Alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a progressive and chronic brain disease. Alcoholics have trouble controlling how much they drink and may find it challenging to deal with emotions when sober.
Willpower alone is not sufficient to deal with alcoholism since alcohol changes how your brain works, making it difficult to function without it. Understanding alcohol use disorder and how to get help is an excellent place to start. Alcohol misuse and alcoholism can have several familial, physical, and social consequences. If you or someone you know struggles with alcoholism, it is best to seek help and confide in someone of your struggle. An alcoholic should first accept that there is a problem and then seek assistance to deal with the problem.
When you suffer from alcohol use disorder, you are likely to continue drinking even when adverse effects are associated with drinking. A lost job or a destroyed relationship will only push an alcoholic further to the bottle, and that is why alcoholics deserve love and guidance even as they seek help. It is also essential to differentiate between alcoholism and alcohol abuse.
Alcohol abuse is when you drink alcohol to the point that it causes problems, both health and social problems, but you are not physically dependent on alcohol. An alcoholic, on the other hand, cannot do without alcohol and will have withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is not available. Essentially, while an alcoholic is totally dependent on alcohol, a person who abuses alcohol may be addicted but is not dependent.
Symptoms of Alcoholism
The symptoms of alcoholism are based on physical outcomes and behavior caused by alcohol addiction. An alcoholic:
- Is more likely to drink alone
- Has to take a lot of alcohol to feel its effects
- Is very likely to become violent, angry, or aggressive when questioned about their drinking patterns
- May neglect personal hygiene
- May have poor feeding habits since alcohol ranks higher than food
- Is likely to miss work deadlines, miss school, and other significant life events because of drinking
- Is very likely to make excuses to go drinking
- Will continue drinking even when health, legal, social, or economic hardships arise
- Will forego important occupational, social, or recreational activities to go drinking
As an alcoholic, you may experience physical symptoms such as:
- Craving alcohol
- Withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, nausea, and vomiting when not taking alcohol
- Tremors especially on the hands the morning after drinking
- Memory lapses (blackouts) after a night of drinking
- Illness. You may suffer from alcoholic ketoacidosis or cirrhosis due to chronic alcohol use
A Sample Self-Test
Determining whether you or a loved one is an alcoholic is not always easy. Alcoholism may start as recreational drinking, move to binge drinking, and then become a necessity. Answering yes to some of the following questions should prompt you to seek professional help:
- Do you have to drink a lot of alcohol to feel a buzz?
- Are you guilty after taking alcohol?
- Are you violent or highly irritable while drinking?
- Have you identified problems in your work or school due to drinking?
- Are you of the opinion that it might be better if you reduced your drinking?
Getting Help For Alcoholism
Treatment for alcohol use disorder varies and may be tailored to deal with the alcohol intake and the triggers that may push you to drink. The end goal for all treatments initiated is to help you stop drinking and attain a state of abstinence. Friends and family must support an alcoholic during the journey to recovery and offer firm but loving guidance. Avoiding temptation is also crucial for a recovering alcoholic. If your friends encourage you to drink, the first step to recovery is getting more supportive friends. When seeking help for alcoholism, it is crucial to get liver function tests as chronic alcohol use has detrimental effects on the liver. Treatment modalities include:
The first step is ridding your body of alcohol. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver to produce toxins that may injure liver cells and other cells too. There are numerous approaches to detox, and the treatment center will have a detox program that is humane and efficient.
Since alcohol is a coping mechanism for most alcoholics, treatment should involve learning new coping strategies. You may decide to take up journaling, cycling, or some artistry to help the mind deal with stressful situations.
Sometimes, trauma or emotional and psychological problems may be the trigger for alcohol. As a recovering alcoholic, working with a counselor to unpack all these problems is essential to proper and complete recovery.
Going for Support Group Meetings
Alone, alcoholism can be challenging to beat. However, while in a group, you can work with other recovering alcoholics in a safe space. Support groups offer guidance, strength, and a sense of community, helping you heal and grow.
Sometimes, your doctor may prescribe specific medicines to help you avoid drinking. The medicine works by making alcohol unpleasant, thus reducing the urge to drink more. It is possible to beat alcoholism. You should not feel bad or defeated since alcoholism is treatable once you make the first step and ask for help. Reach out and call us today to start your journey to recovery. Call 844-639-8371.