WHAT IS ALCOHOLISM?
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.
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. Common signs include...
Being unable to control alcohol consumption
Craving alcohol when you’re not drinking
Putting alcohol above personal responsibilities
Feeling the need to keep drinking more
Spending a substantial amount of money on alcohol
Behaving differently after drinking
Why do 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 professionals 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.
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.
Slow reaction time
Reduce brain activity
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (a neurobiological disease)
Increased risk of cancer
There are different forms of treatment available based on frequency and severity of alcohol abuse. Recovering from alcohol addiction is a process that continues long after rehab. It takes commitment to practice and apply the techniques you learn in rehab, counseling, support groups and other types of therapy. Although every individual will have their own recovery plan that’s tailored to their specific needs, treatment generally follows a structure.
This phase should be completed with the help of medical professionals due to the potential for serious, uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Many times, individuals are given a medication to help alleviate the painful side effects of a withdrawal.
There are two types of rehabilitation that help treat alcoholism: inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab. Inpatient rehabs are intensive treatment programs that require you to check into a facility for a certain period of time. Outpatient rehab allows individuals to participate in a recovery program while continuing with their daily life. Talk with your doctor about treatment options to choose the best form of recovery for you.
The recovery process doesn’t end with the completion of rehab. Long-term sobriety requires ongoing therapy and may entail support groups, counseling and other recovery resources. These will make sure you maintain sobriety and continue on a happy, healthy path for months and years to come.