Warning Signs Of Alcoholism
Sometimes the warning signs of alcohol abuse are very noticeable. Other times, they can take longer to surface. When alcohol addiction is discovered in its early stages, the chance for a successful recovery increases significantly.
Common signs of alcoholism include:
- Being unable to control alcohol consumption
- Craving alcohol when youre not drinking
- Putting alcohol above personal responsibilities
- Feeling the need to keep drinking more
- Spending a substantial amount of money on alcohol
- Behaving differently after drinking
If you feel as though your alcohol consumption is taking a toll on your life, its important to find treatment options that will help you kick you alcohol addiction to the curb. Your doctor will be able to offer professional medical assistance if you are concerned about your drinking. Seeking help for alcoholism sooner rather than later gets you back on track to living a healthy, fulfilling life.
The Impacts Of Drug And Alcohol Addictions
Addictive substances can change our lives in fundamental ways: They can cause us to be cruel to people we love, to lose jobs that we really want, to spend money that we dont have, to damage our physical bodies and more. Addiction is less about which substance you crave than why you crave it.
Many experts will disagree between the similarities and differences between drug and alcohol addictions because both are forms of addiction.
How Does Alcohol Addiction Start
While many adults can enjoy the occasional alcoholic drink and not suffer too many ill effects, alcohol addiction is still a serious problem around the world. Like any activity that brings pleasure and can become addictive, drinking alcohol stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain. When you drink alcohol regularly, your brain will start to associate feelings of euphoria and relaxation with the drinks you consume. This will cause you to crave more alcohol until it becomes an addiction.
This is almost certainly not news to anyone its how addiction works. It works that way whether your drug of choice is alcohol, cocaine, or heroin. What makes alcohol addiction so dangerous is that people can become addicted to it before they know its happening. Moderate drinking is socially acceptable and even expected in some circles. Even if you happen to get sloppily drunk, a lot of people will still think youre just having some harmless fun. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying the occasional alcoholic drink, its still important to know how an alcohol addiction starts so you can recognize it in yourself or someone else you know.
Read Also: How To Get Off Nasal Spray Addiction
Stimulus Control Of Behavior
The term “behavioral addiction” refers to a compulsion to engage in a natural reward â which is a behavior that is inherently rewarding â despite adverse consequences. Preclinical evidence has demonstrated that marked increases in the expression of ÎFosB through repetitive and excessive exposure to a natural reward induces the same behavioral effects and neuroplasticity as occurs in a drug addiction.
Reviews of both clinical research in humans and preclinical studies involving ÎFosB have identified compulsive sexual activity â specifically, any form of sexual intercourse â as an addiction . Moreover, reward cross-sensitization between amphetamine and sexual activity, meaning that exposure to one increases the desire for both, has been shown to occur preclinically and clinically as a dopamine dysregulation syndrome ÎFosB expression is required for this cross-sensitization effect, which intensifies with the level of ÎFosB expression.
Reviews of preclinical studies indicate that long-term frequent and excessive consumption of high fat or sugar foods can produce an addiction . This can include chocolate. Chocolates’ sweet flavour and pharmacological ingredients is known to create a strong craving or feel ‘addictive’ by the consumer. A person who has a strong liking for chocolate may refer to themselves as a chocoholic. Chocolate is not yet formally recognised by the DSM-5 as a diagnosable addiction.
Mixing Alcohol And Other Drugs
Combining alcohol and other substances is both common and dangerous. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and combined with other drugs, can have wide-ranging effects. For example, mixing cocaine and alcohol promotes the production of a substance called cocaethylene in the liver, which produces feelings of euphoria.
This toxic combination increases the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, and liver damage and is thought to be the most commonly fatal two-drug combination. Combining alcohol with opiates such as heroin can boost the depressant qualities of both, which can lead to respiratory depression, hypoxia, coma, and death.
Addiction to one substance increases the risk of becoming addicted to others, especially if taken in conjunction with each other to produce different highs. As alcohol is so widely available, the likelihood of combining it with other substances is high.
Read Also: How To Get Certified In Addiction Counseling
What To Do If You Have An Addiction
Its normal, if not common, to go through a period of substance abuse or compulsive behavior without realizing you are addicted to it. It is known as the pre-contemplation phase. Congratulations! You have reached the contemplation stage if youre starting to think you might have an addiction. It is an excellent opportunity to learn more about your symptoms and obsession to get the ideal treatment.
After realizing the extent of their addiction, many decide to change their bad habits for a better life. It might be simple and manageable for some and an unpleasant experience for others. Quitting the dependency can be quite a task for the individual. Choosing the right recovery program is essential as it will determine your success. Appropriate medications, therapy, and social support groups are also great ways.
Alcohol Dependence Can Contribute To Mental Health Problems
Anxiety, depression and suicidal feelings can all develop when youre alcohol dependent. This is because regular, heavy drinking interferes with neurotransmitters in our brains that are needed for good mental health.
