Alcohol addiction is the unfortunate result of drinking excessively and letting yourself lose control. When you start abusing alcohol by drinking often, it can lead to addiction if you continue behaving this way. Your body gets depending on the alcohol and will therefore act negatively without it.
When you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms like headaches, anxiety, depression, and cravings, you will start drinking once again; this can cause a nasty cycle. Here are some guidelines about alcohol addiction and how to find help.
About Alcohol Addiction
Most people define alcohol addiction as being the need to get intoxicated from any type of alcohol. This could be beer, wine, hard liquor or any combination of them. When you're addicted to alcohol, which is sometimes referred to as alcoholism, you are craving alcohol and can't control your drinking or how much you drink. The more you drink, the more you want to drink and it starts a vicious cycle. You will often lose your ability to stop drinking, where all day and night you are drinking, including wild driving, at work and out in public. You know it is against the law, but don't care and often get into legal, financial or relationship trouble as a result of your drinking. Because when it gets to this point, you are unable to control your drinking, it is considered a disease.
Dangers and Consequences of Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol addiction not only puts you into legal and financial trouble, but it can be very dangerous and include many short term and long term consequences. Many serious health issues are a result of drinking too much alcohol including liver damage, heart disease, brain damage and cancer. You cut your life expectancy by 10-15 years when you're addicted to alcohol, and you raise the risk of committing crimes or suicide as about half of crimes are alcohol-induced. Alcohol destroys brain cells, which leads to severe brain damage, affects your central nervous system, causes inflammation in your stomach and esophagus, causes irregular heartbeats and high blood pressure, decreases sexual function, slow circulation, gives you poor vision, causes you to retain water and gives you numerous other disorders.
Difference Between Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
Alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction have many differences, with most of them related to the severity of the side effects. Someone abusing alcohol often becomes abusive, has numerous financial, legal and relationship troubles, drives under the influence, and begins skipping work or school. If you're addicted to alcohol, you are physically dependent on it which causes a dangerous pattern of self-harm and harming others with your bad drinking habits. You can no longer control the drinking including what you drink, how much you drink or how often.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
If you're concerned that a friend or loved one is addicted to alcohol, there are some signs you should look for. The following are the most common signs and behaviors you will see in someone abusing or addicted to alcohol:
- Poor balance and clumsiness
- Delayed reflexes
- Slurred speech
- Frequent stomach pains and nausea
- Frequent vomiting
- Loss of consciousness
- Having hangovers often
- Beginning to use more alcohol due to the physical dependence
- Knowing the complication and side effects of drinking but doing it anyway
- Letting relationships suffer in order to continue drinking
- Paying less attention to responsibilities
- Getting into financial or legal troubles as a result of the alcohol
- Having severe withdrawal symptoms during periods of sobriety
Withdrawal Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
One of the main signs of alcohol addiction is experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms whenever you're sober. Some of these symptoms include extreme agitation, anxiety, depression, sweating even in the cold, body tremors or convulsions, uncontrolled shaking, nausea and vomiting, persistent insomnia, seizures and hallucinations.
Alcohol Addiction Causes and Risk Factors
There is no single cause of alcohol addiction, but some people are susceptible to substance abuse and addiction. Some of the risk factors for alcohol addiction are having family members with alcoholism or alcohol abuse, starting to drink at a very young age, having peer pressure, being around others that drink often and having a history of mental disorders or abuse.
Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
If you are showing any signs or symptoms of alcohol addiction, you should seek help immediately. You will enter treatment and have a program utilizing different treatment methods such as detox and medication therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling, therapy for mental disorders and other types of treatments.