Alcoholism, or in simpler terms ‘alcohol dependency’, starts off as something casual. Are you out with your friends, wanting to relax after the end of exams, or just want to unwind after a tiring week at work? Some socially awkward people just want to loosen up in a gathering, so they drink a glass or two. Now, all of this seems so harmless, but this is how a nasty habit develops.
The intoxicants in any alcoholic drink affect the brain. It blocks the neurons from functioning and results in the symptoms of intoxication. These symptoms include poor memory, reckless or impulsive behavior, slurred speech and slower reflexes. Consuming more alcohol in a single sitting can also lead to excessive vomiting or even blackouts that can last for hours.
Although the hangover is something that makes people regret their drinking binge, the feelings that alcohol inhibits usually attract people to drink again. The frequency eventually increases as the body becomes more accustomed to the effects, and before you know it, that casual drink every once a week becomes once a day. This is exactly when your occasional drinking turns into alcoholism, a chronic disease.
Dependency on alcohol results in countless problems to your health, relationships and work life. The earliest alcoholism is dealt with, the higher the chances are of overcoming it. Many rehabilitation facilities and centers work tirelessly to help addicts achieve sobriety. One such network of rehabs is Serenity at Summit that offers detox and addiction treatments in the Northeast.
As mentioned above, alcohol abuse leads to many problems. The basic reason is how alcohol targets your mind and slowly, over time, changes your personality. In this article, we have listed down a few changes you’d notice in yourself as your dependency on drinking increases. If the entire list checks for you, you must seek professional help ASAP.
Making excuses round the clock
“I had a rough day at work.”
“What fun is a movie without a beer or two?”
You’re tired; you need a drink. You are at a dinner party; you need a drink. There is something to celebrate; you need a drink! Many people refuse to acknowledge their alcoholism as a problem by stating various excuses. They will always justify their drinking by giving a reason, even if it is not true. If you find yourself dwelling on excuses all the time, you have a serious problem at your hands.
Revolving your life around alcohol
Do all your social gatherings involve going to a bar or a party that has ample alcohol? Is your home always fully stocked? Do you get agitated when served late or when you cannot find a drink you need?
When someone is highly dependent on alcohol, their sole focus becomes their drink. They’re the happiest with a glass in hand and extremely irritable and restless without one. All their other responsibilities take a back seat, and alcohol pretty much becomes the center of their life.
The intoxicants in alcohol lower your inhibitions of your surroundings. Your reflexes are slowed down, and you become clumsy. Similarly, your behavior changes when drunk. You become less patient, irritable and reckless. You say or do certain things that you probably wouldn’t when sober. Two or three such incidents do not raise much concern, but when a person constantly seems out of character, it shows they have a severe alcohol addiction. Examples of reckless behavior can be showing up to work drunk, driving under the influence or getting involved in illegal activities.
Observing drastic mood changes
Alcohol disables your control over your emotions and feelings. You can feel elated one second, and the next can be crying inconsolably over something else. You lose patience quickly and are always arguing with people around you. Alcoholism mostly encourages impulsive behavior that results in physically hurting people around us. You are happiest when left alone with your drink, but you lose your cool completely when disturbed.
As alcohol becomes the main purpose of your life, everything else becomes secondary. Your behavior adds up to the problem, and you will see how your work life and personal life get adversely affected. Slacking at work because of your drinking binges can result in major financial problems. Similarly, your aggressive behavior can jeopardize your relations with your loved ones. In 2017, one in three children were sent to foster care because of an addicted parent. Similarly, 7.3% of divorces in 2020 happened because of one partner’s addiction.
Deteriorating Mental Health
Regular, heavy drinking affects your brain and modifies the chemicals needed for a happy, healthier mind. You might feel elated with a drink, but in the long run, feelings of despair and anxiety can gush over you. Alcoholics generally suffer from depression and low self-esteem as they observe their failing lives. Mostly still turn to drinking rather than fixing their lives because alcohol gives a false feeling of happiness and peace. Alcoholics are generally stuck in this vicious cycle and do not know how to come out of it. People with alcohol use disorder are nearly six times as likely to attempt suicide.
There indeed are different stages of alcoholism, and for some, they might still be in the earlier stages, which does not seem to be a problem. But the truth is, it slowly progresses to uncontrollable consumption. So you either are heading down that road or are already there but are in denial. It is never too late to seek help and flip your life around. With good treatment programs and facilities, the disease of alcoholism can be completely treated. So it is time to change before you hurt yourself or your loved ones.