Addiction to alcohol can be referred to as alcoholism or alcohol dependence. It is more common among youth and it’s a global issue.
Addiction to alcohol is a condition marked by a combination of dependence on alcohol, loss of control over the use its use, and the continued consumption of alcohol despite understanding its harmful effects on one’s mental and physical health.
Signs of Alcohol Addiction
- Trying to limit one’s drinking but being unable to
- Experiencing hangover when you don’t even drink
- Spending a lot of time taking alcohol or getting over its effects
- Choosing to drink and neglecting other responsibilities
- Short term memory loss
- Experiencing changes such as shakes or sweat on the body when one stops drinking.
Causes of alcoholism
There are many factors that lead to alcohol dependence., some of the are the following
- Having it in one’s family as a trait or traditional upbringing.
- getting exposed to it at early age of life
- Stress, depression and anxiety are also social factors that lead to excessive drinking.
- Taking medications with alcohol
Symptoms to look out for in Alcohol addicted individual
Signs of alcohol dependence on an individual takes many forms which might include: drinking alcohol from time to time and binge drinking.
Many alcoholics develop resistance to be able to drink ever larger amounts of alcohol before feeling or seeming drunk. Alcohol users often drink to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
People who are dependent on alcohol may have the following features…
- Trying to hide evidence of drinking
- Promising to give up drinking
- Drinking stronger alcoholic beverages or start to drink earlier in the day
- Having long periods of being drunk
- Drink alone
- Having problems at work
- Missing work
- Black out
- Losing interest in food
- Having mood that changes easily (be angry, irritable, violent)
- Having personality that changes often (be jealous, distrustful)
- Repeatedly driving while drunk
- Being careless about their appearance
- Being confused and have memory problems
- Losing the ability to think quickly or concentrate
- Having memory problems that are caused by drinking.
Physical symptoms and Side effects
- Nausea or shaking in the morning
- Poor eating habits
- Stomach pain
- Cramps or tingling
- Weakness in the legs and hands
- Red eyes, face, or palms
- Unsteady walking or falls
- New and worsening medical problems.
How to Diagnose Alcohol addiction
Many may not consider the possibility of alcohol dependence or they tend to overlook it. The individual or a family member may need to bring up the subject.
The diagnosis of alcohol dependence is based on how one uses alcohol and the effects of alcohol on one’s life or family.
Ordinarily, the attending doctor will take a careful medical history of your symptoms.
Most importantly, how and when one drinks alcohol.
The doctor will ask about the following:
- The history of using drugs and alcohol.
- Ability to function socially.
- One’s work history
- Prior and current emotional or mental problems.
- Thoughts of suicide
The doctor will examine clinically to look for medical problems caused by alcohol use.
Lab tests of urine and blood may be done.
The most frequent and severe effects of alcoholism are not medical problems, but problems with emotions, relationships, accidents and work.
How to Help One quit Alcohol drinking
The attending doctor can help an affected individual quit drinking and recover from disorders related to alcohol.
Psychotherapy and social programs will also aid in one’s recovery.
It usually help better if family members are included in the treatment program.
If he/she is able to or must continue working, the treatment might be an outpatient treatment program.
Often, counseling sessions can be set for before or after the person’s work hours.
The attending physician may prescribe a drug called Antabuse (disulfiram).
This drug will cause severe nausea and vomiting if the person drinks alcohol and thus will discourage him/her from drinking.
There is a newer medication called ReVia or Depade (naltrxone) that can help you overcome cravings for alcohol without the side effects of disulfiram.
This drug is thought to work by blocking the brain receptors that produce the feelings of pleasure drinking gives somebody.
Rehabilitating Heavy Drinker
Alcoholism doesn’t go away. One may feel a need or desire for alcohol throughout one’s life.
One of the most important aspects of alcohol counselling and treatment is to learn the behaviour patterns that usually cause you to start drinking.
Recognizing these patterns and changing them is important.
If one stops drinking, related health problems can often be controlled or prevented.
However, severe damages such as injury to the liver, heart or pancreas may be lasting and possibly fatal.
Medical help must be sought.
One important thing to note is that, recovery from alcohol dependence always requires the help and support of others.
Make sure you get this support; people in your community that can help you include your physician, pastors, mental health centres, and or substance abuse treatment programs.
Follow doctor’s advice on treatments of any other medical problems.