When people hear the term alcoholic, many conjure up images of stumbling, slurring individuals so intoxicated that they can barely remember their own names. However, if asked to actually define the word, chances are they would experience a certain degree of difficulty.
The Definition Of An Alcoholic
Numerous subjects drink alcohol. A significant percentage of such persons uses the drug in excessive quantities. However, not all of those individuals meet the criteria needed to be deemed an alcoholic.
Healthcare providers and drug treatment industry professionals label alcoholics as individuals who are unable to control their consumption of said chemical. In many instances, they even yearn to stop but simply cannot.
Causes Of Alcoholism
Medical professionals classify alcoholism as a disease precipitated by several root causes such as:
- Genetic predisposition
- Financial, mental, and emotional problems
- Self-esteem issues
- Peer pressure
Cost and availability are also important considerations. For those over a certain age, the substance can be legally obtained, is relatively inexpensive, and available for purchase in every corner store or supermarket imaginable.
These factors render alcohol a go-to drug to calm one’s nerves and provide a temporary escape from life’s trials and tribulations.
Dangers Of Chronic Alcohol Consumption
The continued ingestion of prodigious alcohol quantities has been known to weaken important systemic components including:
- Gastrointestinal tract
- Cardiovascular network
- The brain and central nervous system
- The respiratory tract
- The immune system
Additionally, chronic alcohol consumption elevates one’s risk of life-threatening diseases like cancer, diminishes cognitive functions like focus and memory, and harms one’s aesthetic appearance.
The Process By Which Alcoholism Develops
Alcohol significantly impacts the user’s brain chemistry. After consuming adult beverages, the brain synthesizes and releases larger concentrations of chemicals like endorphins and dopamine. These substances make the user feel happy and calmer.
However, as one’s intake increases, the brain grows dependent on the drug. This means they must ingest larger and larger amounts to produce pleasurable responses. Eventually, addiction develops and the stricken individual becomes an alcoholic.
Signs One Is An Alcoholic
An individual might be an alcoholic if they show telltale signs such as:
In many cases, alcoholics do not drink much if at all in public. Rather, they consume significant quantities in secrecy.
Alcoholics experience intense cravings to consume more of the drug. In a solid percentage of instances, cravings morph into troubling and potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
Neglecting Personal Responsibilities
Persons afflicted with alcoholism often neglect important familial, financial, professional, or social obligations. Their primary concern becomes obtaining their next drink, satisfying cravings, or quelling withdrawal manifestations.
Losing Interest In Activities They Once Enjoyed
Alcoholics gradually lose interest in participating in activities they once enjoyed. This is especially true if said endeavors interfere with their capacity to obtain or drink alcohol.
Experiencing Wild Mood Swings
Persons struggling with alcoholism often run through the gamut of emotions. At one point in a day, they can appear jovial and upbeat. Later on in that same 24-hour time span, said subjects might come across as rude, nasty, and difficult to approach.
Alcoholics simply cannot control the amount they drink. Even individuals who are aware of the serious problem they possess are so addicted that they are unable to stop. Moreover, they continue to drink despite burgeoning health, personal, financial, or professional problems.
Steps That Can Be Taken
One must remember that alcoholism is an illness. A solid percentage of those with this sickness have been ill for a prolonged duration. Therefore, treatment must be swift and aggressive.
Therapy should begin with a full medical evaluation. Alcohol consumption could result in significant health problems requiring immediate attention. Moreover, most alcohol dependents will need to undergo medically supervised detox in a hospital or treatment center to ensure that the ailing subject withdraws the drug from their system without experiencing potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
After receiving a medical examination and undergoing detox, the healing subject will likely need to enter a drug treatment program. These undertakings are staffed by specially trained professionals capable of helping recovering alcoholics determine the reasons that they started drinking and develop coping mechanisms designed to prevent future relapses.
Many different types of treatment programs exist. A recovering addict, their families, and healthcare providers should work in tandem to determine the best option based on factors such as the individual in question’s professional and familial obligations, financial standing, health insurance coverage, in addition to their overall health and the severity and length of their dependency.
Those dealing with alcoholism can obtain help before this disease causes irreversible problems. Our Columbus, Ohio facility has helped countless individuals from diverse backgrounds conquer this demon. Call us at 833-820-2922.