Being dependent on alcohol can affect your relationships with your partner, family and friends. It might mean you dont perform so well at work and if that continues for any length of time you could face losing your job, leading to financial problems as well. These issues can also contribute to depression and anxiety. Alcohol can also make you more aggressive. If you use alcohol to try and improve your mood, you may be starting a vicious cycle.
If you think your mental health is suffering because of your drinking, but you feel youre not able to stop, ask for professional help. Start with a visit to your GP or by contacting one of the organisations listed at the end of this page.
Also Check: How Do You Know If You Are Addicted To Weed
How Do I Know If I Have An Alcohol Use Disorder
You may have an AUD if you can answer yes to two or more of these questions:
In the past year, have you:
- Ended up drinking more or for a longer time than you had planned to?
- Wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
- Spent a lot of your time drinking or recovering from drinking?
- Felt a strong need to drink?
- Found that drinking – or being sick from drinking – often interfered with your family life, job, or school?
- Kept drinking even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
- Given up or cut back on activities that you enjoyed just so you could drink?
- Gotten into dangerous situations while drinking or after drinking? Some examples are driving drunk and having unsafe sex.
- Kept drinking even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious? Or when it was adding to another health problem?
- Had to drink more and more to feel the effects of the alcohol?
- Had withdrawal symptoms when the alcohol was wearing off? They include trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, and sweating. In severe cases, you could have a fever, seizures, or hallucinations.
If you have any of these symptoms, your drinking may already be a cause for concern. The more symptoms you have, the more serious the problem is.
Effects Of Alcohol Dependence On The Body
Being alcohol dependent can lead to a whole range of serious health problems. If youre dependent on alcohol, you increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, stroke, coronary alcohol-related heart disease and alcohol-related liver disease.
Prolonged heavy drinking damages your liver. An estimated seven out of 10 people with alcoholic liver disease have an alcohol dependency problem5.
Read Also: How Do You Know If Your Addicted To Weed
Getting Help With Alcohol Addiction
The first step to getting help for addiction is recognising the problem. If you think you might be addicted to alcohol, its important to visit your GP to talk about a referral to a psychologist or other specialist service.
Some of the services you can access for more information include:
Group therapy and drug therapy are other options.
ReachOut NextStep is a tool that will give you personalised tips and help, and will connect you to useful info and services.
The Recovery Village 2020 Alcohol Survey Results
We surveyed 2,136 American adults who either wanted to stop drinking alcohol or had already tried to . We asked them about their alcohol use, reasons for drinking, alcohol-related outcomes, health and more. A subset of the studys respondents qualified as heavy alcohol users. Research shows that people who drink before the age of 15 are four times more likely to become addicted to alcohol later in life.
Among those surveyed:
- 10.1% had their first alcoholic drink at 11 years old or younger
- 37.5% had their first alcoholic drink between 1217 years old
- 39.7% had their first alcoholic drink between 1825 years old
- 12.6% had their first alcoholic drink at 26 years old or older
Alcohol use disorder can involve feeling like you need to drink to keep going, but it doesnt start that way. Multiple different reasons can spur someone to drink until theyve become dependent on alcohol. Among those surveyed:
- 64.9% used alcohol to cope with stress
- 43.5% used alcohol to cope with mental health symptoms like anxiety or depression
- 61.9% used alcohol recreationally or socially
- 38.1% used alcohol out of boredom
- 16.6% reported being physically dependent on alcohol
- 17.8% used alcohol as part of their daily routine
Only 7.2% of people with an alcohol use disorder received treatment.
How To Treat Drug And Alcohol Addiction
A drug and alcohol addiction can destroy your life. The physical and mental effects of abusing these substances can be devastating to an individuals health. And, unfortunately, addiction is a very relatable problem: the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that over 22 million people in the U.S. struggle with drug abuse or alcoholism.
Fortunately, there are ways to treat this problem without resorting to drugs or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. These methods use behavioral techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing to get patients sober. Treatment can also be accessed through outpatient drug and alcohol rehab treatment to help you continue your life and activities not affecting your life.
Getting Help For Alcohol Or Other Drug Dependence
If you think that you or someone close to you has an alcohol or other drug problem, speak first with your local doctor or call DirectLine, on .
DirectLine is a 24-hour-a-day information and advice line that is free, anonymous and confidential. You can talk to a professional counsellor who is experienced in alcohol and drug-related matters, and they can start you on the right track.
