Throughout history, people have used alcohol as fuel for social bonding, relaxation, and even enjoyment. It’s basically a staple in almost every party or celebration, especially in the US. However, like any food or drink, alcohol should be taken in moderation, or you risk experiencing some of its adverse effects on your body. What’s worse is giving in to alcoholism or excessive consumption of alcoholic drinks.
Am I an Alcoholic?
Although addiction to alcohol may not be life-threatening, it is an issue that should be taken seriously. It can affect your life and the lives of your loved ones. It can be a slippery slope that can lead to serious problems later on. The following are some of the signs that will help you determine if you are an alcoholic:
- Blackouts – If you experience frequent blackouts and have no recollection of what happened during these times, you may be an alcoholic.
- Lying and Denial – If you have a pattern of lying about your drinking habits and use excuses to hide the real reason why you are drinking, you may be an alcoholic.
- Loss of Control – If you are drinking alcohol even when you know that it is dangerous to do so and that it is affecting your health, you may be an alcoholic.
- Habit – If your drinking habits have become an ingrained part of your day-to-day life and you feel like you cannot live without alcohol, you may be an alcoholic.
- Social Problems – If your drinking habits are causing problems in your relationships, you may be an alcoholic.
- Negative Emotional Changes – If you experience mood swings or feel that you cannot cope with life without drinking alcohol, you may be an alcoholic.
What is a Functioning Alcoholic?
There are cases when people have reached a point where they have a very high tolerance for alcohol and can even control when they drink it since they know its effects on their personal and professional lives. These individuals may have a family and a job, but deep inside, they know that alcohol is slowly taking over their lives.
These people are classified as functioning alcoholics. They are aware of their alcohol addiction, but they can live with it as long as they can manage it. Although many of them try to drink less or stop altogether, they do not have the determination to really make a positive change in their lives. Most of them are aware of their alcoholic tendencies, but they continue to drink alcohol regardless of the negative effects that it can have on their physical and mental health.
Alcohol Dependence and Addiction
Alcohol dependence is a condition in which you cannot control your urge to drink alcohol. When you’re dependent on alcohol, you experience withdrawal symptoms in just a short while after you quit drinking it. This is a sign that you are already addicted to alcohol. This means that despite the harmful effects of alcohol on their health and wellness, these people can’t stop drinking it.
If someone’s drinking habits cause them to experience medical, social, or psychological issues or put their lives or the lives of others in danger, then they are considered alcoholics.
Even though some people are more prone to alcohol addiction than others, everyone has a risk of becoming an alcoholic. People who drink alcohol to face their problems or forget about the stresses in their day-to-day lives are more vulnerable to alcohol addiction.
Long Term Effects of Alcoholism
When taken in moderation, alcohol can boost the body’s energy level and melt away stress and anxiety. But, the effects can last only for a short while. In the long run, alcohol can cause long-term damage to the body, including liver and brain damage.
Some of the potential adverse health effects of excessive alcohol consumption include:
- Alcohol Poisoning
Excessive drinking of alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning. When someone drinks too much alcohol, their central nervous system becomes impaired. It affects their mental reasoning and judgment. The person may even collapse, experience muscle weakness and seizures, and even become unconscious.
- Liver Failure
Drinking too much alcohol may lead to liver failure. Other effects of drinking too much alcohol include cirrhosis, hepatitis, and jaundice.
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to high blood pressure, which can put a strain on the cardiovascular system.
- Problems in the Digestive System
Alcohol consumption can cause problems in the gastrointestinal tract. One of the consequences is that alcohol may cause you to feel nauseous and vomit. Problems such as alcohol-induced pancreatitis are also widespread in people with a history of alcohol abuse.
- Mood Disorders
Alcohol can have a direct impact on the neurochemistry of the brain. One of the effects that alcohol can have is to disrupt the production of the neurotransmitters that control the way people feel.
- Cardiovascular Diseases
People who drink excessively are more likely to be diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases. This is because when a person is suffering from alcohol poisoning, the flow of blood to their heart would be restricted.
This is a condition that occurs when the lining of the stomach’s mucous membranes is damaged. It is considered a digestive disorder that can become painful.
How to Quit Drinking Alcohol
If you want to get rid of your addiction to alcohol, then it’s important that you decide that you want to change your habits. It is also important that you recognize that you have a problem and that alcohol is detrimental to your overall well-being.
Here are a few ways that you can try to help you quit drinking alcohol:
- Detox Treatment
Alcohol detox refers to the short period of time when your body is cleansed from any alcohol remaining from your previous drinking habits. This initial phase of treatment can be done at home. However, you must seek medical assistance if you feel any unusual symptoms.
- Inpatient Treatment Centers
These facilities provide treatment to individuals who have a long history of drinking. In this type of treatment, you are required to reside in the facility while undergoing treatment.
- Outpatient Programs
This type of program is designed for people who just recently quit drinking. Most of the time, you will be living in the facility’s housing. The primary purpose of this program is to teach you how to live life without alcohol.
Apart from these two, there are also other outpatient programs that you can try. If you choose to go for this option, your treatment will be based on what works for you.
Alcohol addiction is a serious condition that can have a great impact on your overall well-being, including the physical and mental health of your body. You should never feel ashamed of your alcohol addiction because this is a problem that can be treated. Seek medical attention at the soonest time possible.