Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse
It’s not always easy to see when your drinking has crossed the line from moderate or social use to problem drinking. But if you consume alcohol to cope with difficulties or to avoid feeling bad, you’re in potentially dangerous territory.
What causes alcoholism and alcohol abuse?
Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are the result of many factors, including genetics, social environment, and emotional health. Those with a family history of alcoholism are more likely to develop drinking problems. Also, those who suffer from a mental health problem such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder are also particularly at risk, because alcohol may be used to self-medicate.
Alcohol Abuse versus Alcoholism Alcoholism is defined as a physical dependency on alcohol. Alcohol Abuser have some ability to set limits on their drinking, but their level of consumption is self-destructive and dangerous to others.
Common Signs of Alcohol Abuse
• Repeatedly neglecting your responsibilities at home, work, or school because of drinking.
• Ignoring danger, but using alcohol anyways. Like drinking and driving, operating machinery while intoxicated, or mixing alcohol with prescription medication against doctor’s orders.
• Repeat arrests due to drinking, DUI or drunk and disorderly.
• Recognizing that drinking is a problem, but continuing to drink anyways. For instance, like getting drunk with your buddies, even though you know your spouse will be very upset.
• Drinking as a way to relax or de-stress after every stressful day or situation.
When Alcohol Abuse becomes Alcoholism or alcohol dependence Not all alcohol abusers are or become alcoholics, but it is a risk factor. It can develop suddenly due to a large stressful change in your life, or can simply culminate from years of tolerance.
Alcoholism involves all the symptoms of alcohol abuse, but it also involves another element: physical dependence.
Warning Sign: Tolerance
Tolerance means that, over time, you need more and more alcohol to feel the same effects. If you’re a binge drinker or you drink every day, the risks of developing alcoholism are greater.
Warning Sign: Withdrawal When you drink heavily, your body gets used to the alcohol and experiences withdrawal symptoms if taken away.
They can include: Anxiety or jumpiness, shakiness or trembling, sweating, nausea and vomiting, insomnia, depression, irritability, fatigue, loss of appetite, and headaches.
In severe cases, withdrawal can involve hallucinations, confusion, seizures, fever, and agitation. These symptoms can be dangerous, speak to a doctor immediately.
It takes tremendous amount of strength and courage to face alcohol abuse and alcoholism head on.
Whether it’s rehab or therapy, support is essential. Without it, a problem drinker can easy to fall back into old patterns. In order to stay alcohol-free for the long term, therapy will include facing the underlying problems that led to the problem drinking.
Working with professional therapists and getting support from friends and family will help ensure that your recovery is successful.