How to Support Someone With Alcohol Addiction
The American Medical Association (AMA) defines alcoholism or alcohol dependence as a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations.
Research shows that while some people develop a dependence on alcohol due to family history, childhood abuse or poor self-esteem, a few others get into alcohol use because of peer pressure or to fit into a certain group of people. However, irrespective of the influences that persuade a person to use alcohol, the bittersweet truth is that the journey from “one drink” to “one last drink” is mostly not anticipated.
It is so because unlike the popular belief, once a person passes the threshold levels of alcohol abuse, dependence and tolerance, he/she tends to develop an addiction to alcohol. By this time, his/her brain chemistry gets altered due to substance use and it becomes extremely difficult for him/her to quit alcohol because of the discomforting withdrawal symptoms Alcobarrier Avis.
It is also important to know that alcohol addiction is different from alcohol abuse. Those who abuse alcohol usually drink heavily, but not regularly. Such people behave recklessly or have a tendency to mix substances of abuse, which can lead to alcohol poisoning. Further, abuse may lead to addiction, but not vice-versa. However, alcohol addiction involves all aspects-dependence, abuse and tolerance.
State of alcohol addiction in America
Alcoholism is soaring in the United States, the worst part being the fact that more than 80,000 people are losing their lives to alcohol every year.
Recent statistics by renowned research and analysis organizations like the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reveal the current state of health of Americans.
Here are a few alarming statistics:
Alcoholism is the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the nation. (Source: NCADD)
Six people lose their lives due to alcohol poisoning every day; three out of four such people are men. (NIAAA)
Every day in the U.S., another 29 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes. That’s one person every 50 minutes. (Source: MADD)
Around 4,700 teens are killed every year due to alcohol use, which is way more than the deaths caused by all illegal drugs combined. (NIAAA)
Men are twice as likely as women to overdo drinking, be intoxicated behind the wheel or be involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents. (NIAAA)
Approximately one in two women of childbearing age drink, and 18 percent of women in this group binge drink (five drinks per binge, on an average).
Less than 8 percent of the 15 million plus people who struggle with an alcohol use disorder receive treatment. (NIAAA)
Up to 40 percent of all hospital beds in the United States (except for those being used by maternity and intensive care patients) are being used to treat health conditions that are related to alcohol consumption. (NCADD)
Knowing the warning signs of alcohol addiction
Alcohol consumes the body and the mind of the person using it. While the warning signs of drug and alcohol addiction are many, the disruption in normal life caused due to alcohol addiction has serious effects on the afflicted person’s thoughts, feelings and actions.
Hence, even if alcohol addiction may not seem like a real thing, it is a big menace. To stay away from being trapped, you should be watchful of these red flags:
Resorting to alcohol for every celebration or sorrow
Preferring to drink alone than in someone’s company
Lying about the drinking habit and behavior
Binge drinking whenever and wherever possible
Negligent attitude toward own health and responsibilities
Reckless behavior or no fear of law or rules after drinking
Frequent blackouts, leading to impaired memory functioning
Weight gain caused due to slow absorption of nutrients from food
Development of tolerance to the substance
Discomforting withdrawal symptoms, severe than a hangover
Understanding effects of alcohol use on your body
Alcohol is not the solution to any problem. In fact, its dependence, abuse or addiction is a problem in itself.
The resultant alterations in brain chemistry caused due to alcohol addiction affect both physical and mental well-being of the afflicted person. When left untreated, existing issues aggravate and comorbid disorders develop. Getting an accurate diagnosis and undergoing proper treatment can often be a far-fetched dream if the consulting expert is unable to determine if the symptoms are present due to an addiction or a mental illness.