- 15 minutes read
What is alcohol addiction?
Alcohol addiction, that is, alcoholism, as real as it is, is a universal problem. As a universal problem, it means that anyone can become an alcohol addict. You are said to be an alcohol addict if you cannot stay a day without drinking it. You are an alcohol addict if you rely greatly on alcohol to feel better. If you are an alcohol addict, you find it hard to remain sober for a long period of time. Something must break that sober mood – alcohol!
Although no one has been able to point to a particular cause for alcoholism, certain elements can actually raise its risk of development. Genetics, race, behavior, sex, or socioeconomics are some of these factors.
The chemistry of your neurons and brain can receive serious damaging effects from alcohol taken in excess. Your brain and neural control can get out of hand.
There are a couple of ways that alcohol addiction can show itself. How much alcohol you consume and how often you do determine how severe your condition will be. While you might be a heavy drinker once in a while, others can be consistent daily drinkers.
What are the symptoms of alcohol addiction?
It can be really hard to recognize alcohol addiction. There is no culture where alcohol cannot be found except the one that is yet to be founded and established! It is a beverage that has been widely accepted in different cultures although there are some cultures where it is a taboo. There is no event you attend that you are not likely going to have alcohol at the center of the event. Alcohol is hence mostly referred to as a social beverage that has a close knit with enjoyment and life celebrations.
In cultures where drinking is a ‘way of life’, you can have a little bit of problem differentiating one who is an addict and another who isn’t. That’s the problem!
You can identify alcohol addiction in someone who:
- frequently uses alcohol
- has a high tolerance for alcohol – such persons will hardly have “hangover” symptoms
- drinks at unhealthy times, for instance, first ‘food’ in the morning
- wants to always ‘register’ his presence wherever alcohol is present
- changes friendships very often but it will likely be a fellow drinker
- avoids contact with relations
- hides alcohol
- depends heavily on alcohol have a fulfilling day
- has increased depression, lethargy, and other emotional problems
- legal or professional problems such as an arrest or loss of a job
Alcohol addiction worsens with time. If these signs can be detected early, medical help can be sort for and complications can be minimized or avoided altogether. Do you have someone who is an alcohol addict? You can approach them respectfully and help them get the necessary help and rehab programs. Don’t try to make them feel like they are the worst thing that has ever happened to the world. After all, everyone has one thing or another they are trying to overcome.
What health complications are associated with alcohol addiction?
- heart disease
- liver abnormalities
- vision problems
- bone loss
- suppressed immune function
- sexual problems
- birth defects
- diabetes complications
- increased risk of cancer
I want you to know that every drunk is a risk to everyone around them. It will even be worse when a drunk is on the wheel of a moving car or is a surgeon in charge of a medical procedure!
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that not less than 28 drunks drive every day in the US.
Suicides, homicides, and other life-threatening situations are consequences of alcoholism but all these consequences can be totally prevented when alcohol is ‘respectively’ used.
What are the treatment options for alcohol addiction?
Treating alcohol addiction is not as easy as you think. It is a complex and challenging one. You must note that if you are an alcohol addict, treatment will be useless if you are not first willing to be sober. You must be ready to stop drinking. It must a lifetime commitment for you because it has got no quick fix approach. Most people have therefore concluded that you can’t readily cure alcohol addiction because of the daily commitments that come with it.
If you are suffering from alcohol addiction and you have gone to seek for help, you are likely going to be first enrolled into either an outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation program.
An inpatient program requires from 30 days upwards and sometimes a year. This can assist you in treating your withdrawal symptoms.
If you are on an outpatient program, you will remain at home while you receive supports daily from home and from loved ones.
Alcoholics Anonymous and other support groups
You can turn to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), a 12-step program. Other groups also exist outside Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). They are SMART Recovery and Sober Recovery. They don’t follow the 12-step model of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
You need one of these programs if you really want to get sober.
A Sober community can help you overcome your daily struggle over alcohol addictions.
Plus, it will also avail you the platform to share your experiences and learn from those of others as you both ‘grow out’ of your common problem – addiction. In the process, you will find yourself forming strong bonds with people who share the same experience with you.
You can also benefit from other treatment approaches such as:
- drug therapy
- nutritional changes
You might be given some prescription drugs in certain medical conditions. For instance, depression inflicted on you due to self-medication will have to be treated by antidepressants.
All your emotional problems associated with the recovery process can be perfectly treated with drugs.
You might be taught great ways to manage the stress that comes with recovery. You will also be equipped with skills needed to stop a relapse from developing.
Healthy diets won’t be out of place to help you with your health.
Alcohol addiction will often time need more than one treatment plan. Whatever plan you adopt should help you achieve your goal of overcoming addiction to alcohol in the long run.
If you are depressed, emphasis should be on therapy. If you are experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, you might need inpatient treatment.
What are the resources for treating alcohol addiction?
You can get more information on how you can help a friend or a loved one from a list of organizations I will be giving out to you here. This shows how much you want to get them (alcohol addicts) out of the mess they have put themselves into. And you as an addict, you will do yourself a whole lot of good if you can access these organizations for the necessary support. There are numerous programs that have been designed just for you in your locality. This shows that certain persons did not just think about helping you, they are actually helping people who are also in the same shoes as you are.
The organizations are:
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
- National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- National Institute on Drug Abuse
What is the outlook for alcohol addiction?
Early treatment is the most effective approach to alcoholism.
Addictions that are really ‘old’ can be very hard to break. But that doesn’t dismiss the fact that it can be treated successfully. It might only take time.
If you are friend or relation to one who is an alcohol addict, you can help them get valuable insights from professional support or even enroll in programs like Al-Anon.
That you have gone sober for months or even years without taking alcohol doesn’t mean that the love for drinking can’t come back.
You may find yourself binging on drink once in a while. But a relapse can’t be concluded as a failure because you’re not one yourself. All you just need to do is get back to your treatment regimen and you will be fine.
But really, sobriety is your responsibility as an alcohol addict. You might receive some scolds from people who are very close to you. It is for your good.
If you have anyone who is an addict, you can help them financially. By helping them financially, the goal is not to ‘fund’ their addiction program of drinking! Maintain boundaries with them. By so doing, they will be ‘unarmed’ to fuel their passion – drinking. But that shouldn’t stop you from affirming your love for them. Give them all the emotional support you could think of.
Tonika Bruce, also known as The Network Nurse, is a multi-talented individual with a career spanning over 20 years. She’s a Registered Nurse, speaker, author, and advocate for change, excelling in business building and team development. Tonika holds two Master’s degrees in Nursing and Business Administration, (MSN & MBA) and is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Executive Leadership.
Her expertise extends to various fields such as nursing, entrepreneurship, business, basketball coaching, and executive leadership. She is a published author of “Relentless Pursuit: Proven Tips for Unlocking Your Potentials, Limitless Success and Post COVID Syndrome: A Guide to Repositioning the Nursing Profession for A Post COVID Era”. Currently, Tonika is working on Thrudemic, an anthology examining the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on medical professionals and patients.