Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism, is a disease in which a person has a desire or a physical need to consume alcohol despite its harmful effects. Drinking alcohol is acceptable in many cultures. Moreover, it is also used as a common beverage at social gatherings and celebrations. However, it turns into an addiction when a person cannot stop and will do anything to fulfill their craving.
Normal alcohol consumption is not something to be worried about. However, alcohol addiction is a disease because it can cause changes in the brain and neurochemistry of a person. Consequently, it requires proper treatment as well.
Alcohol addiction can manifest in different ways. Some people drink heavily all day, mostly every day. On the other hand, some people consume a large amount of alcohol once and then stay sober for some time. However, neither of these people can stay sober for an extended time without intervention.
Signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction
Alcohol addiction is a serious illness that can often take lives. Not only does it affect the alcoholic but people related to them as well. Therefore, it is important to treat this condition as soon as possible. Several organizations offer treatment for people suffering from different addictions, including alcohol. You can visit websites such as delphihealthgroup.com to see what these organizations offer. Mostly they offer treatments that fit the unique needs of each individual and provide a safe and supportive environment where your loved ones can recover.
It is important to detect an alcohol addiction at the right time to get your loved ones the right treatment. Here are some common symptoms that you need to look out for.
There are many physical signs of alcohol addiction that can help you determine if someone is suffering from it. People with this disease consume large amounts of alcohol without staying sober for long. They spend more time, money, and other resources on their addiction.
Such people also do not maintain hygiene and lack self-care. Moreover, they show signs of intoxication almost all the time. These signs include slurred speech and poor coordination. People suffering from this addiction have a higher chance of engaging in risky behaviors and hurting themselves.
Like any other addiction, alcohol addiction can also have psychological effects. For instance, such a person may have trouble remembering things or paying attention. They may develop anxiety or depression and have rapidly changing moods. Other signs include aggression, irritability, dependence on alcohol, poor judgment, and lethargy.
Impaired functioning in different areas of life is one of the biggest signs of alcohol addiction. People struggling with an addiction often fail to concentrate on work or study. This can harm their work performance and cause them to lose their job. In addition to this, they face financial issues, mostly due to spending extra on their addiction.
Such people also face social withdrawal and cannot fulfill familial and other obligations.
Causes of alcohol addiction
Long-term alcohol exposure alters the neurochemistry and affects the brain of the person. This disease can take anywhere from months to up to decades to develop. It can significantly affect GABA and glutamate, two major neurotransmitters in the brain.
In addition to this, alcohol consumption raises dopamine levels in the brain, giving a gratifying feeling. Thus, people drink again and again to achieve that feeling repeatedly.
Moreover, certain risk factors can make a person vulnerable to developing alcohol addiction. These factors include:
- Drinking at an early age or before the age of 15.
- Genes or a family history of similar problems.
- Low self-esteem.
- Psychological problems such as stress and depression.
- Traumatic past
Available treatment methods
According to WHO, 5% of deaths in 2016 were a result of alcohol abuse. However, this number can be brought down with the help of early detection and the right treatment. There are different effective treatment methods available for alcohol addiction. You can choose the one that suits you or get advice from a medical professional as well. Available treatment methods include:
People often choose to follow 12-step programs such as Alcoholic Anonymous as a way to recover from their addiction. Support groups like these can be quite beneficial for struggling people. They provide an environment where you can share your journey without the fear of judgment. Moreover, it gives a sense of belonging and helps a person develop healthy relationships with people going through the same thing.
Rehab is another great option for recovering from alcohol addiction. It provides resources that can improve daily functioning and help you get back to your normal life. Rehab focuses on your recovery, provides therapy, and enables you to create a healthy routine.
Therapeutic interventions, such as CBT allow people to deal with their issues healthily. A therapist can help you understand and learn to cope with your problem in a better way. It can also help you identify the underlying issues that led you to develop this addiction. Therapy can also work best with other methods such as medication and detoxification.
Alcohol addiction is a disease that requires serious action as soon as it is diagnosed. It can have multiple harmful impacts on a person’s life. Moreover, it can cause different health problems and even be life-threatening. So, early detection is crucial in this addiction. Nevertheless, you can prevent the worst-case scenario with the help of proper treatment, care, and support.
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