Alcohol drinking quickly turns into a drinking problem when the costs start to outweigh the benefits. Having a Problem with drinking can easily turn into alcoholism or as it is frequently called these days alcohol dependency syndrome.
The stage of Problem drinking can and is frequently, arrived at through Binge Drinking – consuming vast quantities of alcohol with the sole intension of getting inebriated. Binge Drinking leads to alcohol abuse which is where drinking begins to cause problems.
Alcohol Abuse turns into alcoholism which is where the drinker can experience excessive cravings to consume alcohol, symptoms of withdrawal when not having access to alcohol and losing control over their drinking habits. It is crucial to understand though, that alcoholics don’t necessarily drink all day or each and every day.
Alcohol is known to cause a range of physical problems which can damage the body in many ways, sometimes the damage it causes is irreversible. Minor damage can be symptoms such as broken capillaries, redness and puffiness of the facial area. On a more serious note alcoholism can be attributed to blood disorders leading to anaemia and other blood related infections.
Many types of cancer can be attributed to alcohol use including but not limited to throat and mouth cancers. Alcohol is also known to cause problems such as liver disease which can be fatal in some circumstances. In addition alcohol can cause emotional issues including confusion and depression after a heavy bout of drinking, blackouts and a complete loss of concern for relationships and hobbies.
What is Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol Addiction is a state where a person has developed a physical and sometimes mental dependency on alcohol. There are variable levels of alcoholism however, all are very serious conditions that require treatment from professionals. One can group alcohol addiction into the following areas:
Physical Alcohol Dependence
Physical Alcohol Dependence is where, due to frequently drinking quantities of alcohol, the individual has built up an increase level of tolerance to the quantities that they consume. In order to circumvent the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, they are forced to increase the capacity of alcohol they drink so maintain a certain level of balance both physically and in some cases mentally. If they consume less than the quantity of their tolerance level they may experience the unpleasant and at times dangerous effects of withdrawal.
Some of the effects and risks of Physical Alcohol Dependency are:
• Liver damage and failure
• Severe Depression and Anxiety
• Multiple organ failure
• Weight loss or gain
• Certain Cancers
• Alcoholic Hepatitis
• Heart attack
• Lethal withdrawal symptoms
Mental Alcohol Dependence
Mental alcohol dependence is where a person may feel the need to drink alcohol to be able to deal with certain events or situations in their everyday life. Sometimes this can also be accompanied by physical dependency. For example, the individual may feel they need a drink to be able to socialise or that they have trouble relaxing or even sleeping without the use of alcohol. In these cases alcohol becomes the crutch upon which they rely to overcome their uncomfortable situations.
Examples of the symptoms and effect of mental alcohol dependence are:
• Low self esteem
• Panic attacks
• Mood Swings
• Social Phobias
• Loss of appetite
Binge drinking could be defined as in the circumstances where a person struggles to control the quality of alcohol they consume when they are drinking. Binge drinking can be associated with drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short time period, with stages of sobriety or normal social drinking in the periods between. The patterns Binge Drinking tends to follow are specific to the drinker such as binge drinking only at weekends or certain days of the week but stays away from alcohol at other times or binge drinking for a number of days and then may have weeks of sobriety in between these periods.
Typical symptoms and risks associated with Bing Drinking are:
• Loss of control
• Lack of Coordination
• Loss of consciousness
• Slow Reflexes
• Nausea and vomiting
• Liver damage and failure
• Alcohol poisoning
• Lethal alcohol withdrawal symptoms
In the case of Alcohol Abuse the individual may binge on alcohol or in some cases mix their drinking with other substances such as prescription drugs/ illegal drugs or other medications to increase or prolong the effects they seek from alcohol. As an example the person may mix drinking alcohol with taking other stimulants so that they may extend the quantity of alcohol they consume or continue drinking for longer periods of time.
Examples of the Effects and Risks of Alcohol Abuse are:
• Respiratory Issues
• Heart Problems
• Lack of Awareness
• Unusual Behaviour
• Liver Issues
• Weakened Immune System
• Essential Organ Failures
The effects of alcohol withdrawal for an individual with a dependency on alcohol can range from being an unpleasant experience to being extremely dangerous. If you or someone you care about are alcohol dependent you should ensure that medical advice is sought before attempting a detox or stopping altogether as there are medicines specifically available to help with detoxification in a safe manner.
Symptoms and effects of Alcohol withdrawal can include any of the following:
• Involuntary Shaking
• Sickness and Vomiting
• Aggressive Behaviour
• General Confusion
• Muscle Stiffness and Spasmodic Episodes
• Heart Attack
If you or someone you care about is suffering from alcohol related issues the best thing you can do is to seek professional help at the earliest possible point. The faster you get the assistance you or they need the better the chances of a successful outcome and a safe passage to freedom from addiction.