What is Alcohol Addiction?
When it comes to chemical substances, there’s one thing that makes alcohol different from other drugs. It’s been socially acceptable and even encouraged for many years.
Joining co-workers for happy hour, toasting with Champagne at a wedding, and enjoying drinks during the holidays are traditional pastimes millions of people take part in. However, when a person starts drinking for reasons other than celebration, alcohol addiction can result.
40% of all hospital beds in the United States are used to treat conditions related to alcohol consumption.
On a fundamental level, alcohol is a drug just like any other. In fact, it’s much more dangerous than a number of illegal drugs. Alcohol addiction can cause serious physical harm, psychological damage, and result in an addict’s life being turned upside down.
If you or a person you love has an addiction, it’s important to understand how dangerous a situation alcoholism is.
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What Are the Symptoms of Alcoholism Addiction?
Many alcoholics can hide their addiction very well. In fact, they may take measures to ensure the people who know them best don’t notice they have a problem. In addition, many alcoholics learn how to stay composed and act normal when intoxicated. They may even go to work and engage socially while under the influence. These individuals are referred to as high-functioning alcoholics.
High-functioning alcoholics can often go long periods of time without close friends or family discovering they have a problem. Sometimes it takes a harmful event such as a drunk driving accident or health issue to alert loved ones of the addiction. That’s why it’s important to understand the warning signs.
Short-Term Alcohol Addiction Symptoms
Slurred Speech: Consuming large amounts of alcohol will initially effect motor function, causing a range of symptoms including slurred speech.
Clumsiness and unsteady gait: Another symptom caused by impaired motor function, a person who has drank excessively will often lose coordination, causing them to stumble or fall. Poor motor function is also the reason why it is illegal to drive drunk.
Vomiting: The liver can only oxidize about one drink per hour, therefore when alcohol is consumed excessively, a backup of toxins can cause nausea and vomiting.
Long-Term Alcohol Addiction Symptoms
Liver Disease: Because they liver is responsible for filtering the toxins in alcohol, long term use can lead to liver disease, such as Cirrhosis.
Stomach Ulcers: Alcohol can cause stomach ulcers in two ways. One, the alcohol itself erodes the lining of the esophagus or stomach. Another way is by inducing vomiting. The stomach acid in vomit can also cause stomach or esophageal cancer.
Cancer: Mouth, throat, Liver, Colon and Breast cancer are all linked to alcohol. This is due to harmful chemicals found in alcohol, as well as the damaging effects it has on body tissues.
What Are the Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal?
The most dangerous withdrawal symptom is delirium tremens. This condition occurs when the chemicals in the brain aren’t able to readjust after alcohol is taken away. This could result in circulatory and respiratory issues. However, there are a number of other symptoms a person may exhibit, including:
Alcohol depresses the central nervous system. During withdrawal, an alcoholic will tend to have shaky hands because their body needs more of the drug.
Many alcoholics depend on drinking to help them sleep. If they go without alcohol, they may experience severe insomnia. Alcohol also disrupts the body’s natural sleep patterns.
Alcohol withdrawal puts stress on the central nervous system, which can lead to anxiety and panic attacks. It’s also harder for an alcoholic to deal with everyday stress when they’re not under the influence.
Nausea and Vomiting
If a long-term alcoholic stops drinking without medical assistance, they could experience severe stomach issues.
Withdrawal from any drug has the potential to cause irritability, depression, anger, and guilt. These emotions can come and go very quickly if a person is dealing with a difficult withdrawal.
If gone untreated, an addiction to alcohol can lead to devastating physical illness and psychological damage. Furthermore, trying to get sober without medical treatment can be extremely dangerous. It’s important you intervene by seeking professional rehabilitation services.
What Are the Dangers of Alcohol Addiction?
Many people don’t fully understand the health hazards alcohol addiction carries with it. This could be yet another consequence of alcohol’s reputation as a socially acceptable drug. The truth of the matter is that excessive drinking and long-term alcohol addiction can cause a number of serious health problems and even death. In fact, alcohol causes approximately 88,000 deaths each year in America. This makes alcohol the most deadly substance of abuse for American citizens.
The dangers associated with addiction will change from person to person. Some key factors include the length of the addiction, existing mental disorders, and genetics. In fact, scientist have done studies which have begun to link addiction through genetics. While it isn’t a guarantee that a person will develop an addiction, having a family history of alcoholism or drug abuse is considered a risk factor for developing one yourself.
In addition, there are both physical and psychological dangers an addict may become the victims of. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial for a person to seek help before alcohol addiction has gotten the upper hand in their life. They also at risk of ruining friendships and creating marital or family problems. This is usually a result of reckless behavior, financial issues, or behavioral changes. Legal issues such as drunk driving incidents, or drunk and disorderly charges can put strain on the persons personal and family life, as well as being extremely costly. Many people who fall victim to alcoholism also find themselves having a hard time finding a job, or lose their job due to poor work performance as a result of excess drinking.
If an alcoholic is drinking to cope with an existing mental or emotional disorder, the results could be disastrous. This situation could lead to dangerous behavior including criminal activity, the use of illegal drugs, and even suicide.
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