Alcohol Addiction: Signs, Complications, and Recovery
- Jan 30, 2020
Alcoholism is the second most common form of substance abuse in the United States. Drinking is so common in many cultures and the effects vary so widely from person to person. Alcohol is a part of life of many people. It’s often at the center of social events and closely linked to celebrations and enjoyment. That’s why, it’s not always easy to determine if someone has a drinking problem. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism describes alcoholism as "problem drinking that becomes severe."
Alcohol is a legal, controlled substance that lowers anxiety and inhibitions. It also has a broad range of side effects, from loss of coordination to slurred speech. Not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic, but anyone whose life is negatively affected by alcohol on a consistent basis is considered to have an alcohol use disorder. Alcohol is commonly consumed as a drink in various forms, including beer, wine and hard liquor.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder
The most obvious indicators of alcoholism typically fall into two primary categories: social and physical. Social warning signs of alcoholism are usually very easy to spot and include frequent trouble with the law, habitual lying, consistent justification of their own drinking (i.e., excuses), jumbled priorities, friendship bonds formed due to drinking, social isolation due to drinking, and slipping social performance. Physical warning signs are fairly cut and dry. The tricky part is that many of them are also pretty standard behaviors for non-alcoholics. However, be sure to pay attention in red flags: consistently drinking more than intended, high alcohol tolerance, memory loss, constant involvement in risky or dangerous situations, daily drinking, and drastic changes in physical appearance.
As an addiction tends to get worse over time, it’s important to look for mentioned above early warning signs. If identified and treated early, someone with an alcohol addiction may be able to avoid major consequences of the disease.
If you’re worried that someone you know has an alcohol addiction, it’s best to approach them in a supportive way. Avoid shaming them or making them feel guilty. This could push them away and make them more resistant to your help. Call to Hathaway Recovery Rehabilitation Center where a group of professionals will take care of him or her.
There are many health complications are associated with alcoholism. Drinking usually elevates a person's mood at first. Alcohol depresses the nervous system and may undermine a person's judgment. It can lower inhibitions and alter the drinker's thoughts, emotions, and general behavior.
Drinking heavily can affect a person's ability to coordinate their muscles and speak properly. The worst result of alcohol overdose is a coma.
Alcoholism can also cause:
Fatigue: The person feels tired most of the time.
Memory loss: Alcohol affects the short-term memory in particular.
Eye muscles: The eye muscles can become significantly weaker.
Liver diseases: There is a higher chance of developing hepatitis and cirrhosis, an irreversible and progressive condition.
Gastrointestinal complications: Gastritis or pancreas damage can occur. These will undermine the body's ability to digest food, absorb certain vitamins, and produce hormones that regulate metabolism.
Hypertension: Regular heavy drinking is likely to raise blood pressure.
Heart problems: There is a higher risk of cardiomyopathy (damaged heart muscle), heart failure, and stroke.
Diabetes: There is a high risk of developing diabetes type 2, and people with diabetes have a high chance of complications if they regularly consume more alcohol than is recommended. Alcohol prevents the release of glucose from the liver, resulting in hypoglycemia. If a person with diabetes is already using insulin to lower their blood sugar levels, hypoglycemia could have serious consequences.
Menstruation: Excessive consumption of alcohol can stop or disrupt menstruation.
Erectile dysfunction: There may be problems getting or sustaining an erection.
Fetal alcohol syndrome: Consuming alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of birth defects. The newborn may have a small head, heart problems, shortened eyelids, and developmental and cognitive problems.
Thinning bones: Alcohol interferes with the production of new bone, leading to a thinning of the bones and an increased risk of fractures.
Nervous system problems: There may be numbness in the extremities, dementia, and confused or disordered thinking.
Cancer: There is a higher risk of developing several cancers, including cancer of the mouth, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum, breast, prostate, and pharynx.
Accidents: There is a higher chance of injuries from falls, road traffic accidents, and so on.
Domestic abuse: Alcohol is a major factor in spouse-beating, child abuse, and conflicts with neighbors.
Work or school problems: Employment or educational problems and unemployment are often alcohol-related.
Suicide: Suicide rates among people with alcohol dependence or who consume alcohol inappropriately are higher than among those who do not.
Mental illness: Alcohol abuse increases the risk of mental illness, and it can make existing mental illnesses worse.
Problems with the law: People who consume alcohol are significantly more likely to spend time in court or in prison, compared with the rest of the population.
Helping a loved one to fight with Alcohol Use Disorder
If someone you love has a drinking problem, you may be struggling with a number of painful emotions, including shame, fear, anger, and self-blame. The problem may be so overwhelming that it seems easier to ignore it and pretend that nothing is wrong. But in the long run denying it will bring more harm to you, other family members, and the person with the drinking problem.
Dealing with a loved one’s alcohol problem can feel like an emotional rollercoaster. It’s vital that you take care of yourself and get the support you need. It’s also important to have people you can talk honestly and openly with about what you’re going through.
A good place to start is by joining a group such as Al-Anon, a free peer support group for families coping with alcoholism. Listening to others with the same challenges can serve as a tremendous source of comfort and support. You can also turn to trusted friends, a therapist, or people in your faith community.
You cannot force someone you love to stop abusing alcohol. As much as you may want to, and as hard as it is to watch, you cannot make someone stop drinking. The choice is up to them.
Don’t expect the person to stop drinking and stay sober without help. Your loved one will need treatment, support, and new coping skills to overcome a serious drinking problem.
Recovery is an ongoing process. Recovery is a bumpy road, requiring time and patience. An alcoholic will not magically become a different person once sober. And the problems that led to the alcohol abuse in the first place will have to be faced.
Admitting that there’s a serious problem can be painful for the whole family, not just the alcohol abuser. But don’t be ashamed. You’re not alone. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse affects millions of families, from every social class, race, and culture. But there is help and support available for both you and your loved one.
What are treatment options for alcoholism?
A common initial treatment option for someone with an alcohol addiction is an outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation program. An inpatient program can last anywhere from 30 days to a year. It can help someone handle withdrawal symptoms and emotional challenges. Outpatient treatment provides daily support while allowing the person to live at home.
Many people addicted to alcohol also turn to 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). There are also other support groups that don’t follow the 12-step model, such as SMART Recovery and Sober Recovery.
You don’t have to go through recovery alone. Many people who struggle with alcohol addiction find it difficult or impossible to quit without the help or support of others. There are many professionals and support groups designed to get you the help you need. Increase your chance of a full recovery with the help of Hathaway Recovery Rehabilitation Treatment Center. Get in touch with a treatment expert today to find the best solution that’s right for you. The coordinators at Hathaway Recovery are available 24/7 to answer all your questions. Call now at (909) 971-3333.
Hathaway Recovery Drug & Alcohol Treatment Center
Located in the beautiful Baldy Mountains of California, Hathaway Recovery provides a healing environment where patients accept and understand their addiction and embrace a productive lifestyle. Patients are provided an exceptional, highly individualized dual diagnosis and drug and alcohol treatment in a safe, comfortable and nurturing environment.
The structure and organization of Hathaway Recovery ensure a safe atmosphere for patients to achieve their goals. Hathaway Recovery and its team of Board Medicine Physician, Highest Certified Specialists, Coaches, Master Level Clinicians and Licensed Therapists & Psychologists are ready to serve those who is affected by Substance Abuse and Mental health.
Hathaway believes that Family plays big role in recovery and encourages family to support their loved ones during recovery. Call now at (909) 971-3333.