The answer to this question is yes. While there may be a lot of debate surrounding alcoholism and mental illness, alcoholism is a difficult disease to deal with. Not only does the person suffering from alcoholism have to battle the addiction itself, but they often have to face judgment from others who may not understand the disease. It is important to remember that alcoholism is complex, and it affects people in different ways. Some people may struggle with mild anxiety or depression due to alcoholism, while others may experience more severe symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions. No alcoholic deserves to go through the tough journey on their own though. Treatment centers like the Magnified Health Systems Drug Rehab can help find the right treatment for you. 

What Does Mental Illness Refer to?

Mental illness refers to a condition that affects an individual’s thinking, behavior, and mood. It can create issues ranging from mild to severe. Mental disorders can also lead to a wide range of physical health problems, and it is very common. In fact, one in five people will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime. Many alcohol addicts don’t get the help they need. This is partly because of the stigma attached to alcoholism – the feeling that there’s something wrong with you or that you’re irresponsible and lack self-control for being an alcoholic.

Different Phases Of Alcoholism

There are three phases of alcoholism that a person can go through. Unlike many other types of addiction and mental health concerns, the change from social drinking to alcohol abuse and alcoholism can be gradual and persistent. In fact, many individuals may not recognize they have a problem until it is too late. This also applies to people related to the patient. It is crucial to understand the various stages of alcoholism and what to look for. These stages are:

Problematic drinking

This is the first stage of alcoholism. During this phase, a person may start to experience problems as a result of their alcohol use. They may drink more than they intended to, or get into fights with loved ones because of their drinking. They may also start to neglect their responsibilities at work or school.

Severe Alcohol Abuse

Once the drinker is fully immersed in problematic drinking, the next stage is severe alcohol abuse. This is when a person’s alcohol use becomes unmanageable and they rely on alcohol to function. Mental health difficulties including depression, anxiety, impatience, and violence start to show up at this point. The alcoholic may begin to withdraw from family and friends. They may also begin to exhibit some typical symptoms of addiction.

Obsessive Alcohol Abuse

This is when a person has lost control over their drinking, and it has begun to negatively affect every aspect of their life.  Mentally, the obsession with drinking and finding the next drink is so intense that it inhibits the alcoholic from performing any other task until they have that drink in their hands. They may have trouble holding down a job or caring for their families. They may also be in danger of harming themselves or others as a result of their drinking.

What Effect Does Alcohol Have on Brain Chemistry?

When someone drinks alcohol, it enters the bloodstream and travels to the brain. There, it alters the levels of some chemicals in the brain. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters. Alcohol can affect the levels of different neurotransmitters, which can lead to a range of different effects.

For example, alcohol can decrease the level of serotonin – a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate moods, leading to feelings of depression and anxiety. It can also affect the level of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in pleasure and reward.

If the altered chemical levels in the brain result in a feeling of pleasure, chances are, the victim will drink again to feel the rush. With time, the brain loses its ability to differentiate between dopamine rewards from healthy behavior and alcohol-induced rewards. This leads to increased alcohol abuse.

Can Alcoholism Be Cured?

Unfortunately, alcoholism cannot be cured directly. However, it can be managed with the help of a professional. Treatment for alcoholism typically includes a combination of counseling and medication. With the right treatment, many people are able to live happy and productive lives free from alcohol abuse.

Ultimately, whether or not being an alcoholic is considered a mental health issue, it is clear that alcoholism can seriously impact a person’s mental health. If you are struggling with alcoholism, it is important to seek help. There are many resources available to you, and there is no shame in seeking help. You are not alone.