Alcoholism is like a disease affecting your brain, spirit, and behavior. The worst thing about it is the fact that it not only affects the alcoholic but also his/her family, relatives, and friends. Alcohol addiction is a progressive malady that does not know work days, weekends and holiday; it is more like an express train. Luckily though, alcoholism is treatable. A lot of people are now sober thanks to one or another form of alcohol treatment. We will get there later on this post.
Some key facts around alcoholism
Alcohol addiction is a global problem crushing economies, breaking families, taking innocent lives, and crippling the future generation. Approximately 17 million adults across the globe are in the category of alcohol addicts. Out of those, 7.2 are Americans. It is even astonishing that only 10% or less of those addicts seek any form of alcohol treatment. This is why alcohol abuse is the third global leading cause of avoidable deaths by claiming 88,000 lives each year. If you thought that this is a minor problem, now you know the dragon the world is facing.
Symptoms of alcoholism
There is a lot to show that you are crawling into alcohol abuse. Here are some of the telltales:
1. Alcohol cravings. You will be longing to have a cold beer every day.
2. You carry alcohol everywhere you go. Even in the workplace you will bring your hip flask.
3. Being anxious when you are not drinking
4. Need more alcohol to satisfy your thirst. One or two bottles is never enough; you want to drink till you drop
5. You become emotionally unstable. The least of things that would make you angry are now making you go mad with anger.
6. Loss of memory. You will hardly remember what happened a few hours ago
7. Broken relationships. Your relationships with family, friends, workmates will get strained
8. Sliding performance at school or work
9. The feeling of guilt and embarrassment of your drinking habits, but you cannot stop
Types of alcoholism
Alcohol addiction sets in slowly. It begins like a social thing or one bottle and gradually turns into a problem. Looking at the types of alcoholism helps put things into a clear perspective.
At this stage, your drinking woes have not begun. You will often take more than is necessary. For men, it is taking 5 or more beers in one sitting. For women, it is taking 4 or more beers in one occasion. It is more common among those who are 21 years or younger people than with grownups.
This stage happens when you begin to get into alcohol-related problems. It could be bar brawls, traffic fines or cases of assault at your office. Despite these problems making your life difficult, you do not see the need to stop. Most of the time you are drunk, and your judgment is impaired.
In this stage, alcohol dependence becomes your daily life. You begin to experience cravings for beer, lose control of your life, and get withdrawal symptoms when you do not drink. Your level of alcohol tolerance will significantly increase. Despite all the problems you are getting into on a daily basis, your urge to drink keeps going higher with each day.
Effects of alcohol addiction
1. Impact on the brain Alcohol is a depressant that affects the functioning of the brain. One of those effects to the brain is attaching itself to the GABA receptors leading to impaired judgment and delayed responses. Continued abuse of alcohol will cause a lot of damage to the brain.
2. Liver and digestive problems The liver has the sacred role of cleaning the body. Taking excessive alcohol overburdens the liver and finally leads to cirrhosis, which is a tissue-wasting disease. With a lot of alcohol in your body, the digestive tract will get acid refluxes, poor digestion, and diarrhea.
3. The effect on the cardiovascular system Alcohol is not good for your heart, and that means a load of problems to your cardiovascular system. Alcoholic drinks are laden with unhealthy carbs that often lead to weight problems, and this will be the onset of your cardiovascular problems.
4. Blood circulation problems Heart problems will be the beginning of poor blood circulation. With poor heart beats and thinning blood vessels, some of your body parts will not be receiving adequate blood.
5. Prone to cancer Alcohol abuse will increase the risk of the following types of cancer: Liver, breast, mouth, throat and pancreatic cancers.
6. Adverse effects on the excretory system The excretory system gets rid of toxins from your body system. Alcohol adds the level of toxicity in your body thus forcing the excretory system to work twice as hard. This will see the onset of kidney failure and other conditions such as kidney stones.
It is not easy to diagnose addiction because those who abuse it are not willing to accept they have a problem. The first task will be to convince an alcoholic that they have a problem. The next challenge will find someone who can diagnose the problem and prescribe treatment.
Treatments for alcohol abuse vary from one person to another. Besides, the severity of the addiction will also determine the most effective treatment methods. Here are some of the methods for alcohol addiction treatment:
1 Withdrawal and detoxification: It is all about getting clean from alcohol. The detox takes 2 to 7 days with appropriate medication to deal with withdrawal symptoms.
2 Psychological counseling: this involves attending group therapies and listening to alcoholic recovery stories. It needs family support throughout the process.
3 Clinical medication: Some injections and pills could help an alcoholic recovery. A good example is Vivitrol, which is injected once a month to help with the withdrawal symptoms and lifestyle change.
4 Spiritual guidance: There are those who rely on religious teachings to find their way back to sobriety.
Alcohol abuse is a universal problem claiming hundreds of thousands lives every year. Since it is a preventable and treatable problem, it is time for individuals and families to seek help when necessary. The world can be sober if everyone is ready for a lifestyle change.