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Article Summary

About Alcoholism

Alcoholism is most often defined as having a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol; although a person does not to have a professional diagnosis or even have to drink every day, in order to struggle with this chronic condition. When drinking begins to interfere with a person's relationships, school or job performance, or their physical or mental health, the person may be falling into the clutches of alcoholism. Alcoholism is commonly characterized by the person having an intense compulsion to drink, and the inability to stop drinking, once they have has started. Another major red flag that is indicative of alcoholism is when a drinker begins to experience physical withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is not present in their system.

Alcoholism has little to do with what type of alcohol that a person drinks or how long that they have been drinking, or even about the amount of liquor that they consume; instead, it has to do with the uncontrollable need to drink. The factors that contribute to an individual developing an alcoholism problem may include being brought up in a household where drinking is commonplace; additionally, when a person struggles with self-esteem issues, they may begin drinking so that they can relax and forget about their insecurities. Many studies on alcoholism have reported that individuals who have struggled with some type of physical or sexual abuse in the childhood, have a much higher likelihood of becoming addicted to alcohol at sometime during the course of their adult lives.

In the U.S. alone, it has been estimated that there is well over 17 million people that are addicted to alcohol; additionally, much current research has indicated that well over 40% of them have at least one member of their family that struggles with alcoholism.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) that was published in 2011, alcoholism has been directly linked to well over 2.5 million deaths annually worldwide; this same report states that over 300,000 young people that are between the ages of 15-29, have been reported to die from alcohol related deaths every year worldwide. For this reason alone, it is important that individuals across the globe become acutely aware of the many signs and symptoms that are related to alcoholism.

Common Signs of Alcoholism

One of the most common signs of alcoholism is when a person drinks frequently or excessively on a continuous basis.

When a person cannot stop drinking, regardless of some of the serious medical and complex social problems that this behavior causes, this is a sign that they are suffering from alcoholism.

When a person develops a tolerance to alcohol, they will need to begin to drink more and more liquor to be able to get drunk; this is one of the telltale signs of alcoholism.

When a person experiences withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking, this is a distinctive hallmark of alcoholism.

A common sign of alcoholism is when an individual begins to experience interpersonal difficulties at work and at home.

When an individual begins to forget conversations that they had with others while drinking, they have probably experienced a "blackout," which is a common sign that they have an alcoholism problem.

When a person drives a vehicle after they have been drinking heavily, risking their own life and the lives of countless others, this is a sign that they may have developed an alcoholism problem.

Alcoholism Effects

The reason that is imperative to find and secure drug treatment at the first hint of alcoholism is because of the serious side effects that are commonly associated with this often life-threatening condition. The physical side effects of alcoholism include but are not limited to: high blood pressure, malnutrition, depressed immune system, and chronic insomnia The more serious side effects of alcoholism include, causing disturbances in hormonal functioning, raises blood glucose levels, impairs balance and memory; additionally, alcoholism has been reported to increase the risk of kidney failure, and to cause cirrhosis of the liver, which can cause death.

New cutting edge research has even linked alcoholism to an increased risk of certain types of cancers, including colon cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer, and esophageal cancer; this research suggest that individuals who drink heavily over a period of many years, are often at a much higher risk than alcoholics who seek professional drug treatment upon their initial diagnosis.

When a woman who has developed alcoholism becomes pregnant, the fetus is at risk for a number of negative side effects, including, but not limited to, fetal alcohol syndrome; this condition has been reported to be the number one cause of mental retardation in the United States. According to research, mothers who drink when they are pregnant are much more likely to have children with behavioral problems, than those women who abstained from drinking during their pregnancy.

Alcoholism can lead to chronic anxiety, and often puts relationships at home, and on the job at risk. Alcoholics will often feel extremely guilty about their drinking, and become very angry and defensive when they are confronted about it; as a result of this, alcoholics will often isolate themselves, which may lead to them experiencing depression.

Alcoholism Withdrawal

Some alcoholism withdrawal symptoms may include, but are not necessarily limited to: extreme irritability, fatigue, headache, vomiting, profuse sweating, and insomnia, loss of appetite, chills, trembling, and intense anxiety. Some of the more severe side effects of alcoholism are reported to be hallucinations and seizures; because these symptoms have the potential to be life-threatening, a person who is going through an alcohol detoxification process should only do so under the watchful eye of caring treatment professionals.

alcoholism Treatment

Because alcoholism has the potential to cause irreversible health problems and could be fatal when it is not addressed, a sense of urgency is needed at the first sign of this type of a serious substance abuse problem; locating a quality drug treatment center that has a history of a high rate of success in treating individuals that have struggled with alcoholism could be a life-saving measure to take.

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