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Medically speaking, alcoholism is considered a disease that can not only be chronic and progressive, but an addictive illness as well. Alcoholism can be defined as compulsive and unrestrained consumption of alcoholic beverages that adversely affects the drinker’s life. As a disease, it’s known to be detrimental to the drinker’s health, personal relationships and social status. Excessive consumption or misuse of alcohol can severely impact a person’s health damaging nearly every organ in the human body. A person diagnosed with alcoholism is called an alcoholic.
If you have an alcohol problem or are an alcoholic, you may not have control over how much you may drink, how long you will drink, or the potential long term effects from your drinking.. People with alcohol problems often live in denial or are resentful about their alcoholism.
Risk factors associated with alcoholism:
- Battling with depression which could also lead to early suicide especially among teenagers and young adults
- Mood swings which could lead to volatile behavior in most cases
- Impulsive behavior
- Anti-social inclinations which could lead to an individual becoming a recluse
- Family history of alcoholism
- Isolation from society
Symptoms associated with alcoholism:
- Inability to limit the amount of alcohol consumed
- Strong need or compulsion to consume alcohol several times in a day
- Increased tolerance to alcohol
- Drinking alone or keeping it a secret from everyone
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms like nausea, sweating and shaking on account of not drinking alcohol
- Having black-outs after drinking making you forget important meetings or prior commitments made to family, friends or at work
- Developing a habit of consuming alcohol regularly and getting annoyed if this is interrupted or questioned. Non-availability of alcohol especially when it’s the usual time for you to drink Stashing alcohol in secret places at home, in your vehicle or at your workplace.
- Taking large swigs or gulping drinks with the intention to become drunk in order to feel good
- Having personal, financial and professional difficulties due to drinking, losing interest in activities or hobbies that would otherwise make you happy or give you pleasure
Here is what you can expect if you visit a doctor to treat alcoholism:
- You may be asked to fill up a questionnaire in order to understand your drinking habits
- Your doctor may want to speak with your family to ascertain if there is a history of alcoholism
Recognizing and accepting that you need professional help will help you get the best treatment possible. Here are some of the treatments for alcoholism:
- Hospitalization may be necessary in cases of excessive alcohol consumption Timely intervention from friends and family members for people who have developed a minor drinking problem
- Receive continuous after care by joining Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or other alcohol dependence programs and support groups.
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