What is Alcoholism addiction and abuse?
As indicated by the name, alcoholism is the condition of dependence on alcohol. The dependence is caused by alcohol abuse and excessive use. People who develop an excessive dependence on alcohol are generally referred to as alcoholics. It is believed that the alcoholic feels that they cannot perform their regular activities without drinking, which only further aggravates the problem. Despite the negative side-effects of alcoholism, people who have developed an excessive dependency on alcohol continue to drink excessively.
There are no core causes attributed to alcoholism, but indirectly poverty, loss, grief and depression are considered as causes of alcoholism.
What are the types of Alcoholism?
Severity of alcoholism depends on usage and drinking frequency, and there are 5 major classifications of alcoholism:
Young Adult Subtype
Young adults who develop a habit of excessive alcohol drinking without any family history of alcoholism.
Young Antisocial Subtype
Young adults with a family history of alcoholism and drug abuse.
Functional subtype is generally attributed to people with history of depression and alcoholism in the family and have stable jobs.
Intermediate Familial Subtype
Intermediate familial subtype is also attributed to depression and to family history of alcoholism.
Chronic Severe Subtype
Chronic severe subtype includes middle aged and senior citizens with history of mental diseases and drugs consumption.
What are the effects?
Excessive use of anything is dangerous and the same is the case with alcohol. People suffering from alcoholism develop serious health issues which are sometimes life threatening.
Short term effects:
- Problematic breathing
- Vision issues
- Reduction in brain’s activity
- Low productivity
Long term effects:
- Serious brain damage
- Diminishing defense capabilities of immune system
- Liver disorders
- Increased likelihood of Diabetes
- Neurological disability
- Unstable pressure of blood
- Damaged brain cells
- Inflammation of pancreas
Alcohol can damage the liver severely and can even become a cause for liver failure. According to statistics, those who start using alcohol in their teens are five times more prone to risk than those who start using at a reasonable age.
What are the warning signs?
Statistics show dismal results regarding consequences of alcohol abuse and addiction. Alcoholism causes 1 out of 25 death worldwide. In its severe form, addiction to alcohol can be very hard to treat . It is imperative to notice the symptoms and signs as early as possible to initiate the rehab process promptly. Typical signs may include:
- Antisocial behavior
- Reluctance from bearing job or family responsibilities
- Drinking with an excuse of escaping from tensions
- Only showing interest in drinking activities
- Slanted statements and loud voice tone
- Crumbled walking stance
- Craving to drink again
- Hiding alcohol in unlikely places
- Stealing money for buying alcohol, this sign is more commonly observed in teenaged alcoholics
Moreover, alcoholics usually show following symptoms:
- Extreme redness of eyes, cheeks or nose
- Reduction in weight
- No or limited hunger for food
- Heartburn or gastritis
- Inability to sleep
What are the withdrawal symptoms?
Alcohol withdrawal is also characterized by some effects which are sometimes even considered life threatening. Withdrawing from alcohol can cause alcohol withdrawal syndrome and is generally caused in people who are withdrawing from alcohol after drinking for a long time. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can begin within a few hours after the last drink and can prolong for weeks or even months. Some of the commonly noticed symptoms are:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Lung pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Mood Swings
- Infections or even seizures
In addition to the aforementioned symptoms, a severe symptom of alcohol withdrawal is delirium tremens a symptom which can cause nervous system changes. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms have the capability to get worse swiftly, so do not hesitate to contact an emergency department even if the symptoms seem mild.
There is standardized treatment methods designed for treating alcoholism, which involve step by step treatment plans. The course of treatment generally depends on the frequency and usage of alcohol, but the standardized procedure involves three steps:
Detox: Detoxing and stabilizing the body.
Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation is essential for alcoholics to successfully reintegrate back into society. Patients are generally admitted to rehabilitation or assigned different tasks for rehabilitation after detox.
Treatment does not end with detox and rehabilitation, it is important for alcoholics to successfully reintegrate back into the society for maintaining their life. If you have a loved one suffering from alcoholism, please reach out to us as quickly as possible.