Also Check: Is Alcohol The Most Addictive
Physical Signs Of Alcohol Abuse
Many signs of alcohol abuse can appear in the short term, including:
- Drinking larger amounts of alcohol than previously consumed
- Spending more time, money and energy working on getting and using alcohol
- Spending more time being hungover and recovering from alcohols effects
- Frequently showing signs of intoxication, like slurred speech, poor coordination and walking problems
- Increased injuries from falling or engaging in risky behaviors
- Smelling of alcohol or having many empty bottles around the house
- Significant weight changes
Other physical signs of alcohol abuse require prolonged use and include:
- Cardiac issues, like high blood pressure, stroke and irregular heartbeat
- Liver problems, like fatty liver, hepatitis, fibrosis and cirrhosis
- Weakened immune system
Are The Symptoms Of Alcohol Abuse Reversible
Most individuals with an alcohol use disorder who experience brain or cognitive troubles will recover with treatment within a year of sobriety. In some instances, it can take much longer. The outcome of recovery and sustained sobriety depends on a host of medical, personal, and physiological factors. The first step in recovery from an alcohol use disorder is seeking treatment from a rehab center that offers exemplary clinical services and compassionate care.
Also Check: How To Help Someone Addicted To Heroin
What Causes Alcohol Intolerance
Having an alcohol intolerance is a genetic condition that means the body cant process alcohol efficiently. With this condition, a person has an inactive or less-active form of the chemical that breaks down alcohol in the body.
When someone drinks alcohol, the liver first breaks down alcohol into a toxic chemical called acetaldehyde. The body uses a chemical called aldehyde dehydrogenase, or ALDH2, to break down acetaldehyde. When broken down, acetaldehyde cant hurt the body. However, in some individuals, ALDH2 does not work properly, resulting in alcohol intolerance.
Physicians have found that a problem with ALDH2 is genetic. Therefore, it is likely that your family members are at risk for the same problem. The main risk factors for having a problem with ALDH2 is being of East Asian descent, especially Chinese, Korean or Japanese.
How Do You Diagnose A Substance Use Disorder
A substance use disorder can be diagnosed by a medical, mental health, or addiction treatment professional. To arrive at a diagnosis, a healthcare provider will conduct a diagnostic evaluation, which involves a series of questions about a persons past and present substance use and the impact of substances on a persons life. A person must experience at least two symptoms of a substance use disorder in order to receive a diagnosis.
In 2019, around 20 millions Americans ages 12 and over experienced a substance use disorder within the past year.
The severity of a substance use disorder is distinguished by how many symptoms a person experiences:
Two to three symptoms indicate a mild disorder.
Four to five symptoms indicate a moderate disorder.
Six or more symptoms indicate a severe disorder.
Who Can I Call For Help With Alcoholism
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a hotline, 24/7, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-662-HELP .
Alcoholics Anonymous is available almost everywhere and provides a place to openly and non-judgmentally discuss alcohol problems with others who have suffered from alcohol.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
No matter how hopeless alcohol use disorder may seem, treatment can help. If you think you might have a problem with alcohol, call SAMHSA or talk to your healthcare provider. They can help you cope, make a treatment plan, prescribe medications and refer you to support programs.
Brain Chemistry During Alcohol Use
Like any other addictive drug, alcohol affects the brains chemistry. When a person drinks alcohol, the drug causes their brain to release the neurotransmitters, which are chemicals responsible for signaling pleasure and reward. In the brain, alcohol increases the effects of neurotransmitters that slow the body down while also decreasing the effects of neurotransmitters that speed the body up. The combined effect results in many of the intoxicating effects of alcohol.
You May Like: Why Do Drug Addicts Have Swollen Hands
Patient Discussion About Alcoholism
Q. Alcoholism Steve 26 yr old suffered with bi-polar and the related drugs that eventually lead to his over dose. He died in where he felt a connection to the intellectual environment. After suffering with Steve for so many years, I am convinced that this disease is genetic his grandmother also suffered with drug addiction and a mental disorder, but had that gene that must have been inherited by Steve.Any one in the area of mental health and genetic engineering Research? We want to set up or get involved with public awareness on the devastation of this disease which kills 100+ thousands in this country each year yet society treats it as a social problem — The advancement of mental research has been slow almost medieval — Please help. No one, no family should have to suffer the way my beautiful son suffered and who had so much to give to humanity.
Q. ALCOHOLISM what effect does it have on the digestive system?
Q. alcoholism I am 17 years old and I love to drink alcohol. I go out partying and drinking every night with my friends. How can I tell if I am an alcoholic or just like to drink?
What Causes Drug And Alcohol Addiction
Drug and alcohol addiction is a difficult problem. Its hard to understand from the outside, and its hard to treat on the inside. There are many factors that contribute to someone becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol, but there are also ways that you can help prevent it in your loved ones.
Negative life events, such as losing a job or moving, can trigger an addiction crisis in some individuals who were previously dependent on drugs
Addiction is a disease. They didnt choose to be an addict. They cant control it, but the drug controls them. After all, they took a few hits, and now they need more and more of it every time because their body became dependent on that substance to feel normal.
Read Also: Can You Become Addicted To Nicotine Gum