The Beginner’s Guide to Alcoholism

Jul 11, 2014
Health

Alcoholism is a major problem in the world today. It can ruin lives in many ways. This is why you should have a better understanding of alcoholism

 

What is Alcoholism?

This is a condition where a person feels a compulsive need to consume alcohol. A common misconception is that only people who drink several drinks every day are alcoholics. If you need alcohol to get through the day, no matter how much you drink, you have an addiction to alcohol.

 

Causes

There are several factors that lead to alcoholism, including:

1) Genetics - Studies show that children of people with alcoholism are at a greater risk for this condition.

2) Psychological factors - This could be due to mental disorders a person has or even just the way they think about themselves or their lives. Depression and low self esteem have been linked to alcoholism.

3) Social - For many, alcoholism starts out as social drinking. Then being social turns into a more regular occurrence until it becomes an addiction.

4) Environmental Issues - If you are constantly around alcohol, you are at a greater risk for this condition. This is also true for children who have easy access to alcohol at their homes. Stress in your life can also contribute to alcoholism.

 

One thing science has learned is that alcohol changes the nerve tracts and chemicals in the brain, which can lead to a dependency on alcohol. For some, this can happen as soon as they start drinking. For others, this can be a gradual process. This is different for everyone.

 

Symptoms of Alcoholism

There are many symptoms that you will want to be aware of :

1) Not being able to control the amount of alcohol you consume

2) You try to hide your drinking or how much you drink

3) Experiencing blackouts when you drink

4) You have to drink to feel normal

5) You feel a need or compulsion to drink

6) You hide alcohol in unusual places

7) You find that you need more alcohol to get the same results

8) Relationships suffer and you have legal issues

 

If you find that you are drinking more than four drinks a day and feel guilty about your drinking, then you have alcoholism. With this, if you feel that you need to cut back on your drinking or get upset when others comment on your drinking, this could be a sign that it is time to get help.

 

Treatment Options

The good news is there are many ways to treat alcoholism. The way to treat it will vary from person to person. You can go to a clinic where you will stay and be under the supervision of a staff, or you can try to combat this on your own through willpower and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings.

The thing to keep in mind, though, is that over half of all people who try to relieve their addiction on their own will relapse within a year. On the other hand, treatment centers offer comprehensive care. This includes psychological help to determine the underlying causes and find ways to retrain your brain. It also includes therapy, both on an individual and group basis. You will find that many programs offer additional services, such as exercise and nutrition, to help get your body healthy again.

There is also a lot to be said about being in a facility where you do not have access to alcohol. The beginning is generally rough, as detox can cause physical symptoms such as aches, pains and nausea. However, the treatment centers will have ways to minimize this and once you have passed the initial detox, the process gets easier.

Even after completing a treatment center program, you should still attend group meetings. These are important because they help you to remain strong when fighting the temptation to drink. With this, there is also a sense of accountability as you will know the people at the meetings and have a sponsor.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for alcoholism. This is something that you will struggle with for the rest of your life. The good news is that getting treatment can help you to get the tools you need to overcome this addiction. Going to meetings will help you to reinforce these tools and keep you strong so you do not relapse.

 

Preventing Alcoholism

Preventing alcoholism can really only be done by never drinking as you do not know what will cause you to move from simply drinking to alcoholism. However, this is an unrealistic goal for most people. This is why the best thing you can do is look for the warning signs of alcoholism and treat it right away. The sooner that it is caught, the easier it is to treat and the less damage that it will do to the body.

Alcoholism can cause a number of issues within the body, with the most notable being liver damage. It can also damage the brain, esophagus and other parts of the body. Being in an impaired state can in itself lead to potentially fatal situations. This is why you need to seek treatment for yourself or a loved one suffering from this condition.

 

Additional Resources

To learn more about alcoholism, visit the following sites.

1) National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

2) How Alcoholism Works - How Stuff Works:

3) The 15 Best Alcoholism Blogs of 2013 - HealthLine:

 

Have you or a loved one faced alcoholism? Share your experience and tips with us in the comments.