Alcohol dependence, or alcoholism, has been recognized as a mental addiction. The need or craving for drink can be so strong that alcoholics find it hard to resist, despite the fact that the effects of alcohol on the body are so dangerous. Its effect on the brain, body and a health are both short-term and long lasting.
What is alcohol dependence?
Alcohol dependence is a condition that is characterized by excessive drinking and covers alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Both alcohol abuse and alcoholism represent drinking problems. Alcohol abusers do not have a physical addiction, while alcoholics are physically addicted to alcohol. Either way, excessive drinking is always wrong, and the effects of alcohol are dangerous too.
People who are addicted continue to drink despite knowing that the effects of alcohol can destroy their lives.
Signs and withdrawal symptoms of alcoholism
If alcohol abuse is left untreated, it may progress towards an addiction accompanied by serious alcohol effects.
Signs and symptoms of alcoholism that indicate a serious medical condition are:
- Significant hangover and longer periods of time needed to recover from the after-effects of an alcoholic binge.
- Lack of attention to personal and professional duties.
- Higher tolerance levels to large amounts of drink, which in turn encourage increased alcohol consumption.
- Repeated failure to reduce alcohol consumption.
- Withdrawal symptoms caused by quitting alcohol.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Alcoholism
The effects of alcohol are dangerous, but what can prove even more serious is attempting to quit alcohol without proper medical advice. This could lead to grave medical consequences too.
The signs of alcoholism withdrawal are:
- Extreme agitation
- Profuse sweating even in cold weather
- Nausea or vomiting
- Persistent insomnia
- Tremors and uncontrollable shaking of legs or hands
Effects of alcoholism on the body
The effects of long-term alcohol consumption are many. It impacts a person’s physical, mental and emotional state, and can also cause damage to the organs and bodily functions.
The areas of the body most likely to get affected are:
- Nervous system
- Stomach (intestines)
Also Read: Benefits of going without booze in a month
Alcohol dependence also causes several medical side-effects such as:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Sexual problems
- Stomach problems
- Osteoporosis, especially in women
Signs of alcoholism also have an impact on a person’s social life. Drunken behavior at work may result in suspension from the job, leaving a person completely devastated. Financial crisis, domestic violence, marital problems, and legal issues are other fall-outs those with alcohol dependence have to deal with. As per studies, alcohol abuse causes about 100,000 deaths every year in the United States and Canada.
Drinking patterns vary among individuals, with some preferring to get drunk every day to others binge drinking whenever it suits them. Either way, it is important to follow preventive measures to put an end to alcoholism as soon as possible.
How do you treat alcoholism?
Alcohol dependence is a dangerous condition that requires specialist treatment. Alcoholics should not abruptly quit drinking, because that can result in serious complications, including death. The treatment has to focus on learning how to control the disease.
Recovering alcoholics choose to steer clear of alcohol because schooling themselves how to drink alcohol safely is too challenging for them. Avoiding alcohol is sometimes the best way for them to manage their addiction.
The best way to treat anyone exhibiting signs of alcoholism is by approaching the problem psychologically. An alcoholic needs to make up his or her mind and accept that the effects of alcohol are harmful and very dangerous. An alcoholic must first try to understand alcoholism and the problems caused due to it. Then he or she must commit to staying sober and practice only healthy drinking habits. To recover from alcohol dependence is an arduous process, especially since the treatment only includes therapy, learning new ways to cope and healthy or effective ways to manage stress.
There are medications that may lessen the symptoms of withdrawal. There are also drugs that can help a person quit drinking by blocking the euphoric feeling of intoxication, making the person feel sick the moment the alcohol enters the body.
Seeking professional help, or joining a support group, improves chances of recovery from alcoholism. Family members, relatives and friends can also play an active role in the treatment.
Excess of anything is bad as it can ruin the self-esteem as well as impact a person’s physical and mental behavior. Alcohol dependency can only be curbed with self-control and the understanding that the effects of alcohol are very dangerous for the body.