Addiction to alcohol is a real and major problem that a lot of people fail to take seriously, and the reason behind this is due to how close at hand and convenient alcohol is to people. Sure, people could understand and potentially appreciate responsible drinking, but they don’t recognize that frequent drinking and excessive drinking (otherwise referred to as alcohol abuse) can eventually lead to alcohol addiction.
Each year, many of the top alcohol addiction treatment programs in the United States work with individuals who have failed to realize these dangers. These individuals thought that alcohol was harmless—or somewhat so—or had turned to the drink to deal with what was going on in their lives, stress, etc. In any case, the need for them to recover was real, and this may be true for you as well.
The question that you need to ask yourself now is: do you truly realize how dangerous alcohol is? Below, we will discuss alcohol and how you can recognize if you are addicted.
In many cases, people will become familiar with the explanation of alcoholism prior to being able to properly identify it within themselves. So, what exactly is the definition of alcoholism?
The most basic definition of alcoholism is having a dependence on alcohol. It’s also referred to as an alcohol use disorder. It occurs when an individual drinks so much that he or she feels as though he or she needs to drink. Over time, the body will become dependent on the “drug” in order to function or just feel normal. Eventually, the person will become an alcoholic, and alcohol is the most important thing in that person’s life.
Regardless of the negative consequences that will occur in their lives, alcoholics will keep drinking alcohol. Alcoholics will often lose their jobs, marriages, as well as other relationships. Many will even suffer serious health problems as a result of their alcohol use. Some may end up having legal issues as well. However, for alcoholics, drinking is the most important thing to them—no matter what else is going on in their lives. They will do absolutely anything—and deceive anyone—in order to get their hands on another bottle or glass of alcohol, and once they start drinking, they are unable to stop.
Alcohol abuse and alcoholism and are two very different things, despite the fact that they are frequently used interchangeably. Alcohol abuse is the inappropriate use or overuse of alcohol, and there is no dependence of alcohol. Individuals who misuse alcohol can consume alcohol on a daily basis, or they may only consume an alcohol beverage once or twice on per month. They often drink in excess, though they never feel constrained to do this. That is the primary difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism.
It’s important that it is understood that alcohol abuse always comes before alcoholism, and there isn’t a specific amount of time that alcohol abuse must occur prior to addiction setting in. Some will abuse alcohol for many years and never become addicted. They can stop drinking with no problem and never want to drink alcohol again. However, for some people, with the right amount of exposure to alcohol, alcoholism is just a turn around the corner—it can occur at any given time and no warning at all.
This is why it is so important that people understand and recognize the perils of alcohol abuse. While it may start out as you having fun, you could essentially be playing with fire.
In the United States, binge drinking is now a pretty serious issue. It is a recreational activity that numerous people are partaking in without worrying about the potential consequences.
Binge drinking is referred to as the act of drinking an excess amount of alcoholic beverages within a very short amount of time. There are strict guidelines for binge drinking, according to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse. Binge drinking can be defined as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s BAC level down to .08 within only two short hours. For women, this is four drinks, and for men, this five drinks. However, most people that participate in binge drinking will consume many more alcoholic beverages than four or five drinks within a two-hour period of time.
This activity is most common for individuals over the age of 26 years in the United States, though there are individuals who are younger than this year who partake in this recreational activity. It is considered a common precursor to the development of an alcohol use disorder. For an individual who binge drinks, they’re significantly more at risk of developing alcoholism than an individual who does not.
People participate in binge drinking for many different reasons, including easing their stress, to forget their problems, have fun with their friends, to see how much alcohol they are able to tolerate, and to act out in rebellion. This activity has numerous side effects. Some of these are short-term, while others are long-term. The short-term effects include shakiness, coordination problems, nausea, dehydration, memory loss, and poor decision-making. The long-term effects included liver disease, brain damage, heart problems, stroke, and infertility.
Bottom line: binge drinking is extremely dangerous. It doesn’t matter whether it is the first time you are doing it or the 100th time, the consequences are disastrous.
Most people are well aware of the fact that it can be hazardous to consume an excessive amount of alcohol. However, it can be eye-opening to become familiar with some alcoholism facts and statistics.
