Alcoholism is defined as the inability to manage drinking habits from crossing into excess or unhealthy. Alcoholics are unable to function without drinking some form of alcohol to begin their day or end their night.
There are different levels of alcoholism with a variety of symptoms that can get out of control quickly. Alcoholism is also referred to as alcohol use disorder in some professions.
What Symptoms are Associated with Alcoholism?
- Periods of blackouts or memory loss
- Irritability and frequent mood swings
- Constant excuses for drinks such as for relaxation, stress relief or functioning
- Drinking takes priority over everyday responsibilities
- Distancing and isolating oneself from loved ones
- Drinking in secret or alone
- State of a hangover feeling without drinking
- Changes in appearance and associations
How is Alcoholism Diagnosed?
There are different questionnaires in addition to recognizing symptoms. There is the CAGE survey, which measures how severe the drinking problem is. Professionals say that if you answer “yes” to two or more questions, seeking professional help is advised.
Professions that use the DSM, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders have their own questions that gauge the past year of drinking habits and their severity.
What are the Risks Associated with Alcoholism?
The abuse of alcohol creates consequences that will affect not only your personal life but your professional life as well. Besides the effects on your social life, excessive alcohol use will also cause your health to deteriorate. Alcoholics tend to fall a downward spiral in life due to repeated denial of a problem in the first place.
What Causes Alcoholism?
Prolonged use of alcohol creates dependency within the body, thus building up withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is not consumed.
There are several factors professionals consider when determining the cause of alcoholism. The first is biological, meaning genetics such as other alcoholics in the same family line. The environment also influences alcohol use regarding location and acceptance, for example living near a bar or establishment that serves alcohol frequently.
Social and psychological factors also play a role in causing alcoholism such as social settings where peers are drinking and drinking to elevate mood or suppress unhappy feelings.
What does Alcohol Abuse do to the Body?
Over time, excessive alcohol use begins to affect various parts of the body negatively. Brain function will slow down and change the overall functioning of the body. Heart muscles will weaken thereby affecting blood pressure and circulation. The liver and pancreas will become irreparably damaged and affect digestion.
How is Alcoholism Treated?
There are a variety of treatments available, as each person responds to different types of therapies. Examples of treatments include but are not limited to; counselling, medications, hypnosis, faith-based, fitness, inpatient or outpatient rehab or detoxification programs.
There are also support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, which create a safe space for alcoholics to help each other and speak aloud of their struggles and triumphs. Alcoholism is a disease, but once you get past the denial phase, there is help.