Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism, is a disorder that can impact people from all walks of life. Experts have tried to pinpoint factors such as race, sex, genetics, or socioeconomic status that may predispose someone to alcoholism, but there’s no single cause. Genetic, behavioral, and psychological factors can all contribute to someone developing this disorder.
Alcoholism can cause changes to a person’s brain and neurochemistry, so a person with this disorder may not be able to control their actions. Some people drink all day, while others binge drink and stay sober for a few days until they repeat this cycle. A doctor will typically diagnose someone with an alcohol addiction if they depend on drinking and can’t stay sober for an extended amount of time.
Although alcohol dependence is the most severe stage of alcoholism, there are other less severe drinking problems, such as:
Binge drinking: Binge drinking means having five or more drinks in one session for men and four or more for women. This type of drinking is the most common drinking problem for people under age 21.
Alcohol abuse: Binge drinking becomes alcohol abuse when a person’s drinking habits begin to cause problems, but they’re unable to stop. The person will keep drinking despite continued interpersonal, social, or legal complications.
Alcohol dependence: Alcohol abuse becomes alcohol dependence when a person experiences cravings for alcohol and withdrawal symptoms. Ultimately, it leads to an increased tolerance to alcohol so that they have to drink more to become intoxicated.
Unfortunately, alcohol addiction can be challenging to detect. Unlike other addictive substances, alcohol is widely available and normalized in most cultures. Moreover, it’s usually front and center in social events and linked to celebrations.
Drinking is a part of life for most adults, and it can be hard to tell the difference between someone who likes to celebrate with a few drinks and someone feeding an addiction.
Symptoms of alcohol addiction include:
It’s crucial to pay attention to the early signs of addiction, as they tend to worsen over time. If identified and treated early, someone with an addiction may be able to avoid the significant consequences of this disorder.
Alcohol addiction can lead to heart failure and liver disease; sadly, both can be fatal. It can result in the following:
Treating alcohol addiction can be challenging, and success depends on a person’s willingness to become sober. The recovery process usually involves reaching out to support groups, participating in drug therapy, and incorporating nutritional changes. Some people turn to an in-patient recovery center that can provide them with the care and tools they need to manage their condition.