Think you or someone you know is abusing alcohol?
Do you think you or a loved one may have an issue with alcohol? Then read on to find out all about alcohol abuse, including the signs, risks, and treatment.
Alcohol abuse is when you drink alcohol in an uncontrollable way. It’s accompanied by frequent usage and an interruption to your daily life because you get that out of control.
What Is Alcohol Abuse?
Alcohol abuse can sometimes be associated with binge drinking since it’s imbibing in a large number of alcoholic beverages within a relatively short span of time. It’s viewed as quite normal to indulge in binge drinking during university, but this is because most grow out of this habit. But you can quickly develop alcohol problems, even while you’re young and still in education.
Is It the Same as Alcoholism?
People may use these 2 terms interchangeably, but there’s a small nuance to each term.
With alcohol abuse, people may drink occasionally, but when they do, it gets out of control. Their body doesn’t necessarily have a dependence on alcohol.
On the other hand, alcoholism is where you’re so dependent on alcohol that you need it just to get through your day. Alcoholism can result from alcohol abuse, especially if the usage is frequent.
Alcohol: Symptoms of Abuse
So how can you tell the difference between someone who likes to party once in a while and someone who’s abusing alcohol?
Well for one, you might think having a drink or two to relax is normal. On some occasions, it is, but if it’s happening regularly, then that’s a sign of alcohol abuse.
People who abuse alcohol will also have problems in their daily lives, as the usage will interfere with their ability to perform basic responsibilities. For example, alcohol abuse might cause someone to show up late to work or not at all, as well as get in trouble with the law.
Interpersonal relationships may also deteriorate, whether it’s with family, friends, or coworkers. The person may also try to drive while under the influence in an attempt to keep their life going as normal as possible.
Alcohol’s Effects on Health
Needless to say, alcohol abuse can have a detrimental effect on your health. And not just physically either; there are some effects on your mental health as well.
Take a look below to see the toll alcohol takes on your body and mind.
Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) has varying degrees, which means you can have a mild case of it while someone else has a severe one.
AUD is a chronic condition that’s marked by risky drinking. This means anything from an uncontrollable urge to drink alcohol to involving yourself in risky situations while drinking, such as driving while under the influence. Depending on your level of usage, you might experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking.
This condition can lead to injury or death as a result of risky behaviours. It can also damage your liver, gastrointestinal (GI) tract, heart, and other organs.
Signs of Being Under the Influence of Alcohol
If you’ve had alcohol before, then you’ll know that it can have quite some effect on your body.
Someone who’s drunk may have bloodshot eyes and the smell of alcohol under their breath. If they’ve drunk too much, they might throw up and pass out. If it’s really serious, it’s possible for them to slip into a coma and even die.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
- For women, if they drink while pregnant, their baby has a chance of developing fetal alcohol syndrome(FAS). It’s unknown how many drinks, and the period of time it’d take for a fetus to develop this syndrome, which is why it’s highly advised you don’t drink at all while pregnant.
Children with FAS are likely to be at a disadvantage in life. They deal with things like speech and language delays, and poor attention, memory, and coordination. They may also be hyperactive, have a smaller stature, and have health problems with their bones, kidneys, and/or heart.
Alcohol and Cancer Risk
Continual abuse of alcohol will certainly drive your risk of cancel up dramatically high. This is because you’re constantly asking your body to filter out toxins, which is what alcohol essentially is.
When your body needs to repair itself all the time, it’s bound to start failing at some point. As a result, you increase your risk for cancers such as:
- Mouth and throat
Do note that these risks go up no matter if you drink wine, beer, or liquor.
Alcohol and Mental Health
Alcohol dependence can rewire how your brain works. It can both cause and exacerbate preexisting conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
While you may feel relief and relaxation in the short term, the opposite is true for the long term. Your mental health will only deteriorate.
How to Get Help With Alcohol Abuse
When it comes to chronic heavy drinking, understand the signs of alcohol abuse, the short and long-term effects on health, and how to get the support you need.
In 2017, 57% of adults in the UK said they drank alcohol in the past week. Alcohol is a major part of British life, and we certainly do appreciate a good ale or beer.
But for some, there’s a fine line between substance abuse and casual drinking. And sometimes, people don’t realise they’ve crossed that line.
As a result, alcohol may have a detrimental effect on not only their lives but also their health. This is why it’s important to recognise alcohol abuse early on and to mitigate the damage.
If you’re now convinced that either you or a loved one is showing signs of alcohol abuse, there’s still hope. If you get sober early enough, you can reverse the damage that’s done and regain control of your life.
The best way to do so is to seek professional help, such as through a rehab facility. They have years of experience helping people like you and have the best staff on board to ensure you stop abusing alcohol.
Here are all the steps you’d go through with a detox and rehab centre.
Detox For Alcohol Abuse
As we’ve said above, if you drink a high quantity of alcohol and do it frequently, your body might develop a dependence. This, in turn, can change the wiring of your brain.
For some, the dependence on alcohol can be so bad that they experience severe withdrawal symptoms, such as tremors or even seizures. For this reason, it’s best to detox under the guidance of a professional facility.
Here, you’ll be closely monitored by medical staff who can ensure detox goes as smoothly and comfortably as possible. In some cases, they can even prescribe medications that reduce your withdrawal symptoms, so it’s safer and not as unpleasant.
Once you’re done detoxing, you then move onto rehabilitation. You can always detox, but that won’t matter much if you don’t learn what your triggers for drinking are and find healthy ways to deal with them.
You can go to either inpatient or outpatient treatment. With the former, you stay at the centre the entire time while with the latter, you only go in as needed. As you can imagine, there are pros and cons to either one.
Whichever one you choose, you’ll go to counselling where you talk over the events in your life. The professional will help you find out what fuels your desire to drink alcohol and teach you coping methods through things like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). You’ll also attend group therapy and participate in alternative therapies, such as yoga and meditation.
Aftercare basically gives you everything rehab did, except you’re done with it. The transition from rehab to normal life can be very challenging for some, so aftercare ensures you stay on track.
In aftercare, you’ll still get counselling, group therapy, and alternative therapies.
Stop Alcohol Abuse Today
As you can see, it can be a slippery slope between alcohol abuse and alcoholism. No matter which phase you or your loved one is in, it’s always a good idea to take a step back and reassess your life.
If you feel like you have alcohol issues, then don’t hesitate to reach out and get help. With the right people by your side, you can shake your alcohol dependence and learn to lead a happier and healthier lifestyle. As a result, you’ll feel less of a need to drink and will have more wholesome outlets.
Would you like assistance with alcohol issues? Then contact us today. Our staff can provide you with free information and advice.