It’s an unfortunate part of our culture to think that there’s nothing wrong with a glass of wine or a pint of beer to wind down after a long and stressful day at work. Alcoholic drinks have been consumed by society for centuries, from popping champagne in celebration to enjoying a few beers with your friends after work. It was never intended for alcohol to be consumed to the point of no return – causing sickness, mental disorders and for approximately 88,000 Americans each year, death.
For most people suffering from alcoholism, it starts with just one drink, some fun and relaxation with friends during a tough period in their lives, whether it’s dealing with a break-up, a difficult marriage, financial issues or work problems. There’s many reasons why people turn to drink to feel better, but ultimately become dependent, addicted and unable to function without a drink.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that those who will die from alcoholism are shortening their lives by up to 30 years. With such frightening figures, drinking is no joke.
While alcoholism often starts as a few drinks here and there, addicts can soon find themselves hankering for a drink at unusual times. Craving alcohol first thing in the morning or during the day is an abnormal habit, and is one of the first signs of the disease. Being an alcoholic is the gradual progression into not being able to live your life without drinking, and the condition will and does get worse over time, a process that can even take years.
When drinking to get drunk becomes a hobby | If you’re drinking purely for the enjoyment of becoming drunk on a regular basis, it’s likely that you are eventually going to cause some serious damage to your liver, and become unable to socialize or have fun without drinking.
Regular binge drinking such as this can leave you to drink more to get the same effects of alcohol as your body will begin to develop a tolerance to the drug – forcing you to increase the amount you consume to feel the same way. This is one of the main players in alcohol dependency, as the more you drink the more likely you are to become addicted.
This can also lead to blackouts, a scenario where you have consumed so much alcohol that you are unable to remember your own actions, and can impair your judgement while drinking so that you make decisions the sober you would never consider.
All of these situations are the ingredients for an alcohol addiction, and many drinkers may not be aware that they are setting themselves up for dependency. More young people are engaging in the habit of binge drinking, as it becomes an accepted part of this generation’s society. While it may be seen as just fun right now, it can lead to some serious mental and physical complications when they are older.
Who is the most likely to suffer from alcoholism? | While alcoholism is a disease that can affect anybody, those with a family history of alcohol abuse are likely to engage in it themselves. Some scientists believe that genes are responsible for over-drinking in some cases, while others believe it is the fault of social pressure from peers.
Drinking can also affect the brain in a way that makes it crave alcohol, turning social drinkers into addicts. The only way to prevent this from happening is by consuming alcohol in moderation, and being aware of your drinking levels.
Alcoholism is a progressive disease that begins as a social hobby or a way to deal with stress, and manifests into an addiction that controls every aspect of an individual’s life. Admitting to the problem is the first step, but social stigma means many people are embarrassed and reluctant to seek help.
If you or a loved one is suffering alcohol abuse, talk to a medical professional about the steps you can take to reverse the effects of drinking and prevent further addiction.