Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol abuse and alcoholism represent the number one addiction problem in the world. Alcohol dependence can be due to a number of interconnected factors including genetics, upbringing, emotional health and social environment. People with a family history of alcohol abuse, or those that associate themselves with heavy drinkers are at an increased risk of developing a dependence to alcohol. People with mental health problems like depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety are particularly vulnerable to developing alcohol addictions.
Considered to be a disease, alcoholism is a disabling disorder characterised by compulsive behaviour and uncontrollable alcohol consumption. The effects of intoxification and the degree to which an abuser of alcohol behaves can vary by psychological and situational factors, as well as tolerance to its use and amount consumed.
Drinkers will often feel elated, relaxed, self-confident and friendly when beginning to consume alcohol but often feel anger, depressed and withdrawn after continued use. Excessive abuse of alcohol carries many risks, physically and mentally, with effects that can be immediate or cause problems later in life. Due to the potential health implications associated with alcoholism, it is essential that professional treatment is sought as soon as possible in order to reduce the impact of long-term abuse.
Recognising the Signs of Alcohol Dependence
Most alcoholics will try to hide the fact they have a problem. If you or someone you know is displaying any of these symptoms you should speak with an addiction professional to seek advice. If you believe you have a problem, an assessment can help determine the seriousness and recommend any treatment that may be required.
- Inability to stop or reduce alcohol use
- Drinking alone
- Finding an excuse to drink
- Drinking in secret
- Needing to drink to function
- Drinking despite knowing a problem exists
- Becoming angry when confronted about drinking
- Trembling after a drinking session
- Regularly smelling of alcohol
- Displaying uncharacteristic behaviours
- Violent episodes when drinking
- Continued use despite negative consequences
You Don’t Need to Drink Every Day to Be an Alcoholic
There is a misconception amongst some people who abuse alcohol who feel that because they are able to maintain a relatively normal life, it means they are not really an alcoholic. These people are referred to as “functioning alcoholics” and this mindset can diminish the chances of recognising the problem. Just because the issue can be swept under the carpet temporarily, it does not mean that it should not be addressed. The severity of long-term alcohol abuse can cause life threatening health problems and have a serious affect on someone’s life, that of their families and on society as a whole.
When is the right time to confront alcoholism?
- You want to stop drinking but are unable to do so
- You know somebody with an alcohol problem
- You think but are unsure if you or someone else is an alcoholic
- You know you want treatment but would like to discuss details
- You are concerned about alcohol dependence and its affect on you