Alcoholism

If you are in the habit of drinking alone or more or you neglect your personal hygiene, miss work or are unable to control your alcohol intake level, you may be suffering from Alcoholism. Alcoholism is a serious disorder that can result in job loss, break-up in relationships and damage to your physical and emotional health. You will continue the habit even in spite of social, economic and legal issues. The impact of the condition will be such that you will ignore all important occupational, recreational or social activities due to your addiction to alcohol.

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Alcoholism is a disorder that occurs when you become excessively dependent on alcohol. You begin drinking alcohol excessively for a long time. This will result in your body becoming addicted to drinking alcohol. Alcoholism of this type is referred to as alcohol dependence. If you consume alcohol to such an extent that it triggers problems but you are not dependent on alcohol physically, the condition is termed as alcohol abuse. If the condition is very serious causing you several negative consequences such as losing your job or wreaking havoc on your family, the alcoholism is referred as alcohol use disorder.

Chemical changes that occur in the brain due to alcohol have been cited as the probable cause of alcoholism. The negative changes occurring in the brain boost pleasurable feelings when you consume alcohol, urging you to drink more frequently in spite of knowing that it can cause harm to you. With time the pleasant feeling you have while taking alcohol will wane and you continue it to just prevent the withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms of withdrawal can be very dangerous and unpleasant. Alcoholism takes time to develop but has a familial tendency. Some of the risk factors for alcoholism include

  • Consuming over 15 drinks in a week for men and over 12 drinks for women
  • Binge drinking that includes 5 drinks in a day once in a week
  • You are suffering from anxiety, depression or schizophrenia
  • You have a parent who has alcohol use disorder

Young adults under peer pressure or poor self-esteem or under high stress levels are also at higher risk of alcoholism. If you are part of a culture or family that accepts alcohol consumption as the norm, you are at greater risk..

When you experience physical symptoms like alcohol cravings, withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, shaking, memory lapses or illnesses like cirrhosis or ketoacidosis it is necessary to get professional help. Treatment of alcoholism is of different types, with each one aimed at making you stop drinking alcohol completely. This is termed abstinence. Treatment includes different phases as follows

  • Detoxification: Withdrawal of alcohol to get rid of its effects from your body
  • Rehabilitation: You learn to cope with withdrawal symptoms by taking up new ways and behaviors
  • Counseling: Your emotional problems will be addressed through counseling.
  • Support Groups: This includes programs like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) which consists of 12 phases.
  • Medical: The health issues you face due to alcoholism are treated and medications provided to control the addiction..

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