be able to offer professional medical assistance if you are concerned about your drinking. Seeking help for alcoholism sooner rather than later gets you back on track to living a healthy, fulfilling life.
Reasons Why People Drink
Many factors can increase the risk of alcohol abuse. People may turn to alcohol for one reason and gradually develop a dependency on drinking. For example, drinking during difficult times – a death in the family or job loss – can potentially trigger long-term alcohol abuse.
While there are various reasons as to why people start drinking, some of the most common are to:
Relying on alcohol to reduce daily life stressors can impact the likelihood of developing alcoholism. Since alcohol is a depressant and a sedative, drinking produces feelings of pleasure. However, frequent drinking builds tolerance, requiring you to consume more alcohol in order to achieve the same effects.
Consuming alcohol can provide some people a break from reality. It offers a sense of relief from underlying issues your mind may be trying to escape from. However, continual alcohol use to get through the day or week can turn into a serious drinking problem.
Cope with loss
Losing a family member or friend can take a toll on you emotionally, physically and mentally. Alcohol can ease the grief you are feeling and is used to get through difficult times. Depending on alcohol, even temporarily, can spiral into a drinking problem.
Some people are naturally anxious, causing them to perpetually worry. Drinking lowers an individual’s inhibitions and makes them more comfortable in social situations. Over time though, this can lead to addictive behaviors.
Lack of Connection
Many people drink because they don’t feel adequately connected to others. They believe that alcohol will either feel the void or possibly make it easier for them to forge new bonds. However, the opposite typically ends up being true.
Shame is one of the most difficult emotions for many to cope with, and it is also one of the most traumatic. While alcohol can temporarily mask shame with false feelings, it also causes many individuals to engage in reckless or foolish behaviors that can later cause them to feel even greater shame, which can cause a downward spiral.
Alcoholism treatment experts are seeing some type of trauma in virtually every patient that they treat. There are many forms of trauma, but they all painful events where the victim didn’t have an empathetic witness. For many, treating unresolved trauma is the key to their recovery.
Health Complications from Alcohol Abuse
Drinking too much – on a single occasion or long-term – can take a serious toll on your health. Some effects of alcohol may have a minor effect on your health, while others can be severe or life-threatening.
Short-term effects of alcohol abuse can be just as dangerous as long-term effects. For instance, drinking can impact your reaction time, causing you to have slow reflexes and coordination. That’s why drinking and driving is extremely dangerous. Getting behind the wheel of a car can alter your perception of speed and distance, putting yourself and others at risk.
Several short-term effects of alcohol abuse may produce:
Slow reaction time
Reduce brain activity
Additionally, consuming too much alcohol can affect your long-term health. Some side effects may lay dormant for years before they surface. Because of this, professional medical care is required for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Here are some of the long-term health conditions caused by alcohol:
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome ( a neurobiological disease)
Increased risk of cancer
Excessive drinking negatively impacts heart health. Heart disease is currently one of the leading causes of death for alcoholics.
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