The consumption of alcohol is a socially accepted past time. From happy hours to family gatherings, it is common for adults who are of age to toss back a few while enjoying the company of their friends, family or peers. However, there is a very dark side to the jovial nature of having a libation, and that is when the volume of alcohol being consumed steadily increases to unhealthy proportions. Here is an inside look at alcoholism, which is a type of sickness that many people are unaware they are affected by.
Alcoholism is a complete dependence on alcohol consumption. In other words, it is an addiction to alcohol. Much like any other drug addiction, a person afflicted by alcoholism will have an uncontrollable desire to constantly consume alcohol. Alcoholism tends to follow alcohol abuse, which is the unhealthy consumption of alcohol. Unhealthy consumption can refer to the sheer volume of alcoholic beverages consumed in one sitting, or the frequency in which alcohol is consumed on a weekly basis.
According to PubMed Health from the United States National Library of Medicine, those who suffer from alcohol abuse are more likely to develop alcoholism under these particular circumstances:
One alcoholic drink is generally defined by one of the following:
There is no specific cause for developing alcoholism. A person can develop this condition overtime, due to various factors in his or her life. Studies have suggested a correlation between alcoholism and genetics. However, an inherited dependency on alcohol can be also explained by constantly being around a parental figure who also suffered from alcoholism. In other words, it is difficult to determine whether alcoholism is, indeed, inherited or just caused by influential factors.
Risk factors for the development for alcoholism include:
Common signs of alcoholism include:
Common symptoms of alcoholism include:
Many of these symptoms fall under the category of alcohol withdrawal. Any person who is showing significant signs and symptoms of alcoholism needs to seek out professional assistance immediately.
While the primary treatment for alcoholism is to stop drinking completely, one may find that the addiction to alcohol is so strong, it is difficult to completely quit drinking without professional assistance. If the alcohol dependency is not too severe, a person can start slowly reducing the amount of alcohol that is consumed on a weekly basis to more moderate levels.
However, those who have been suffering from alcoholism for quite some time may go through quite an ordeal to quit their addiction. Treatment centers and facilities are available to assist with severe cases of alcoholism. Just going without a single drop of alcohol in an addict's system for 24 hours is enough to cause a severe case of alcohol withdrawal, also known as delirium tremens. This can result in:
It is for this reason that professional help is necessary to help someone suffering from alcoholism to slowly wean off of the alcohol. Once that person's health is stabilized, they may be released from a treatment facility into the care of friends or family members. However, the treatment does not stop there.
Support groups for alcohol recovery and addiction are crucial for preventing a relapse. These programs offer pier support via counselors, mentors and through a group of individuals who have also suffered due to their dependency on alcohol.
Those concerned about themselves or a loved one who is suffering from alcoholism should speak with a doctor or healthcare professional for further assistance.