Do you find yourself longing for the evening, only to grab a pint of beer or maybe down a few stiffs? Are you the first one to ‘raise a toast to that’ or propose a celebratory drink? Do you find these occasions where you decide to indulge yourself with just a couple of drinks cropping up a lot more frequently than they used to? If all of these situations sound distinctly familiar, then it’s time to take a minute to seriously reevaluate those drinking habits. For these are none but the precursors to the most pervasive addiction of the modern era Alcoholism.
The most widely known and accepted definition of alcoholism is the continued consumption of alcohol even after it impedes your social and personal interactions and causes a significant number of health issues. Simply put, if your friends and family have been talking about your drinking habit a lot more than they used to, or if you have been putting off that visit to the doctor, only because you don’t want him to launch into a minute speculation about your drinking routine, you are well on your way to alcohol addiction.
The most worrying of all symptoms of alcoholism is that the victim is more often than not, in the state of denial. This means that he is nor only defensive about his habit, but resentful about others commenting on it, simply because he himself is trying hard to convince himself that there’s nothing wrong about how much he drinks, or worse, he just doesn’t find anything abnormal about it. Also, many alcoholics are deceptively natural in their appearance and interactions, thus alleviating any cause of worry about just how dependant on alcohol they are until they’re overcome by their addiction.
The most prevalent causes of alcoholism are as physical as they are psychological. An individual who has a family history of alcoholism is genetically more susceptible to addiction. Also, if he is known to suffer from bouts of severe depression, or if his stress-coping mechanisms are poorly developed, he may recourse to alcohol to blot out his despair. Also, if you drink as a means to simply while away your time, you are already reeling on the verge of plunging into the deep, dark void that is alcoholism.
The physical manifestations of alcohol addiction can be severe to the point of being life threatening. By itself, alcohol is deemed responsible for a majority of deaths around the world, be they through diseases stem out of excessive consumption, or mishaps that take place under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol abuse can single-handedly lead to liver cirrhosis, renal failure and several gastrointestinal complications.
Alcohol also makes your blood pressure shoot up, which puts your heart at a greater risk of failure or stroke. Alcoholics may find themselves to be hypoglycemic, as alcohol disrupts the release of glucose to the blood stream. Over time, alcohol can even cause severe neurological impairments like distorted thinking and even dementia. Psychologically, alcohol abuse also leads to the individual becoming estranged from his family and even resorting to domestic violence or even pathological patterns of behavior, either to fund their consumption of alcohol, or under the effects of its intoxication.
The best way to deal with a reliance on alcohol is to come out in the open about your dependence. This could be either through consulting your physician to have him recommend the necessary treatment, and being honest with him about your consumption patterns. You will either be asked to cut down on your drinking or abstain completely, depending on how severely affected you are.
If your counselor finds that your dependence on alcohol is rooted in other psychological problems like chronic depression, marital discord or work-related stress, you will be advised to undergo counseling for the same, in addition to your detoxification treatment. You may even be prescribed medication to help curtail your withdrawal symptoms and recommended group therapy, to help you deal with the process of de-addiction.
However, the key factor which influences how effective your treatment will be your determination and resolve to stick to your decision. This may also warrant that you keep away from any social gatherings and people where you may find yourself being coerced or even tempted to relax your rules for ‘one tiny drink’. Once you’ve taken that first step, it is crucial that you stick to it at all costs. And when you begin to find other ways to deal with stress and involve yourself in more rejuvenating recreational activities, you’ll find that there’s no high you get from alcohol, that life itself can’t give you. Your first step is just the beginning down a long and healthy walk through life and once you’re down that path, you’ll find a world of opportunities open up to you with every step that you take!