Alcohol Addiction – Overview
Alcohol addiction is something that is commonly misunderstood among all population ages. There are many beliefs and thoughts about drinking within society, so in some cases people confuse someone that likes to drink with an alcoholic. So, how do you tell an alcoholic from a social drinker if you’re not a counselor or other mental health professional? Is there a per beer limit or number of drunken stupors that one must engage in before they can be said to have an alcohol addiction? Since there are many factors, these questions can be somewhat difficult to answer, however there are some basics that must be understood before one comes to any type of conclusion. Read on for more information about alcohol addiction and the effects it commonly has on those addicted.
What Is An Alcoholic
An alcoholic is described as someone, who has a craving for alcoholic beverages regardless of the type and has trouble limiting their intake. Now some may say that they have an occasional craving for a cold beer or a margarita with dinner, but that is not what is meant by craving. For those that have a true addiction, they have trouble concentrating on their daily activities without overwhelming desires to have alcohol. These individuals have generally tried to slow their drinking or limit it at least once or twice without great success. They may also feel guilty about the amount of alcohol that they have taken in over the weekend or evening frequently. The type of liquor does not matter when assessing whether or not a person may be dependent on alcohol. It can include beer, wine, whiskey or any other beverage having liquor as an ingredient.
What Are Withdrawals
Withdrawals range from person to person and though some believe that a person must be a diehard alcoholic to experience withdrawals, this is not true. Once a person has established a pattern of drinking the body becomes accustom to it just like any other type of medication or chemical altering substance. Withdrawals are a set of symptoms that individuals sometimes feel if they have been without alcohol for a certain period of time. These withdrawal symptoms can include nausea, dizziness, sweating, headache and anxiety. These symptoms can vary greatly and are not the same for everyone, but are a good general guideline. Sometimes even if the person has a drink, the body will continue on with withdrawal symptoms because over time something known as an increased tolerance occurs.
Alcohol tolerance is something that is believed to be inherited from family traits; however it can change through the consumption of alcohol. This set tolerance differs in most individuals and can be seen with two people drinking the same beverages as well as amounts. One person tolerates the drinks very well, and maintains their behavior as well as composure. The other person, on the other hand may have lowered inhibitions, become loud, unruly or show their intoxication more so. This is because of tolerance levels and why there are numerous factors such as weight, age and gender, it is quite detailed. For the purpose of this article, the basics will only be discussed. What happens is that individuals start out with this set point and over time their body slowly increases this tolerance level. Now what this means is that instead of three beers to make the individual intoxicated it now takes six and this can go on for many years. For the individual that has become addicted to alcohol they have a need to drink more to find that high again. So, they crave six beers instead of the three that use to do the trick! Tolerance is not something that happens overnight, however frequent drinking can build a person’s tolerance level over a period of months.
Long Term Effects Or Consequences
The short term effects are pretty self explanatory, drink and drive, you go to jail. Continue drinking, not only are there negative effects with family, friends, but also employment as well. The long term consequences are often over looked because they are not overly advertised. Long term alcohol abuse can include heart troubles; destroy brain cells, increases the chances of cancer, pancreatic disease, skin troubles, respiration troubles and even sexual dysfunction. Does alcohol still sound appealing? What is meant to be a socially acceptable gesture can actually cause severe troubles over the years.
Why Don’t You Just Stop Drinking
Most alcoholics as well as their family and friends believe that if they wanted to they could just stop drinking. All it takes is will power and a little self discipline, right? This couldn’t be further from the truth because the alcoholic has altered the chemical and hormonal balances within their brain, making it increasingly difficult to stop drinking. It is not as easy as cutting sugar or learning to exercise more, it often takes professional help to stop drinking once and for all. With a good support system of family, friends and treatment it is possible, but it is not easy. With a good support system of family and friends, and a drug treatment program it is possible. Taking the first step is of course the most important and oftentimes the most difficult. The journey is long, but well worth the choice at life that it returns.