What is Alcohol Addiction?
What is Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol addiction is the physical and mental dependence on alcohol. The individual becomes known as an alcoholic and feel as though they are unable to function on a daily basis without consuming it. It can affect all aspects of life and can cause significant problems in the individual’s life.
Due to alcohol being socially acceptable, very often alcoholics are in denial. Individuals with alcohol addiction crave alcohol and the way it makes them feel, the need to consume more alcohol than before to obtain the same effect can have a cost implication to the individual, with some resorting to criminal activities to fund their addiction.
The Effects of Alcoholism
Alcohol is a depressant and slows down both mental and physical functioning. It can isolate the individual and cause tension in their relationships, due to the increased irritability and extreme mood swings that alcohol can cause. Individuals at times will choose alcohol over other obligations and responsibilities. Alcoholism doesn’t take into consideration age, gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity or any other stereotypes. It is an illness of the brain, and individuals will rationalize their drinking and the associated behaviors.
Temporary blackouts and short term memory loss can mean that individuals are at times unable to account for their actions. This can cause additional strain on potentially already vulnerable relationships. The financial implication both personally and nationally is often not discussed. Alcohol misuse costs the U.S approximately $289 billion in 2010 according to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), with the cost likely to have gone up in the 9 years since. Whilst on an individual basis individuals can spend between $300 and $1,000 per month on alcohol, causing a major drain on the family budget.
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Alcoholism can sometimes be referred to as the family disease, whilst it can run in families the main reason for this is because one individual’s addiction can affect the entire family. Research has shown that families affected by alcoholism have an increased tendency for lack of trust, emotional bonding, and independence. It can cause resentment within families, inflame already stressed out relationships, and affect marital intimacy and may hamper a child’s emotional functioning.
Facts about Alcohol Addiction & Substance Abuse
Alcohol kills 3 million people per year, this is a higher number than those killed from opioid usage. Of those 3 million people 62,000 are U.S men, thus making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. This becomes an average of 30 Americans dying per day in an alcohol-related car incident and an additional 6 from alcohol poisoning. When under the influence of alcohol there also becomes a higher rate of crime. In 2017 there were 21.4 million recorded DUI charges relating to alcohol.
One of the side effects of alcohol use is mood changes, as a result of this, there can become an increase in domestic abuse incidents. 92% of reported domestic assaults are reported to have been instigated following alcohol or drug use. Thus once again alcohol affecting relationships in a negative way.
Alcohol addiction creates a physical and mental dependence, whereby they crave alcohol. As a result of these cravings and not wanting to admit that they have an addiction to alcohol, many become secretive about drinking and will resort to drinking alone. Alcoholics will rationalize their drinking and behaviors as though trying to make themselves believe that they are ok and do not have a problem.
Of all the people that consume alcohol less than 10% will actually receive treatment for an addiction. Many alcoholics will continue on their journey, increasing the amount they are drinking, destroying their relationships, and potentially ruining their careers all for the sake of a drink.
Symptoms, Effects & Signs of Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a strong often uncontrollable desire to drink and is the most serious form of problem drinking. It doesn’t just affect the individual, it directly impacts their loved ones including spouse, children, parents, siblings, and friends too. It can be extremely difficult to recognize the signs of alcoholism as many alcoholics become secretive about their addiction and can become aggressive when confronted. The following signs can be indicative that you or someone you love is suffering from alcoholism:-
– Being secretive and dishonest
– Inability to refuse alcohol
– Lack of interest in normal activities
– Appearing intoxicated more frequently
– Needing to drink increased amounts to achieve the same effects
– Appearing tired, unwell or irritable
– Anxiety, depression or other mental health issues
Alcohol affects the body from the first drink consumed. It is a depressant so slows down brain function, both physical and mental. First effects are both internal and external. Individuals will experience dehydration, a slower thought process, increased alcohol blood levels, clumsiness and increased urine output to name but a few. Longer-term effects can have a significant impact on the body, whilst some effects can be mental, the physical effects can bring with them their own mental health issues. Longer-term effects can include impotence, reduced fertility, brain damage, cancer, sleep and memory loss, mood disorders, alcoholic liver disease, exacerbation of pre-existing health conditions, and death. Alcoholism can change the outward appearance of an individual through both the physical effects of alcohol and also the psychological effects, with some dependents not caring about their appearance.
Why Choose A Structured Living Program?
The structured living program at Shoreline has been shown to increase the chances of recovery. With the structured day to day plan, it enables individuals the chance to reintegrate with daily life, provides help and support with job seeking, amongst more. It helps to build relationships with peers and re-establish relationships with loved ones whilst abstaining from alcohol. It enables the individual to repeat healthy daily behaviors that over the 90-day program become second nature, reducing the risk of relapsing. Shoreline can provide a solid foundation on your road to recovery.