When drinking casually with friends develops into abuse, you know you have a problem. But when abuse turns into dependence, and becomes full blown alcoholism, you’ve got a problem that requires medical assistance.
It’s hard to recover from alcoholism. The fact that the drink itself is addictive is only one thing you have to be worried about. You have to use all your will power just to keep yourself from drinking. That’s only one part of the problem.
A much bigger part of the problem is the fact that you are physically unable to stay away from it. Once your body has become dependent on alcoholic drinks, it will give you all sorts of withdrawal symptoms not long after you’ve tried saying ‘no’ to it. These effects will make you need another drink—an experience that other people struggling with addiction can relate to.
It’s hard enough that a person is being drawn in by the allure of alcohol. It’s even more difficult to recover from alcoholism when you are experiencing various physical and psychological hindrances.
It goes without saying that these withdrawal symptoms can sometimes be fatal. They are always dangerous and immensely inconvenient, but it’s another thing when you’ve become so addicted to alcohol that withdrawing from it can cause great physical harm. Before this happens to you, be sure to recognize the fine line between drinking socially, and slowly abusing alcohol.
Later on we will discuss he various symptoms that go with alcoholism. But let’s begin this topic with a few common signs that you are already abusing alcohol.
Legal charges, especially driving under the influence, are clear indicators that you have a much bigger problem at hand. Some people turn violent after a few drinks, because alcohol limits their inhibitions. If alcohol is making you do things you immediately regret, take a long hard look at yourself and your drinking habits before it develops into something worse.
Also keep an eye out for responsibilities that you may be neglecting. Perhaps you are not paying enough attention to your children, or you’re having a low performance at work, or you’re just skipping out on important commitments. Alcohol abuse often causes your interpersonal relationships to crumble.
If you feel completely fine and you’re not being irresponsible, then that’s a great sign that you’re not in trouble. But if you find yourself drinking whenever you feel stressed, or if you turn to alcohol to forget all your problems, then that’s another thing entirely. This habit can easily turn into alcohol dependence. If you don’t do anything to change it, your body will become tolerant and will start needing more alcohol.
When alcohol abuse gets worse, it becomes alcoholism. This is the part where you can’t get rid of the problem without detoxification and/or seeking medical attention.
If you’re an alcoholic, chances are you cannot quit drinking, or even control how much you drink. Similar to other forms of substance abuse, you feel the need to drink more to get the same effect. Withdrawal symptoms—which we will talk about in a bit—start plaguing you when you stop drinking.
If you have given up on other activities just so you can drink, that’s a clear sign of alcoholism. You are no longer just skipping responsibilities; you are nearly ignoring your own life.
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 often drink in the morning, and/or remain drunk for long periods of time, even if they are drinking alone. They will also make excuses for their drinking, or even try to hide their drinking. 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.
People rarely discover this problem before it becomes a full blown nuisance. Alcoholism means you are physically and mentally dependent on alcohol.
An alcoholic will often try to cut back on drinking but will find it very difficult to succeed. If they do move away from their drinking habits, various withdrawal symptoms can occur. This is because the body has become so accustomed to having the substance in its system that it cannot function properly without it. Also, the body is beginning to require more and more alcohol to get the same effects. This can be disastrous for a person’s health.
Physical withdrawal symptoms may include fever, fatigue, tremors, convulsions, nausea, vomiting, shakiness of the hands or of the whole body, excessive sweating, and seizures.
Alcoholism also has various psychological effects including mood swings, anxiety, depression, irritability, nightmares, agitation, insomnia, and even hallucinations.
An alcoholic may also find it hard to think clearly on a regular basis.
Recovery may be difficult, but it is not impossible. For this the alcoholic must take initiative and seek help once they have accepted the problem. Detoxification and rehabilitation is necessary to get the substance out of the patient’s system while addressing all of the withdrawal symptoms that may arise.
Dr. Vikram Tarugu, M.D, is the CEO of Detox of South Florida, Inc and medical professional focused on addiction. A veteran in the medical field with over 25 years of professional experience. He is a consultant for many South Florida Rehab centers. Patients travel from allover the US to seek his help with addiction and Hepatitis C treatment.
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