Drug addiction being a disease or not continues to be an ongoing discussion amidst the epidemic sweeping the nation. While some believe that drug addiction is a choice, studies and statements from leading medical institutions are proving otherwise and it’s reshaping our perspective on drug addiction as a whole. The National Institute on Drug Abuse… read more
Alcoholism: Signs and Portents
Alcoholism is the same as any other drug addiction. It’s ill effects on your life, livelihood and other people are similar to drug abuse. It is, however, not as profound as say, addiction to heroin, but that very fact makes it hard to diagnose.
An alcoholic wouldn’t normally go to a doctor. One of the first reactions of alcoholics is denial. How do you know if someone is an alcoholic? Do you have a loved one you’re deeply concerned about? Are you concerned about your own alcohol intake?
Being concerned is a very good step. It means you know something’s wrong. Most people in denial will attempt to justify their activities and pass them off as “regular.” Alcoholism is a problem best treated as early as possible.
Defining Alcoholism and an Alcoholic
Simply put, Alcoholism is a dependency to alcohol. The ill effects come when an alcoholic does everything they can, including violence, to get their dose. It is, therefore, an illness. Alcoholism is a long-term disease, one that can take an equally long time to recover from.
An alcoholic is someone who suffers from alcohol use disorder. The term is used more correctly, as the person who suffers is a victim. He or she may be the one pouring the drinks, but that doesn’t mean he or she has control. Alcoholics tend to have no control over their urges. Alcohol has as much a grip on them as their grip on the bottle.
What Causes Alcoholism?
Alcohol dependence happens over a long period of time. It could take years before the dependency sinks in. Sadly, some people are more affected by it than others. In some cases, the dependency is deceptively hidden, only revealed when it’s too late. Understanding the causes can help you determine the possible hidden symptoms.
The following are some factors that aid to alcoholism:
- Starting Age: Let’s face it, young teenagers drink. This is due to the alcohol’s role as a stress reliever and experience enhancer. When the mind gets used to this, it gets hard-grained upon adulthood.
- Ease of Access: Access to cheap alcohol and weak law enforcement encourages alcoholism. The easier it is to get alcohol, the more likely it’s used.
- Stress and Depression: Common in present times. Inebriation acts as a gateway from stress and depression, leaving them for another time.
- Media Advertising: Though not really a direct cause, alcohol is often presented in glamorous, refined and enjoyable ways. This can bring about the wrong impressions to potential alcoholics.
Symptoms of Alcoholism
If you encounter some of the following symptoms, with an understanding of how it starts, you may be able to determine if someone is an alcoholic.
Though the symptoms are in general, they are constant.
- Increased amount of alcohol consumption due to tolerance
- Withdrawal Symptoms when not consuming alcohol
- Increased rate and severity of hangovers
- Reduced interests on things they usually do
- Reduced attention to responsibilities
- Irritability/Rage when their “ritual” is not followed
- Having “stashes” of alcohol in unusual places
With the full understanding of the causes and symptoms, you should be able to determine if you or someone has an alcohol use disorder.
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