What is Alcoholism: Everything You Need to Know

Alcohol is viewed so casually by this modern-day society that people tend to forget the huge risk that comes with drinking it regularly: alcoholism.

In fact, alcoholism is so often portrayed on television, particularly in sitcoms, as a reliable source of jokes. Alcoholic characters are seen as clumsy and bumbling—and we laugh at their inability to make good decisions. But real life alcoholism is no laughing matter.

If we take a look at news reports and statistics, we’ll see that many lives can be ruined in an instant because of alcoholism. It’s short term and long term effects can be devastating.

But because we don’t know much about it, people don’t even view alcoholism as a disease. Alcoholism is not something that can be cured overnight. It’s not something that a person can just drop and keep away forever. It’s not even a matter of willpower. Alcoholism takes time to develop, but once it does, it keeps an iron grip on its victim.

Knowing what we can about alcoholism is half of the battle. An informed person will be less likely to allow alcohol to take over their life. And so here we will discuss all the basic facts about alcoholism.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is different from alcohol abuse, despite the two terms often being used interchangeably. Alcoholism is the most severe form of alcohol abuse, which involves the inability to stop drinking habitually. It is also known as alcohol use disorder, categorized into mild, moderate, and severe.

Individuals struggling with alcoholism often feel as though they can’t function properly without drinking. It can destroy interpersonal relationships, hinder from professional goals, and destroy one’s sense of self-worth.

Withdrawal symptoms arise if a person tries to keep away from alcohol. In many ways it is similar to drug addiction because it develops dependence.

Causes of Alcoholism

Various environmental, genetic, psychological, and social factors can contribute to the development of alcoholism. A person who has alcoholic parents or relatives is more likely to develop it than those who did not grow up in a similar environment.

Peer pressure at any age can also cause a person to develop unhealthy drinking habits. The desire to be accepted by one’s social group can pressure someone into binge drinking as often as their friends do. Teenagers and young adults are more likely to develop alcoholism if they start drinking at their age.

Stressful environments and mental health problems can also have a contributing factor. People often think they can drink their problems away.

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Social drinking is something many adults do. But if it becomes a habit, many people can start abusing the substance, drinking every time they feel stressed or tired. Alcohol abuse can and will lead to alcoholism if it’s not controlled early on, because the body will start developing the need for it. Once a person becomes tolerant, they’ll need more and more of the alcohol to get the same effects. And they will not easily be able to get it out of their system without detoxification or rehabilitation.

If you are beginning to have work problems, or relationship problems, because you are always hung over, this is an obvious sign. If you are neglecting your responsibilities, or skipping commitments, then you might have a big problem.

Legal problems related to alcohol abuse are also clear warning signs that you need to get a hold of your drinking habits.

Signs of Alcoholism

When alcohol abuse gets worse, it becomes alcoholism. One sign that you’re already an alcoholic is that you cannot quit drinking, and you do not know how much is too much. If you have given up on other activities just so you can drink, that’s another indication.

This is when people often start experiencing various health problems, but they often wouldn’t care about it. Relationships are often strained, especially when family members and friends show their concern for the alcoholic’s well-being, but the latter presents no interest in recovering.

Alcoholics will try to hide their drinking. Either that or they will openly remain drunk for long periods of time. Despite this, they will often feel guilty after drinking.

On top of all this, the alcoholic will show physical signs of dependence including weight loss, an upset stomach, and redness of the nose or cheeks.

Withdrawal Symptoms

People rarely realize or accept that they have a problem before it becomes full blown alcoholism. Once you’ve become physically and mentally dependent on alcoholic drinks, it’s going to be very difficult to come back. Still, recovery is possible. Medical professionals will help counter the withdrawal symptoms while detoxifying your body.

Some of the common physical withdrawal symptoms include fever, fatigue, tremors, convulsions, nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating, and seizures.

Psychological symptoms include mood swings, anxiety, depression, irritability, nightmares, agitation, insomnia, and even hallucinations.

Before recovery can happen, the alcoholic must first be honest with themselves and recognize that the problem needs to be fixed. Knowing more about alcoholism is definitely a good start. Contact us to start your alcohol detox now. Start living the life you want, free from the shackles of addiction.