Alcoholism & its effects
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Table of Contents
Alcohol Use Disorder, better known as alcoholism, is when you are unable to control your drinking. Alcoholism gets to the point where drinking controls you: causing you to drink regardless of how it affects your life. By extension, alcoholism causes you to lose your life, your friends, and your family.
Below, we will dig into the effects of alcoholism, the potential risk factors, and the emotional turmoil people respond to.
Who does alcoholism affect?
Alcoholism is tracked from age 12 onward. The most affected group are young adults between the ages of 18 to 30. Many young adults pursue college, the military, or are first starting their families during this time.
Given that this is a time in a young adult’s life where they are most likely to transition, it also has the highest potential stress. It makes young adults keen targets for alcoholism, making them susceptible to alcohol’s addictive tendencies. It is incredibly straightforward in college. Half of all college students in the US are known to engage in heavy drinking.
They slowly allow alcohol to take over any potential success they may have had. These people give up families, their friends, and their futures to escape from the pressures of life.
Symptoms of alcoholism
If any of these sounds like you, you may already be an alcoholic:
- Becoming defensive when people ask about your drinking habits
- Needing more drinks to reach a state you previously were at
- Not feeling like you are in control of your drinking
- Giving up job opportunities, social opportunities, or anything else for drinking
- Missing work for alcohol
- Drinking alone
- Poor dietary habits
- Feeling cravings
- Having any memory lapse
- Dehydration-type symptoms (Alcoholic ketoacidosis)
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The Effects of alcohol on the body:
The signs and the risk factors behind those symptoms are already scary enough. Once you consider all of the damage alcoholism can do to your body and your brain, it gets a bit more terrifying.
We will explore a couple of those issues below:
- Brain shrinkage: With enough alcohol in your system, you can have the frontal lobes in your brain shrink.
- Changes in behavior: You will lose your ability to make decisions. You will become irritable often, losing most of your friends.
- Slurring speech: Drunk people have slurred speech. Being perpetually drunk will make it hard to return to your usual way of speaking.
- Liver damage: Your liver works to remove harmful substances from your body. Alcohol is a poisonous substance that can poison the liver.
- Cancer: Excessive alcohol consumption makes you more susceptible to many types of cancer.
- Damage to the nervous system: You may feel numbness in your hands and feet, signifying that your nervous system is damaged.
- Infertility: Excessive drinking can prevent your body from having any further kids.
- Malnutrition: Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol will prevent your body from absorbing nutrients and vitamins.
- Muscle cramps: Dehydration of your body will cause cramping and muscle weakness.
While these effects are scary, the mental effects that come with alcohol can be just as terrifying. One common issue with AUD is extending that abuse to your friends and family.
You may be at risk of becoming an alcoholic if any of these sound like you:
- 12 or more drinks a week
- Consistent binge drinking of more than five a week
- Parental history of alcoholism
- Know a good friend who can peer pressure you
- Know a good friend or family member with AUD
- Part of a culture where binge drinking is encouraged
- Other mental health disorder
- Low self-esteem
- High stress
Some studies tell us that those who repress anger feelings are more likely to express those feelings while drunk. It is a dangerous situation for those who are in the pathway of those angry intentions.
As we have already stated, alcoholism is more likely to occur in those who suffer from anxiety and depression. These people are already encouraged to suppress their thoughts. The stigma behind mental illness is idiotic and counter-intuitive.
So when we ask the question “are alcoholics abusive,” we direct that question to society as much as we do the alcoholic. The self-inflicted pain that they willfully choose to go through comes from social stigma.
While it does take recognition and ownership from the user, it takes understanding from others. Hopefully, they can find this understanding before things get too dire.
Another group that is going through a significant transition is veterans. Those who have served overseas or continually move and perform their duties suddenly lose that sense of belonging and brotherhood.
Veterans feel increasingly along in this, sometimes turning to the bottle. Expect that number to be higher for those who have gone through trauma. Two in ten veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) also have Substance Abuse Disorder (SUD).
Those who have been through combat are also much more likely to binge drink, which involves taking in a lot of alcohol. Without proper understanding and treatment, drinking can get out of hand quickly.
The first step is admitting you have a problem. Once you do this, you should already be proud. But your fight is far from over.
You may have to go through medical detox, which will remove the alcohol from your system over some time. At this point, a doctor can admit you to a facility. Your next step after this is a sober living facility.
This is where you start building your life again.
Real Deal Sober Living has sober living facilities in Dallas, Plano, and Richardson. With support from two live-in house managers, everything is provided for you. You don’t have to worry about bills, food, or transportation. The only thing you have to worry about is getting better.
Real Deal Sober Living also has options while attending outpatient, allowing you to commit as much as you need to. With a combination of therapy, fellowship, and self-accountability, you will get better.