Facts About Alcoholism
Most people know somebody that abuses alcohol. Some people go out on the weekends to “let loose” at the club and end up drinking too much. Other people go on a three-day bender. How can you know how much alcohol is too much? What is the criterion for alcohol addiction? Are you an alcoholic?
If you have to ask yourself that question, then it’s time to learn more about alcohol addiction. Many people think that it’s a matter of willpower, but this simply isn’t true.
Addiction recognized as a disease of the brain that causes a person to drink compulsively, despite continued negative consequences.
Why Do People Drink?
A person may start drinking socially, a few times a week. However, a person with alcohol addiction will start drinking more alcohol more often. They won’t be able to control their drinking and often will go out and drink more than they intended. Some people addicted to alcohol are “day drinkers”, but many people are able to wait until the evening to start their drinking. A person addicted to alcohol may be addicted to other substances as well.
Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in the United States. Although in most states you have to be 21 to drink alcohol, it’s commonly the first drug (yes, alcohol is a drug) that teenagers have access to. Some people drink liquor while others prefer beer.
How Do People Who Abuse Alcohol Act?
Alcoholism, also called alcohol use disorder, is a progressive disease that affects a person’s life in many aspects. A person who drinks a lot may be embarrassed about it and go to great lengths to hide their use. This may mean hiding their alcohol, keeping extra alcohol around (such as in a purse or a messenger bag) so they always have a drink handy.
Many people who have an alcohol use disorder black out entirely, and don’t remember what they did during the time they were drinking. People who drink heavily have more hospital visits and drunk driving incidents (accidents, arrests etc.) than the rest of the population. People with an alcohol use disorder continue to drink, despite any negative consequences. They grow a tolerance to alcohol and use it regularly.
People who are drunk may act in different ways. If you don’t know how much somebody has had to drink, here are some symptoms:
• The person is nauseas
• Trouble walking or frequent stumbling
• Slurring their words
• Poor memory
• Smelling of alcohol
• Forgetting conversations
• Acting disoriented
How Much Alcohol is Too Much?
Drinking heavily is a problem across the US. But how is an alcohol addiction diagnosed? And how can you know if you or your loved one has a problem?
If you think you or a loved one has a problem with alcohol, then it’s likely true. Do you drink more than you intended? Have you driven drunk or been arrested while drunk? Have you hurt yourself or had an accident while drinking? Do you black out while drinking? Have you gotten in fights or arguments while drinking?
These are all classic signs that you have a problem with alcohol.
Alcohol Addiction Hurts
Families and friendships suffer when addiction enters the picture. It’s hard for a person to pay attention to their responsibilities when they’re abusing alcohol. Alcohol addiction can affect so many aspects of life, such as:
- Financial Problems: Drinking and blackouts can cause the alcoholic to spend money they didn’t mean to. You might also lose cash, charge up credit cards, and make overall bad decisions if you are handling money while drunk. If you lose your job, you may end up wrecking your credit as you look for ways to continue to use alcohol.
- Relationship Problems: Addiction is often referred to as a family disease because of the damage it does to other people in the household. Family members may take on different roles, as alcohol addiction becomes a front-and-center problem in family life. Family members worry about the addicted person, but they also are often victims of that person’s other problems. It may cause stress when the alcoholic’s finances start to put strain on the family.
- Health Issues: Alcohol stresses the liver and kidneys, as well as the cardiovascular system and gastrointestinal system. If you have a pre-existing condition such as colitis alcohol can be a huge danger to your health. Beer drinkers often suffer from benign but painful diseases such as gout. Many people who drink heavily injure themselves while drinking. This may be when you’re prepping food for dinner or walking down the steps. In either event, this is dangerous. Thousands of people are seriously injured while drunk every year.
- Legal Issues: A person with alcohol addictions may drink outside the home a lot with other heavy drinkers. Driving While Intoxicated charges are common among people who regularly binge on alcohol. Some people even lose their drivers’ license completely. Jail time may be an issue if you are committing crimes when you’re drunk. Many an alcoholic has spent a night in a “drunk tank”.
- Risky Behavior: Many people drink to “let loose” but some people who drink make terrible decisions when drunk, doing things they would never do while sober. This may mean promiscuous sex or rock climbing while drink after dark.
- Mental Health Issues: Some people who drink heavily are experiencing mental health issues. Alcohol works as a depressant, which can exacerbate any already-existing mental illnesses.
- Serious Addiction Symptoms: People who are addicted to alcohol may suffer withdrawal when they are not drinking, causing tremors, sweats, nightmares and more
Alcohol Addiction, Detox and Recovery
If drinking is causing you or your loved one negative consequences in life, and you’re worried that you might have a drinking problem, think a lot about how you feel when you drink (as well as the day after). If being drunk is bringing you more problems than pleasure, but you’re having trouble-quitting drinking, then you need to get help.
Trying to detox on your own after a long period of drinking is not advised. Some people suffer dangerous withdrawal symptoms such as fever, seizures, hallucinations and heart palpitations. It’s highly recommended that you seek the help of a treatment center to help you plan your recovery journey. A detox plan and aftercare treatment can help you reclaim your life.
Quitting alcohol can indeed be a challenge, but you’re worth it. Sobriety offers many new possibilities in life. You deserve to experience much more than your addiction wants to let you. Your life is yours to live; it’s your choice to reclaim it.
If you think you or somebody you love has a problem with alcohol, you’re not alone. We can help you learn more about your treatment options and navigate your options for recovery. All phone calls are confidential – so why not give us a call today? Our number is 619-363-4767.