Uncontrolled drinking: Alcohol addiction and its problems

Alcohol addiction is also known as alcoholism. Alcoholism can see as a progressive condition that usually develops gradually. Occasionally people start with a drink for socializing, but over time the frequency of drinking increases.

Eventually, the person in question finds that he or she no longer functions appropriately without alcohol. Behaviors increasingly influence by drink and can lead to, among other things, dereliction of duty, neglect, arguments, and memory disorders.

Alcohol addiction is by far the standard form of addiction and affects all walks of life. Because alcohol has wide social acceptance, the boundary between problem drinking and addiction is difficult to define. The risk of addiction often underestimate. Alcoholism is an insidious disease that leads to physical and mental decline and sometimes even death.

Causes and characteristics of alcohol addiction

  • Alcohol addiction often arises from multiple causes. One of the causes is the hereditary factor. If addictive behavior runs in the family, a child has a high chance of becoming alcohol-addicted later.
  • Another cause is education; if children grow up in an environment where there is a lot of drinking, the threshold is lower for them to start drinking.
  • Stress, depression, insecurity, and social compulsion can also play a role in developing alcohol addiction. There is also tolerance or habituation. It means that if you drink regularly, the effect is less with the same amount of alcohol. So you have to drink more to get tipsy or drunk. But a busy social life can also play a role. Think of many drinks and dinners where alcohol is involved.

When is someone addicted to alcohol?

We speak of an alcohol addiction when someone drinks more than the average amount of alcoholic drink. If you drink more than four to five alcoholic beverages a day or drink an enormous amount once a week(binge drinking), you have an addiction.

Other criteria for addiction are:

  • You no longer have direction or control over the substance or habit.
  • The consequences of your users are so far-reaching that you can no longer function normally.

Symptoms of someone with a drinking problem

  1. Gray out & Blackout; (partial) memory impairment.
  2. Greater tolerance to alcohol.
  3. People do not keep agreements and, for example, arrive late for work.
  4. Social life is getting smaller, and loneliness is growing.
  5. Bad night’s sleep.
  6. Denial of the alcohol problem.
  7. Drink to make feelings of depression go away.
  8. Drink to treat or reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms of alcohol addiction

  • shaking or anxiety.
  • Medical problems.
  • Relational or family problems.

From alcohol abuse to addiction

When the boundary shifts from alcohol use to abuse, alcohol addiction is lurking. Alcohol addiction can quickly reach adulthood and develops on three fronts:

  • Psychological – developing an irresistible need for alcohol.
  • Physical – developing an increasing tolerance towards alcohol.
  • Social – functioning differently at work and in leisure time.

Psychological consequences of alcohol addiction

Alcohol takes ten minutes to reach and numb the brain. This anesthetic affects the way nerves transmit signals to each other. The higher alcohol an individual drinks, the greater this signal transmission is disrupted. As a result, inhibitions disappear, concentration and memory decrease, and self-criticism disappears.

Long-term alcohol consumption makes people dependent—memory stores situations in which alcohol use. When one is reminded of these situations by stimulation, and when seeing photos, the memory again asks for alcohol. Thus an irresistible need develops.

There is always a reason to have a drink, and when an addict is drinking, he or she cannot stop. As self-criticism disappears, someone will almost permanently deny alcohol addiction. It has been thought that drinking behavior is under control for a longer time, even if practice shows otherwise. Anxiety, depressed moods, burnout symptoms, and confusion are symptoms often associated with alcohol addiction.

Physical consequences of alcohol addiction

Someone who drinks a lot of alcohol develops an increasing tolerance towards alcohol. It means that more significant amounts of drink are needed to get intoxicated. Withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, poor sleep, anxiety, and tension occur more and more when someone does not drink alcohol. To get rid of these symptoms, one drinks alcohol again and thus ends up in a vicious circle of addiction. Long-term alcohol abuse causes significant physical damage to vulnerable organs.

The short term risks are:

  • Hangover.
  • Alcohol poisoning.
  • Getting fat.
  • Bad night’s sleep.
  • Bad breath.
  • Gray out & Blackout; (partial) memory impairment.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Unsafe sex.
  • Damage to the unborn child; FAS syndrome.
  • Addiction.

The long-term risks are:

  • Heart and vascular disease; myocardial infarction, heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias.
  • Inflamed gastric mucosa.
  • Liver diseases; alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, hepatitis B.
  • Cancer; liver cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, oral cavity cancer, esophageal cancer.
  • Pancreatitis.
  • Brain damage; cerebral infarction, dementia, Korsakoff syndrome.
  • Psychosis; delirium tremens, psychotic disorders with hallucinations or delusions.

Social consequences of alcohol addiction

Someone who is addicted to alcohol no longer functions as they should. Alcohol consumption has shifted from an afterthought to the main thing in life. Maintaining alcohol addiction takes time and energy to no longer be invested in work or the social environment. Agreements are not kept, looks are dulled, goals not achieve, and loneliness increases because people are busy hiding and denying the addiction. Ultimately, one ends up in a downward spiral that ends in a total lack of control.

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