Alcohol dependence or more commonly known as alcoholism is considered a disorder that can be treated. Despite of the negative effects of alcohol to the body and personal relationships of the drinker, there is still the uncontrollable desire to consume alcohol. It is also considered to be a disease that can be cured. Too much alcohol intake for a long time changes the physiological characteristics of the brain like tolerance and physical dependence. Alcohol abuse can also cause a number of physical symptoms and psychiatric symptoms.
Some of the physical symptoms include heart disease, epilepsy, cirrhosis of the liver, malabsorption, sexual dysfunction and cancer. Long consumption can also lead to damage to the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. Women develop symptoms faster than men and their symptoms include increased risk of breast cancer, decreased ovarian mass, irregularity of menstruation, and early onset of menopause.
Alcohol abuse can also cause psychiatric symptoms which simply mean mental health problems. The most common symptoms are the anxiety and depression disorder, panic disorder. About ten percent of dementia is related to alcohol abuse. Alcohol dependent women can develop major depression, anxiety, psychosis, confusion and organic brain syndrome. The danger of having psychosis, confusion and organic brain syndrome is that it might be wrongly diagnosed as having schizophrenia.
Social problems also arise with alcoholism which is cause by too much intoxication. There is also an increased risk of committing crimes such as rape, child abuse, violence at home and assault. Drinking can cause the loss of job because of inappropriate times of consuming alcohol resulting to reduced judgment and foul behavior. When under the influence of too much alcohol, behavior and mental abilities are impaired; therefore people would start to distance themselves from the drinker making him isolated from people. Child neglect, marital conflict and divorce can result from isolation.
Alcoholism is very hard to stop without help because sudden withdrawal from alcohol can cause seizures, hallucinations, uncontrolled shaking, and heart attacks; and can even lead to death. These things happen because alcohol stimulates the receptors of the brain which controls anxiety and fear. With continuous drinking, these receptors reduce in number. As alcohol contains substances with sedative-hypnotic mechanism, one would crave more alcohol to stop withdrawal symptoms.
To be able to stop or quit drinking safely, one should enroll in an alcoholism treatment program. Here, doctors can prescribe medicines that prevent withdrawal symptoms. As one progress through the program, does will be gradually reduced until withdrawal symptoms are gone or tolerable. But still, an ounce of prevention is better than a ton of cure, so just drink in moderation or better yet, do not drink at all.
If you have a drinking problem
you may be here on this website because you have decided to quit drinking. I hope so, being dependent on alcohol can be a devestating condition. It impacts your family, your health and your finances. It's never easy to admit that your drinking has devolved into a problem, but as they say - recognizing the problem is the first step toward recovery.
Quitting drinking by yourself can be a challenging process. Chances are you've tried it before, and it didn't work for you.
Some 12-step programs, like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), are very effective, but depending on what kind of drinker you are, they may not be enough. For some, the process of going through alcohol detox is very uncomfortableand is better attempted with medical supervision to keep you comfortable and healthy.
In some cases an alcohol and drug rehab center can be your best bet for professional support and fast solutions. They'll help you quit drinking in a medically supervised environment, with trained counselors to help support you through the process. This can be a powerful way to get rid of your drinking problem once and for all.
If you do decide to address your drinking in this way, check around with several programs to see the variety of services they offer. Are their programs in-patient or out-patient? How long dothey last? Will you have to miss work? (It's okay if you do, this could be the best "vacation" you ever took!)
Also make sure that you've lined up some sort of support for yourself after the alcohol detox process. Changing your daily habits and schedule canbe crucial so you avoid social triggers that may tempt you to drink. Don't drive past that bar on the way home from work. Empty out the liquor cabinet. Don't hang out with your old drinking buddies.
Alcoholism is a serious disease, but with a serious approach, you can quit drinking!