According to the National Institute of Health, 6.2% of adults in America in 2015 had alcohol use disorder (AUD). Regular consumption of alcohol has numerous health effects and can lead to death. To avoid developing AUD, people should keep themselves busy doing something constructive during their leisure time. However, those willing to quit alcohol addiction can get help to get their lives back on track.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is a condition where an individual has the urge to take alcohol without minding its after-effects. Alcohol addicts have a problem socializing with people and have financial problems. Whether they enjoy consuming alcohol alone or with friends, they develop alcohol abuse disorder due to regular uncontrolled drinking.
Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcoholic symptoms develop after individuals abuse alcohol for an extended period. They may develop emotional, mental, or physical problems. Thus, people with alcohol addiction have several symptoms, including;
- Shaking or feeling nausea if they lack alcohol
- Storing lots of alcoholic drinks in the house
- Drinking at specific intervals such as before or after meals
- Drinking while hiding
- Strong desire to drink
- Blacking out
Causes of AUD
The primary causes of alcohol addiction can be environmental, genetic, or psychological. Despite the cause, those abusing alcohol suffer from addiction at a certain point in their lives. They always have a strong desire to drink despite being aware of its adverse effects. So, they drink for pleasure, to enlighten their moods and forget their problems. However, the feeling is recurring hence, developing alcohol abuse disorder.
Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Health
Some people feel the effects of alcohol after a single drink, while others experience problems later in life. These problems are mainly severe and long-term and sometimes lead to death. The common effects of alcohol abuse are;
Heart Problems: Abusing alcohol can lead to various heart conditions, including increased heart rate, high blood pressure, weak heart muscles, and atrial fibrillation. Individuals suffering from these conditions may suffer from blood clots, stroke, or heart failure.
Sexual Function Problems: Men who abuse alcohol may have erectile dysfunction and low sexual desire. They can either ejaculate faster or slower than required. This may lead to broken marriages.
Liver Diseases: People who develop alcohol abuse disorder may suffer from various liver issues. A liver is a vital organ in the body, and liver failure can cause death. The common liver diseases are liver cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, or hepatic steatosis.
Weak Immune System: Those abusing alcohol may suffer from a weakened immune system, hence becoming vulnerable to diseases. This is because alcohol destroys the healthy microorganisms in the gut and the intestines, leading to infections. Thus, they suffer from respiratory conditions such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, and adult respiratory distress syndrome.
High Risk of Cancer: Heavy Drinking may lead to various cancers such as breast, liver, colon, throat, esophagus, and colon cancers. It causes cancer by causing tissues to absorb carcinogens or influence the body’s hormonal levels. Thus, the more people drink, the higher the risk of cancer. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world today.
Digestive Issues: Alcohol abuse can cause ulcers or inflammation in the stomach. It affects the stomach walls or the pancreas, and the body poorly absorbs nutrients. This leads to digestive disorders, which can cause a low appetite for food and trouble sleeping. Thus, people with alcohol use disorder may suffer from weight loss.
Alcoholism Treatment Options
People who develop alcohol abuse disorder can choose various alcohol addiction treatment options to help them remain sober. Despite the cause of alcohol addiction, this problem is treatable. However, those abusing alcohol must have a strong will to get help to avoid quitting and relapsing. Below are several treatment options for alcoholism.
Alcohol Rehab Facilities
There are several alcohol rehab facilities where alcohol addicts can get help. In these facilities, alcoholics receive short-term or long-term counseling to help them get sober and prevent relapsing. After this treatment, most individuals quit drinking alcohol and live happy life.
Alcoholism Support Groups
These groups involve men and women who are alcohol addicts and need to solve their problems. They are known as Alcoholics Anonymous (A. A), and people speak openly about their problems. Thus, addicts develop a mutual relationship and help each other to become sober. AA is also a free support group.
Apart from A. A, there are other groups like Moderation Management, Women for Sobriety, LifeRing Secular Recovery, and Secular Organizations for Sobriety. All these support groups are established to help alcohol addicts recover and live productive lives.
Though there’s no specific dosage to treat alcoholism completely, FDA has approved several drugs to help alcohol addicts remain sober. These medications include Acamprosate (Campral), Antabuse (Disulfiram), and Naltrexone (Revia). They reuse the urge to drink so that those who have quit drinking cannot relapse.
This includes quitting drinking by choosing a suitable environment that discourages a relapse. However, those who choose this alcohol addiction treatment may experience withdrawal symptoms such as convulsions, shaking, hallucinations, or death. That’s why professionals monitor these individuals to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms.
Sometimes, those who choose this treatment need some drugs early if they experience recurring withdrawal symptoms. Some of these drugs include Ativan, Valium, or Librium. This way, those recovering from alcohol addiction can get sober without experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms. However, after some time, they can stay sober without taking these drugs.
Treating Underlying Issues
People may become alcohol addicts to specific issues in life. Therefore, treating problems such as stress and anxiety can help alcohol addicts to quit drinking. Again, this also helps reduce risks caused by alcoholism, including heart issues, digestive problems, eye problems, and a weak immune system. This way, these individuals can live a happier and healthy life.
The above guide helps people to understand alcoholism and various treatment options. Heavy drinking leads to financial and social issues. Therefore, addicts should choose the best treatment option to help them remain sober and live healthier lives. However, all alcohol addiction treatment options require discipline to avoid relapsing.