Alcoholism

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What is Alcoholism?

Although alcohol is a legal drug, it still causes some of the same negative effects that other illicit drugs have. The only difference in alcohol is that because of their attainable access due to being legal,  thus making the abuse of the drug become more addictive.

There are many symptoms of alcohol abuse, physical, mental and behavioral.

Alcoholism is a chronic disease characterized by uncontrolled drinking and over-use of alcohol. This is a common disorder that shows up in over 3 million US cases per year. Drinkers have been often known for losing control and form a physical and emotional dependency on alcohol.

In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5), the term ‘alcohol use disorder’ is used to replace ‘alcoholism’ and appears in the Substance-Related and Addictive Disorder chapter of the book.

When someone is drinking too much alcohol, there are clear physical signs. Some of these symptoms include slurred speech or  trouble walking because of poor motor function and coordination. There could also be signs of aggression or agitation, compulsive behavior or lack of restraint, or self-destructive behavior.

Moreover, a drinker’s mood can shift from anxiety to euphoria, or hysteria and fear. One may also express guilt, loneliness, depression and other severe emotions that they have trouble controlling. Once they start experiencing these wide ranges of emotion, this will lead them to self-medicate with more alcohol thus only making the problem worse.

Alcohol Addiction Symptoms

Those with alcoholism disorder have extreme problems controlling their drinking to the point of overindulgence. Some of the symptoms during these drinking beiges experience things such as blackouts, dizziness, cravings or sweating, and exhibit self-destructive or aggressive behavior.
By over drinking, a person’s mood can be altered into euphoria or formulate into anxiety. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which causes one to experience an altered thinking process, brain function, and neural activity.

The Symptoms of Alcoholism

  • They drink a sizable amount of alcohol over a longer time than they planned
  • Feeling powerless to in regards to their level of drinking
  • They spend a lot of time finding, purchasing, drinking, or recovering from alcohol
  • Turning down social activities, events, or forgetting about hobbies that they used to enjoy
  • Wanting to stop drinking, but they find it almost impossible to stop
  • Drinking under dangerous situations like driving or swimming
  • Building a strong tolerance to alcohol over time, which will require more liquor to achieve the same euphoria
  • Extreme urges to drink other than partaking in different libations at the event
  • Problems may soon arise at home, work and school because of the alcohol abuse
  • Feeling the urge to drink in order to feel better when trying to slow down and having withdrawal
  • The inability to not stopping their alcohol abuse even though it’s causing physical, mental, social and relationship problems

While there is a tremendous amount of information in this list, you only need two of these symptoms of alcoholism in order to be classified as a mild case of alcohol use disorder. Listed below is a full graded break down of the level of alcoholism.

Mild: 2-3 symptoms showing

Moderate: 4-5 symptoms showing

Severe: 6+ symptoms showing

Alcoholism Statistics

Today, psychologists found that 29.1% of the US population at some point of time have experienced at least a mild grade of alcoholism. According to the 2019 NSDUH, teenagers aged 12-17 totaled 414,000 with alcohol use disorder. Although less than 10% of people received treatment, drunk driving led to over 10,500 alcohol-impaired driving deaths in 2018. The annual costs for drunk driving alone in the US is almost $200 billion.

Physical Alcohol Addiction Symptoms

When someone is drinking too much alcohol, there are clear physical signs. Some of these symptoms include slurred speech or  trouble walking because of poor motor function and coordination. There could also be signs of aggression or agitation, compulsive behavior or lack of restraint, or self-destructive behavior.

Some physical signs hide in the body, as the alcohol penetrates your blood vessels this causes induced stress to the heart. Thus, causing long-term damage and cardiovascular disease.

Psychological Alcohol Addiction Symptoms

Someone suffering from alcohol addiction has the possibility of experiencing blackouts or memory impairments, which are often the results of binge drinking sessions. Overindulgence in drinking can cause irrational behaviour which may include drunk driving with no regard for potential harm.

A drinker’s mood can shift from anxiety to euphoria, or hysteria and fear. One may also express guilt, loneliness, depression and other severe emotions that they have trouble controlling. Once they start experiencing these wide ranges of emotion, this will lead them to self-medicate with more alcohol thus only making the problem worse.

The Periods of Alcohol Use Disorder

During different periods of alcoholism, a person will show different alcohol addiction symptoms.

Intoxication:

The more alcohol a person drinks, the more intoxicated they become. As their alcohol level increases by overindulgence, problems may start to arise as they distribute erratic behavior such as inappropriate comments and overly expressing emotions.

Slurred speech, lack of focus, and lapses in memory combined with poor coordination and clumsiness are all the results of alcoholism. A person can experience full blackouts where they don’t remember the entirety of events. High levels of intoxication can also lead to coma or even death.

Withdrawal:

Withdrawal can occur after someone stops drinking after being addicted to alcohol for an elongated period of time. Symptoms of withdrawal may include sweating, elevated heart rate, anxiety, restlessness, agitation and problems sleeping.

More serious cases could lead to hallucinations, paranoia, and sometimes seizures. Some of these symptoms can cause long lasting damages to your work and personal life. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can start within a few hours and get worse for several days before easing off.

Behavioral Alcohol Addiction Symptoms

Denial is common in every one of us, and alcohol users are no different. Since it’s so common to deny overuse of alcohol, you may not feel you have a problem at all. You can spot alcoholism by looking out for some of these symptoms. If friends and family are talking to you or someone you know about your drinking problems, then that’s a good time to seek help.

Once someone starts disregarding major health damages such as liver disease to indulge in alcohol, then that is the time they need to seek help. If they are engaging in dangerous activities like drunk driving or experiencing a black out, these are telltale signs of alcohol use disorder.

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, they may be suffering  from alcohol abuse and have not received treatment. Message us and let us know, and we’ll tell you more about some of the available treatments that could help.

Alcohol Rehab in Atlanta, GA

Buckhead Behavioral Health is a luxury addiction treatment facility and drug rehab in Atlanta, Georgia. Offering individualized treatment, the multidisciplinary staff at Buckhead Behavioral Health offers evidence-based practices to help individuals recover from addiction in a safe and structured setting free from distractions. Learn more about our admission process and begin the road to recovery now.

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