When alcohol abuse becomes a daily occurrence, or when a person is not physically able to do without alcohol, alcoholism is the result. Alcoholism can be defined as a disease in which a person drinks alcoholic beverages at a level that interferes with physical health, mental health, and social, family, or job responsibilities.
Those that struggle with alcoholism have built up a tolerance for the substance through prolonged and increased use. Therefore, alcoholics feel the need to drink great amounts of alcohol to feel the same effects as someone else. Those with alcoholic dependence have strong cravings to drink, and lose control of their consumption once they start. They also lose control of their actions when drinking, and may become violent, confrontational, or engage in risky behavior. The main characteristic of someone with alcoholism is the physical dependence. Trying to quit for an alcoholic means severe side effects – nausea, sweating, and tremors. A person with alcohol dependence is not able to quit drinking on their own, and professional help in a medical setting is usually necessary for their health.
The results of alcoholism are often devastating. Health problems such as liver disease, certain types of cancer, and brain damage are all caused by increased exposure to large amounts of alcohol. Blackouts while drinking and poor judgment can lead to injuries from falls, risky behavior, or drunk driving. Alcohol toxicity is also a risk, and premature death can occur.
Many people have been negatively influenced by alcoholism. Kids who grow up with an alcoholic parent struggle with trust relationships throughout their lives, because of abuse or neglect they suffer while growing up. Spouses may develop a negative co-dependent relationship when alcoholism becomes a part of it. Alcoholism has a way of completely taking over a person’s life. It becomes more important than careers, friends, hobbies, and families, and the result is that these things usually suffer.
Nearly 17.6 million adults in the United States are alcoholics or have alcohol problems. But only 15% of these people actually get treatment for their disease. One reason for this is that sobriety is a difficult thing to achieve. It can be done, and many people do so successfully every year. But to get sober, an alcoholic first needs to admit they need help, and then go through detox to get the substance out of their body. Once those difficult steps are accomplished, the patient can go through counseling and programs designed to reshape their thinking and give them ways to overcome their cravings to drink. The 12 Step program is a widely recognized way to help alcoholics after the detox process, when they are learning to live their lives again. Sobriety is not something that can be achieved easily. Recovering alcoholics will spend the rest of their lives staying sober. Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are usually necessary to help someone remain sober.
This article was written by Bethany Winkel
Joining the TSN online family in 2008, Bethany has used her skills as a writer to reach many people through her blog. Always eager to be a help to others, she is pleased to see her writing become a source of information, encouragement, and hope for those impacted by substance abuse. Bethany is happy to be involved with an organization that is making a difference in the lives of others. Bethany has also held the position of development coordinator for a nonprofit youth center for the past 6 years. With her expertise in grant writing, Bethany has raised over $1 million for programming that benefits at-risk youth. The happy mother of 4 young children, Bethany juggles her writing from home with spending time with her family. If her hours of research for her TSN blog articles have taught her one thing, it is to be an involved parent who takes time to listen to her kids.