What is Alcoholism?

AlcoholismAlcohol has long been a part of socialization, and consuming moderate amounts of alcohol doesn’t necessarily cause physical or psychological impairment. Unfortunately, some people tend to drink more heavily than others. In many cases, this practice causes devastating health issues, which worsen significantly over time and can eventually turn the drinker into an alcoholic.

What defines an alcoholic? This describes a person who is strongly dependent on alcohol, one who constantly fails in controlling how much they consume. There are severe side effects related to alcohol obsession, including serious health concerns, financial stresses, and work and relationship problems. Alcoholism can be a destructive force in almost all areas of a person’s life.

Medically, alcoholism is considered to be a long-term disease. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in every 13 people in the United Kingdom is an alcoholic. The National Institute of Health also estimates that 15% of the people in the United States have drinking issues.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism

It is not out of the ordinary to see alcoholics who do not realize that they have a serious drinking problem. This is typically common in alcoholics who are in the denial stage. To more fully understand and recognize the symptoms of alcoholism, here are some signs to look for:

– Secretly drinking aloneSigns of Alcoholism
– Uncontrollably consuming alcohol & passing out
– Unusual rituals like drinking before, during and after meals
– Dropping or losing interest in the usual activities or hobbies
– Always having the urge to drink
– Having secret stashes of alcohol in unlikely places
– Anxiety, nausea and sweating when not drinking
– Feeling guilty and ashamed of the drinking habit

Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

There are a number of treatments for the side effects of alcohol addiction. Although various practitioners may have different perspectives in approaching the problem, they share the same common goal, which is to help the affected person to discontinue their alcohol intake. Since alcoholism has several factors that trigger the addiction, these must all be addressed in order to treat the problem.

  1. Alcohol detoxification and medication – Alcohol detoxification is done to stop the patient’s drinking habit abruptly. This is combined with drug therapy, such as the use of benzodiazepines that help prevent the side effects of alcohol withdrawal. This can be performed as either an in-patient or out-patient treatment, depending on the severity of the addiction.
  2. Psychotherapy and group therapy – These forms of treatment focus on the underlying psychological issues that caused the addiction in the first place. These practices often incorporate counseling in order to help the addict understand the root causes of their alcoholism and how to recuperate effectively.

Recovery from the Side Effects of Alcoholism

The first step on the road to recovery is understanding the concept of alcoholism and admitting that there is a problem. It does require personal courage to undertake the actual treatments and therapies for this addiction, but with the appropriate expert support, the burden can become much lighter.

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