Alcohol use among both men and women has risen in the past few years. A study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism shows that at least 86% of American adults consumed alcohol at least once in their lifetime.
People typically consume alcohol for relaxation and socializing. But for some people, it becomes a habit they are unable to break. It starts affecting them both physically and mentally. This is the result of alcoholism.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is a condition in which a person is unable to control their drinking habits, making it difficult to carry out normal activities without consuming alcohol. This can affect a person’s personal and professional life, and in due course, can cause damage to the body, as well.
If you think any of your loved ones are suffering from Alcoholism you should watch out for the following symptoms:
- Strong urge or craving to drink alcohol
- Inability to control the amount of alcohol consumed while drinking
- Physiological symptoms like nausea, sweating and shaking when not drinking
- Strong urge to drink more alcohol over time
Alcoholism and Family History
Alcoholism and family history have a close bond. If you have a close relative that is addicted to alcohol, you are at a high risk of developing alcoholism. Other factors that can increase the likelihood of alcoholism are one’s upbringing, stress level, and access to alcohol.
How Can Alcoholism Affect Your Family?
A family member suffering from alcoholism can strain their relationship with others, most especially their loved ones. Alcoholism can destroy marital, parental, and sibling relationships alike.
Alcoholism can have any or all of the following effects on your family
Alcohol affects people mentally, physically, and emotionally. Victims of alcoholism often struggle with feelings of depression, finding themselves unmotivated to go out and interact with the world around them. This, along with the detrimental effects of alcohol on bodily coordination and physical health, makes it difficult to fulfill obligations at home, work, or even in public.
An alcoholic person will feel less motivated to do things that keep them fit, like eating healthy food and exercising regularly. In addition to this, they may develop health issues like heart disease, liver cirrhosis, erectile dysfunction, gastritis, and neurological problems. All of this will affect their personal and family life.
If an expectant mother is an alcoholic, then it can affect the overall health of the baby. Babies born to an alcoholic mother will have low birth weight, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems.
While under the influence of alcohol, people have less control over their actions and decisions. Given enough time under the influence, an alcoholic may end up fighting with someone, or drive while intoxicated. All this can get them into legal trouble.
Over time, excess alcohol consumption can build up the user’s tolerance, and increase the urge to overindulge. An alcoholic is more likely to spend a significant amount of money on their drinking habit. In addition to this, they may perform poorly in their career, which can result in the loss of their job. All this can put undue strain on family members.
How Can Alcoholism Be Treated?
The success of treatment for alcoholism depends on personal commitment, familial support, and available funds. Most addiction treatment centers in Kentucky prescribe the following treatments.
Detoxification is typically the first stage of treatment, and aims to reduce the physical need for alcohol. For this, the patient will have to stay in a hospital or therapy center. During the detoxification process, alcohol consumption is completely stopped. Various medications are provided to help the patient overcome the side-effects of alcohol withdrawal like confusion or hallucination.
Once a person successfully undergoes detoxification treatment, and goes back to their everyday life, there is a greater tendency to relapse. To overcome this, a doctor will typically refer them to a substance abuse counselor, who can teach them different coping skills and strategies.
Counseling and group support plays a crucial role in treating alcohol addiction. A support group helps people connect with others that have the same problem, and to discuss the problem with them. Counselors can answer your questions, and encourage you to develop healthy habits.
There are several types of medicines that can be used to treat alcoholism. Disulfiram, for example, is a drug that makes the user sick after consuming alcohol. Another medicine, Naltrexone, inhibits the euphoric feeling of invincibility normally felt when consuming alcohol.
If you are suffering from health complications like heart disease, neurological problems, or liver disorder, you should get these treated, and look into addiction treatment, as well.