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Alcohol has been present at many events over the years, but there are many issues around the use of alcohol that many people do not see. Continuous alcohol consumption can spiral into addiction, especially for people who are more vulnerable to it. Those who suffer from mental conditions or deal with hardship in any way use alcohol to drown the feelings of despair. In the long run, this could make things worse, and add an extra issue. You might end up with chronic alcoholism, something that could be very damaging, in some cases even leading to irreversible damage.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is the act of drinking alcohol excessively. Alcohol addiction can lead to several physical or mental problems, with some of the most affected areas being the liver, pancreas, heart, brain, and immune system.
Furthermore, alcoholism can result in irregular heartbeat, delirium tremens, mental illness, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, liver cirrhosis, and impaired immune response. It increases the risk of cancer as well.
The term alcoholism is often used to refer to Alcohol Use Disorder. AUD is the particular term that medical professionals use when referring to a medical condition involving the inability to stop drinking alcohol or control an alcohol addiction, regardless of the life and health consequences it brings.
The term “alcoholism” is used by people who are not in medical professions, and it’s encompassed by Alcoholic Use Disorder too, together with other terms related to alcohol. Such terms are alcohol addiction, alcohol dependence, and alcohol abuse
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When someone is dealing with alcoholism, they crave alcohol all the time, and they drink large quantities daily. In fact, drinking alcohol becomes the norm for them, and they start feeling uncomfortable if they don’t have any alcohol.
An alcoholic has built tolerance over time by drinking large alcohol amounts, so in order to reach an intoxication level, they have to consume more than a normal person would. The more they drink, the higher their tolerance gets, which may only exacerbate their consumption.
Also, an alcoholic ends up facing real-life issues as a result of their addiction. They lose jobs, friendships, relationships, and become isolated. Depending on the individual and how they react to different things when intoxicated, some may even end up in risky, violent situations, leading to legal issues in some cases.
Alcoholism comes in different types: mild, moderate, and severe. Having any level of alcoholism requires professional help.
What Makes it Chronic?
Alcoholism is considered chronic because it is a condition that develops over time and tends to become worse as time passes by. It can have environmental, psychosocial, and genetic factors, and if left untreated, it can even be fatal. Also, alcoholism lasts more than a year, which is what makes it a chronic disease.
Another thing that makes it chronic is the fact that there is no cure that will magically make someone stop drinking. Treating the condition is a process, and the affected individual needs to be determined and make a proper effort to stop drinking.
More often than not, an alcoholic will start dealing with uncomfortable symptoms following the absence of alcohol, as their body and brain are adjusting to the new lifestyle. Sometimes, the withdrawal symptoms may even be dangerous.
The Stages of Alcoholism
There are usually 5 stages of alcohol use disorder, with the last two stages being where chronic alcoholism occurs.
- The first stage is the first step towards alcoholism. It involves abusing alcohol occasionally, which can be dangerous considering the things people could do when intoxicated.
- The second and third alcohol use disorder stages occur when one does not treat their binge drinking issue. The affected individual ends up drinking to deal with issues in their real life, whether we’re talking about financial issues, stress, or sadness. Drinking makes these problems worse, though.
- The fourth stage happens when alcohol dependence has developed already. At this point, their whole life centers around consuming alcohol. They may already know that alcohol has a negative effect on every aspect of their life, but they just cannot stop drinking. Their brain chemistry has already suffered changes due to excessive alcohol consumption, and the body has already become dependent and more resistant to alcohol.
- The fifth stage occurs when the individual has already become addicted to alcohol, and they drink because of emotional and physical cravings for the substance. They do not drink for pleasure anymore, but just because their body is asking them for the alcohol.
Signs of Chronic Alcoholism
It is not difficult to notice signs of chronic alcoholism as someone dealing with it is deep into the addiction already. When someone is dealing with chronic alcoholism, they lose control over their alcohol consumption. Here are some of the most common signs:
- The individual drinks heavily at any point of the day
- The addiction developed over a certain period
- Strong alcohol cravings are present
- The addict cannot stop drinking
- Withdrawal symptoms appear if the addict tries to stop
- The individual gave up on hobbies and other activities and ended friendships
- The addict is drinking even in cases when it’s not safe
- Being unable to handle work or school responsibilities
Why Treatment is so Important
Treatment is extremely important because if it’s not offered, the health of the person suffering from chronic alcoholism will deteriorate considerably, some damage being irreversible too.
If no treatment is considered, chronic alcoholism may lead to digestive issues, heart problems, liver disease, eye issues, diabetes complications, neurological problems, bone damage, a weak immune system, or others. The risk of cancer is also higher, and the individual may pass away sooner due to damaged health.
Moreover, alcoholism can impact someone’s safety, making it more likely for them to end up in risky, dangerous situations. So, it is extremely important for someone to find help if they are looking to avoid long-term problems.
Why Real Deal?
If you seek treatment for your chronic alcoholism, Real Deal can help you get back on your feet. A sober living program is offered for those wanting to join society again as a new person, free of addiction.
The program focuses a lot on getting better as a person, learning new skills, and finding a new purpose in life. Building a sense of community is also something Real Deal focuses on. The addict is encouraged to stay off the addiction and can get the therapy they need.
Do you think you or a loved one suffers from chronic alcoholism? Reach out to us so you can start your treatment and get healthy as soon as possible!