Alcoholism doesn’t happen overnight; it evolves over time. This disease typically begins in a social setting. Social drinking is generally acceptable, but over time, this disease progresses into a severe problem.
As recreational drinking continues, the individual needs more liquor to feel the same effects. The addiction continues its progression, and the addict’s tolerance continues to grow. Similar to drug addiction, the alcoholic has a difficult time functioning without liquor. The cravings and physical withdrawal symptoms push the person towards the bottle.
Having an addiction to alcohol means temptations are all around since drinking is socially acceptable.
If you or a loved one need help resolving an addiction to liquor, you’re not alone. Find the help you need and achieve the sobriety you deserve by contacting our Miami rehab today by calling 800-298-1783.
Is Alcoholism A Disease?
Alcoholism is a form of substance addiction. The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines substance addiction as a chronic disease affecting the brain’s reward, memory, and motivation systems. With this being the case, this disease results in dysfunction in mental, emotional, social, spiritual, and physical manifestations.
While alcoholism has no cure, the option for treatment is available. Treatment can assist people in managing this condition, and over time, recovering alcoholics can maintain the sober lifestyle they deserve.
Even though alcoholism is a kind of alcohol use disorder, it’s also the most severe type. However, regardless of how mild the disorder is, without intervention, it can develop into alcoholism over time.
Signs Of Alcoholism
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders claims the following symptoms are signs a person might be an alcoholic:
- You find it difficult to control how much alcohol you’re consuming or how long you spend drinking alcohol
- You can’t stop drinking, even if your desire to quit is strong
- Much of your time is focused on, using, or recover from alcohol abuse
- Focusing on anything besides getting another drink is challenging
- You have relationship problems stemming from alcohol abuse
- You find it challenging to maintain personal or professional commitments as a result of your liquor intake
- You no longer desire to participate in activities you used to enjoy because you’d rather drink instead
- You drink and participate in risky activities, such as driving or operating heavy machinery
- You have mental or physical health issues resulting from drinking and still drink
- Your alcohol tolerance is significantly higher than it was in the past
- You experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop drinking alcohol
Causes Of Alcoholism
There isn’t a single underlying cause of alcoholism; instead, there are a variety of risk factors that come into play. Whether it’s an alcohol use disorder that develops over the years or a problem stemming from preexisting risk factors, some people are more susceptible to alcoholism than others. With this in mind, the following risk factors play a role in developing alcohol addiction:
- History of behavioral or substance abuse or addiction
- Social awkwardness
- Childhood neglect or abuse
- Close family members addicted to drugs or alcohol
The National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines a low-risk level of alcohol abuse. People who start abusing alcohol in excess of this definition –– drinking beyond five drinks per day or 14 drinks per week for a male, or beyond three drinks per day or seven drinks per week for a female –– are elevating their risk of becoming an alcoholic. This increases their tolerance of these adult beverages, and as time passes, they could become dependent on this substance and need it to function.
Effects Of Alcoholism
Throughout alcohol addiction, a person will feel the impact on their body and overall health. Some of these effects are permanent, and some studies even show that alcohol can impact the following parts of the body:
Heart –– Alcoholism results in high blood pressure, strokes, and irregular heartbeat.
Liver –– People who drink too much liquor will experience inflammation in the liver. This includes alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and fibrosis.
Kidneys –– Alcoholics can experience acute kidney failure as well as chronic kidney disease.
Pancreas –– Drinking liquor consistently can result in inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels, adversely impacting the digestive tract.
Immune System –– An alcohol addiction can increase one’s chance of having diseases of the immune system, including pneumonia and tuberculosis.
Brain –– The brain can experience short- and long-term impacts of alcohol use. These drinks can disrupt the brain’s communication pathways, impacting a person’s behavior, mood, and other cognitive functions. Extended alcohol use can also result in nutrient deficiencies, alcohol-induced seizures, and other problems relating to brain damage.
Overall Health –– A person’s behavior can also change as a result of alcoholism, especially in seniors. The way a person ages changes how the body deals with alcohol. Alcohol consumption can also make health problems worse. These problems can include diabetes, memory loss, high blood pressure, mood disorders, and osteoporosis. Elderly alcohol addicts are also more prone to accidents, such as falls and resulting fractures.
Alcoholism statistics and facts show just how much damage this disease is causing in the United States. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 86.3 percent of people from ages 18 and up reported they’d drank alcohol; over 70 percent claim they drank in at some point in the last year; 55.9 percent said they drank liquor some time in the previous month.
The 2017 NSDUH also highlights that 14.1 million adults have an alcohol use disorder. This statistic covers 9 million men and 5.1 million women addicted to alcohol.
The number of alcohol-related deaths annually is also rather surprising. With an estimated 88,000 people (around 62,000 men and 26,000 women) dying from these causes each year, alcohol is the United States’ third-leading preventable cause of death.
Get Help For Alcoholism
We’re here to help you find the best transition of yourself by guiding you towards the sober life you deserve. Follow the link to learn more about our alcohol rehab center in Florida or contact us today by calling 800-298-1783.