What is Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol addiction, alcohol abuse, alcohol dependency, or alcoholism all are different terms used for indicating the disorder that is caused by the excessive or uncontrolled consumption of alcohol.
Depending on the severity of the disorder, alcoholism manifests in different ways in people. The severity depends on the frequency of intake and the amount of alcohol in every intake.
Cause of Alcoholism
Alcohol stimulates your brain to release dopamine. It is a hormone that plays a role in experiencing pleasure and motivation.
As a person drinks more he feels better as the alcohol starts interfering with the regular functioning of hormone release. As time passes the effect reduces, hence he develops more tolerance to alcohol. And to increase that feeling of pleasure, one starts consuming more. People even start experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit drinking. Heavy drinkers go on drinking sprees to deal with withdrawal symptoms.
Signs of Alcohol Addiction
Alcoholism manifests in different ways from person to person. Unlike drug addiction, alcohol addiction doesn’t have clear indications. Hence it is sometimes hard to identify a person with a real problem. Also, alcohol is a part of the social settings in many cultures that’s why considering anybody who enjoys drinking as an addict will be the wrong call.
Albeit not clear there are still some combinations of behavioral and physiological signs that can conclude a person is an addict. Read further to learn the signs of alcoholism.
The inability to control the use of the substance, even when it harms the person, affects a person’s behavior. Below we have listed some behavioral signs that are the result of alcoholism.
- Inability to control
Heavy episodic drinking for longer than intended and inability to lessen or quit the drinking even when wanted.
- Risk Taking
Indulging in dangerous situations intentionally, even when the dangers are clear. Like driving fast under the influence of alcohol, indulging in brawls, arriving at work late and intoxicated, attending a social gathering drunk, etc.
- Prioritizing Drinking Over Everything
Ignoring the other important things and spending much more time drinking and deliberately or unintentionally neglecting responsibilities and activities, like spending time with family and friends, missing work, poorly performing in the job, and not giving it much heed, etc.
- Experiencing increasing financial problems
Liquidating the assets for no apparent important reasons, not being able to manage the finances, increasing the expense, spending a lot on the purchase of alcohol, getting under a pile of debt
- Overreacting to any perceived criticism leveled against their drinking
Alcoholism greatly impacts a person’s personal life. It damages the relationships with its loved ones, sometimes beyond repair.
- Continuing Drinking Despite Having Consequences
Ignorance and a reckless attitude toward all the important aspects of life further debilitate a person’s mental well being and to cope with that he/she indulges even more in drinking.
Not only behavioral and alcohol addicts exhibit physiological signs also. Let’s have a look at some of them listed below-
- Loss of neurons or dehydration due to alcohol abuse resulting in slowed reaction times
- Frequent temporary loss of memory, missing out part of a day or a whole day resulting in forgetfulness or memory lapses
- Effect on neurotransmitters resulting in trouble with motor coordination or an inability to walk correctly. It is also coupled with slurred speech alcohol significantly affects speech production.
- An impaired judgment resulting in risk-taking
The Ray of Hope (Treatment)
No matter how life-altering this disorder may seem, there is always hope for people who want to take the batten of their life back into their hands and lead a blissful and loved life.
There are forms of treatment that have evidently helped people with alcohol-related problems. The research has shown that many people treated for alcohol-related problems have remarkably recovered from it. Others have reported having the symptoms reduced substantially.
Behavioral treatments focus on improving people's drinking behavior through counseling. They are guided by health professionals and reinforced by studies showing they can be helpful.
Treatments through medications help people stop drinking and prevent relapse. A physician or other health professionals prescribe these medications. The medications are even more effective in combination with counseling. Taking medications without consultation is not recommended.
"Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much."
Coming out of a plight alone is quite challenging but provided with peer support for people quitting their alcoholism becomes easier. The essence behind the support is that one is not alone in this, and people around him/her do understand what he/she is going through. Together with treatment led by health professionals, support groups can help invariably.