As you can see, alcohol addiction is a major problem that is not being addressed properly. Alcohol is seen as a substance that is relatively safe and socially acceptable. Generally, people don’t think twice before they take a drink of alcohol. As a result, it is no wonder that alcoholism continues to rise at such a shocking rate.
Are You an Alcoholic? Take a Quiz and/or Answer These Questions to Learn More
Most individuals who are alcoholics are in denial, and they live their lives this way. To them, alcoholism happens to other them, not them. This way of thinking is what causes individuals to continue to be in alcohol addiction for many years.
So, by now, you may be asking yourself whether you are an alcoholic or not. Ultimately, you may be able to get some insight into your behaviors by taking an alcoholism quiz. A quiz can educate you on your relationship to alcohol and help you understand what you should do.
At the same time, it may be helpful to answer some simple question about your use of alcohol. Here are a few questions that you can answer, but make sure you answer them honestly.
If your answer was yes to more than one of these questions, then the chances are that you are an alcoholic. This may actually come as a shock, as many individuals are surprised to find out that they actually have alcoholism. More than likely, your intention was never to become addicted to the substance—most people never mean to. However, like many other things, alcoholism tends to sneak up on you.
You can experience the short-term effects of alcohol addiction without being an alcoholic for several years. For most people, the short-term effects will show up early on during the process of addiction. These effects include slurred speech, blurred vision, breathing irregularities, blackouts, relaxed inhibitions, and a depressed immune system.
When you have impaired inhibitions, you often engage in behaviors that you otherwise would not have—and most of them are pretty risky. Some of these behaviors include driving while intoxicated and unprotected sex, so it is important to keep in mind that drinking in excess puts you at a higher risk of causing harm to yourself as well as other individuals.
A few other short-term effects of drinking alcohol and alcohol addiction include nausea, vomiting, aches and pains, headaches, and failing to remember the events that took place during alcohol consumption.
The short-term effects of alcohol are definitely dangerous, but there are also long-term effects that can be hazardous. The longer that you consume alcohol, the more dangerous that the side effects become to your health and well-being. You tend to engage in repeated drinking patterns that can result in long-term effects live liver disease, increased risk of heart failure, increased risk of diabetes/cancer, increased risk of respiratory failure, thiamine deficiency, sudden onset of seizures, and shakes.
Each individual will go through withdrawal differently, so a person’s symptoms will vary as well. While one person may experience withdrawal symptoms a few hours after their last drink, another individual may not have symptoms until a few days after consuming alcohol for the last time. Once you stop drinking, though, the risk of Delirium Tremens (DTs for short) are incredibly risk, and immediate medical attention is crucial if these symptoms appear.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms that may be experience include low-graded fever, increase in blood pressure, hot or cold sweats, feelings of disorientation/confusion, hallucinations, seizures, irregular heartbeats or racing heart rate, or severe tremors. Some other symptoms that may be experienced include headaches, nausea with/without vomiting, anxiety, and insomnia.
There are some nice alcohol rehabilitations centers in the country, and the best ones can assist you in overcoming your alcohol addiction and embrace recovery. This is done by addressing each facet of your alcohol addiction so that recovery is a possibility. This means that they will do the following:
Each addiction is different, but if you fail to address the addiction’s physical aspect with detox and then focus on the psychological aspect of it with rehab, then the chances for a successful recovery are very low. Studies have shown that you risk of relapsing significantly decrease when you treat both aspects.
When it comes to alcohol addiction treatment, there are multiple types at your fingertips. As an alcoholic, it is important to keep in mind that one treatment method may work for one person, but it may not be the best option for you.
If you or a loved one is dealing with an alcohol addiction, keep in mind that it is not recommended to stop drinking without professional supervision and assistance—no matter how long it is that you have been addicted to alcohol. If you do this, it could result in very dire health consequences due to the withdrawal symptoms. It is recommended to stop in a controlled, medical environment, which will ensure that you can obtain the care and attention that you need and deserve during such a critical time of your life.
Here at Shadow Mountain Recovery, we understand alcoholism and everything that goes along with, and we know how important it is for you to recover from the addiction. We also know the importance of recovering the right and safe way.
You don’t have to let your alcohol addiction continue to control your life. If you are an alcoholic or suspect that you are, contact us to get started with the admissions process or to simply learn more about the alcohol treatment options that we have available.