Alcoholism is a problem that’s affecting millions of people across the world. It starts with taking one or two bottles for fun, and before you know it, you can’t sleep, go to work or do attend to your daily activities without taking some alcohol first. Unfortunately, most people do not realise that alcoholism is a health problem. A majority of victims come to realise that they are already trapped when it’s too late. So what is alcoholism?
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a form of alcohol abuse that involves the inability for one to manage their drinking habits. The victim experiences uncontrollable desire to consume alcohol and will often place drinking above all other obligations including work and family. It is also referred to as alcohol dependence or alcohol addiction. But it’s a problem that only affects those who indulge in drinking alcohol. Contrary to what most people think, excessive or consistent drinking does not mean that you are candidates for alcoholism. There are signs that tells you’re now an alcoholic
Alcoholism Warning Signs/Symptoms
There are many warning signs that can help you notice changes in your drinking habits and realise that you are slowly turning into an alcoholic. However, the time taken for these signs to manifest varies with individuals. However, the sysmptoms can help deal with the problem at an early stage where the chance of recovery is significantly higher.
Common Signs/Symptoms Of Alcoholism
- Lack of control in alcohol consumption
- If you’ve started putting alcohol above everything
- Anxiety, depression or other mental health problems
- Craving alcohol when you are not drinking
- Becoming selective and dishonest
- Not getting enough of it- always wanting to drink more
- If you are spending a substantial amount of money on alcohol
- If you notice you behave differently after drinking
- Withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, shaking and sweating.
If you notice any or a number of these signs, we recommend that you take an alcohol self-assessment test to help you understand if there is cause for alarm.
Causes Of Alcoholism
Like most medical conditions, there are causes for alcoholism, but most of us including the victims do not realise it. Genetic, social, psychological and environmental are the main factors causing alcoholism. These are factors that affect the human body and behaviour, and that’s they contribute greatly to how people drink. Social factors such as broken family, losing a job or investment can make an individual indulge in drinking to feel relieved which eventually lead to alcohol use disorder.
In addition, drinking too much alcohol over time can change the normal functioning of your brain, leading to losing the ability to control your alcohol consumption. The result could be alcohol crave to make your body feel better. These are the main causes of alcoholism. If you are in such situation, then seek professional guidance to avoid falling into the trap.
Alcoholism Risk Factor
You become a candidate to alcoholism the moment you start taking alcohol. Although most people start in their teens, AUD occurs more frequently in the 20s and 30s. Here are the risk factors:
- Binge drinking and regularly.
- Starting drinking early in your teens
- Family history- alcohol use disorder is higher in people family has a problem with alcohol
- Depression and other mental health problems such as stress
- Social and cultural problems
Health Complications Of Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcoholism can take a serious toll on your health. There are many health complications that are associated with alcohol use disorder with severe cases causing death. They are categorised into short term and long term health complications.
Short term effects of consuming too much alcohol:
- Reduced brain activity
- Slow reaction time
- Blurry vision
- Poor reflexes
Longer term health complication of alcoholism:
- Liver disease. Consuming too much alcohol causes hepatic steatosis and alcohol hepatitis or inflammation of the river. Over time, liver tissue is destroyed, and you might succumb to cirrhosis.
- Digestive Problems: excessive drinking causes inflammation of the stomach lining as well as interfering with the absorption of Vitamin B. It also damages your pancreas, and that leads to digestion problems.
- Heart problems. Heavy drinking leads to blood pressure hence increasing the risk of heart failure and stroke.
- Diabetes complications as alcohol interfere with the release of glucose hence increasing the risk of low sugar
Other long term complications include eye problems, bone damage, weakened immune systems, and increase the risk of colon cancer.
Alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a condition that can be treated. However, it requires the patient to accept that they have a problem and need help. Then, the next step is dealing with the underlying factors or the causes of alcoholism. In addition, go for a qualified counsellor who can devise a workable plan on how to tackle your drinking problem. If alcoholism problem is at an alarming stage, you might need to be put in a rehab where you can be monitored 24/7 for a quick recovery.
If you are struggling with the problem alcoholism and feel that you need help, we can help you get your life back. At Kennedy Healthcare, we are experienced specialists in alcohol and substance abuse. We are always ready to walk with you throughout the journey to recovery from alcohol use disorder.