You may be wondering what people are referring to when they talk about alcoholism.
Sure, it seems obvious what alcoholism is in TV shows, when a character comes home with slurred speech and mistreats his family, or a character reacts with disdain when they find out that someone begging for change will spend the money they are given at the liquor store.
The reality of the situation is that alcohol abuse is all around us, and plenty of people who still mostly “have it together” are struggling.
Alcoholism is when a person has a dependence on alcohol. In other words, they struggle to go about their daily activities without consuming alcohol.
The physical effects of alcoholism in the long-term can be severe and lead to permanent organ damage, even if the person with the drinking problem is still performing well at work or in relationships.
And if alcoholism goes unchecked, it most certainly will touch those parts of a person’s life as well, and begin to affect those around him.
Is Alcoholism a Substance Addiction?
When people use the word ‘alcoholism,’ they’re referring to Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) which is a condition where people who consume alcohol experience adverse mental and physical effects as a result of overconsumption.
With this distinction, alcoholism is definitely a substance addiction.
Just like any other substance addiction, people who suffer from it are unable to perform daily tasks or fulfill obligations due to the way alcoholism affects their lives.
It may be from the physical alcohol effects or it may be due to the person spending too much time or money trying to acquire alcohol and work it into their daily routine.
The only way to stop alcoholism from adversely affecting your life once the addiction takes hold is to find an addiction treatment center that’s designed to confront issues of alcoholism and substance addiction.
What Are the Effects of Alcoholism?
Although it’s popular in the United States, alcohol has a number of detrimental and irreversible health side effects. The effects of alcoholism are especially damaging since over-consumption of alcohol can expedite how quickly these effects set in.
Some of the long-term physical effects of alcoholism include:
- Liver damage
- Reduced sexual performance
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Brain damage
Aside from the health effects listed above, excessive drinking also has negative effects on other parts of life.
Time spent drinking, especially alone, is time lost with friends and family, or even time spent not working.
Money spent on alcohol is money that doesn’t go into savings, toward necessities, or even toward healthier “fun” things like tickets to an event or gas money for a road trip.
How Do You Know If You Are an Alcoholic?
In order to prevent these effects, you should learn to recognize alcoholism symptoms early on.
If you or someone you know exhibits two or more of the following signs, then it’s time to talk to them about their alcohol consumption and find an addiction treatment rehab center:
- Craving alcohol
- Drinking more or for longer than intended
- Spending a lot of time drinking
- Drinking interfering with relationships, work, or school
- Continuing to drink despite the problems it causes
- Getting into dangerous situations due to drinking (impaired driving, unsafe sex, etc.)
- Continuing to drink despite the anxiety or depression it causes
- Needing to drink more to produce desirable effects
- Giving up activities and interests in favor of drinking
- Many unsuccessful attempts to stop drinking
- Experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms
Many people feel that the line is unclear between alcohol abuse and “social drinking.” While people often recognize a problem if you are frequently drinking alone, drinking in groups is often perceived as safer.
If you or someone you know is only inclined to go out in groups when alcohol is present, they may be covering their Alcohol Use Disorder, even if they don’t recognize that that’s what they are doing.
Some people just cannot imagine getting through their daily routine without drinking. A mindset like that is one of the biggest warning signs that you may be suffering from alcoholism.
Can You Recover from Alcoholism?
Yes! There is life after alcoholism.
Recognizing the signs of an Alcohol Use Disorder is the first step in preventing any of the adverse, long-term effects of alcoholism.
Once you recognize alcoholism in either yourself or someone you love, it’s time to take action and find an alcohol addiction treatment center.
Serenity Lodge – Lake Arrowhead is an addiction rehab center in California that provides men with comprehensive alcoholism treatment, as well as other substance addictions, and dual diagnosis for those with underlying issues.