What is Alcohol addiction?
Most people like to have a few drinks with their friends or with a meal but alcohol can become an addictive substance to some. It is something that can affect people from all walks of life and there is not a single sex, race or social situation that may affect this. It is more behavioural, genetic or psychological effects contribute to having the disease. Alcohol addiction is known as alcoholism and it is important to note that it is a real disease. It can cause changes in the brain, making a person with an alcohol addiction not being able to control their actions.
Alcohol addiction can appear in many different ways. How severe the disease is, how often someone drinks and the alcohol they consume is different for each person. Some people will drink very heavily all day, whereas others with binge drink. The key sign is that the person heavily relies on drinking and cannot stay sober for long periods of time.
What are the symptoms?
It can be hard to tell the difference between someone who likes a few drinks now and then, and someone with a real problem. Some symptoms include:
- Increasing the quantity or frequency of drinking
- A high tolerance of alcohol or lack of a hangover
- Drinking at inappropriate times
- Wanting to be where alcohol is present
- Changing to friends who drink heavily
- Avoiding contact with loved ones
- Hiding alcohol or hiding while drinking
- Being dependent on it to function
- Increased lethargy, depression or other emotions
- Being arrested or losing their jobs
It is important to spot the signs early as over time it gets worse. If it is court early, the person will be able to avoid major consequences of the disease.
Health complications associated with alcoholism
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Sexual problems
- Bone loss
- Vision problems
- Risk of cancer
- Suppresses immune system
What are the treatment options?
Treating alcohol addiction can be complex and challenging. In order for it to work the person must want to be sober. You can’t force someone if they are not ready.
Different forms of treatment:
- Alcoholics Anonymous
- Drug therapy
- Nutritional changes
- Different treatments will work for different people.
In the UK there are some organisations that can help:
Rehab 4 Addiction is a UK-based addiction and mental health helpline. Which helps people with issues of mental health and excessive drug and alcohol-use. https://www.rehab4addiction.co.uk
Alcohol Change – https://alcoholchange.org.uk/help-and-support/get-help-now
Alcoholics Anonymous – https://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk
Salvation Army: 020 7367 4500 www.salvationarmy.org.uk
– Who run homes for the treatment of alcoholics and drug addicts
Change Grow Live www.changegrowlive.org
They offer a range of services including Alcohol service which supports adults and young people to understand the risks their alcohol use pose to their health and wellbeing, and support them to reduce or stop their use safely.