Problems with Alcohol
Problems with alcohol can start off slowly, invisibly. The first phase might be social drinking at events that gradually grows into some kind of drink every day. Then that one drink every day escalates into two drinks every day and maybe they start drinking earlier and earlier in the day. Social events on the weekends result in drunkenness that may progress to blackouts.
Or maybe it’s the young person who drinks a little around their home town but when they get to college and a fraternity, they find out that everyone drinks to excess at every party and usually a beer or two every night that there’s not a party. So they join in because it sure looks like the popular kids that are getting drunk are having a ton of fun.
Or it could be the woman who keeps vodka hidden in her cupboard, choosing that kind of alcohol because her family won’t smell it on her breath. She just needs it to deal with her stress, her anger, to take the edge off so she can relax.
Everyone who winds up with an alcohol problem has his or her own unique pattern. But they have one thing in common. They have lost the ability to control their drinking. What is in control is the craving for alcohol.
Physical Problems the Drinker May Not Be Aware Of
When alcohol consumption is heavy and continuous, that steady diet of ethanol is doing damage to the person’s body and health. The first thing that happens is that the drinker begins to build up a tolerance as the body’s chemistry adjusts to the constant presence of alcohol. This means a person may start to drink more to get the same buzz. All the while, the person’s liver is being burdened with the job of breaking down more and more of a poisonous substance.
As alcohol consumption continues, the liver can become inflamed, causing an alcohol-related hepatitis. When the liver stays inflamed for years, it can form scarring that is referred to as cirrhosis. A cirrhotic liver cannot effectively do its job and the drinker can start to get quite ill. They may become jaundiced (have yellow skin and eyes) and fatigued. They may be nauseated, lose weight and develop swollen, fluid-filled legs or abdomen. They may vomit blood or dried blood that looks like coffee grounds, or have the same material in their bowel movements.
They can start to suffer mental problems, such as agitation, hallucinations, memory loss, problems focusing and making decisions.
Long-term drinking problems can cause nerve damage resulting in muscle weakness and cramps, numbness, spasms, diarrhea and muscle atrophy.
When a person suffers serious consequences from drinking but they continue to drink, they are abusing alcohol. When they also have a dependence and a tolerance to alcohol and suffer from withdrawal if they quit drinking, they are addicted. They are alcoholics.
Alcoholism Affects Far More People Than Just the Alcoholic
In the United States each year, nineteen million children are exposed to someone’s alcohol abuse or alcoholism. Alcoholism results in car accidents, assaults and injuries both to the alcoholic and others in the environment.
An Australian study showed that hundreds of people die each year and thousands are hospitalized due to someone else’s drinking.
Here are the figures of deaths, injuries and other types of harm related to someone else’s drinking:
Child protection cases coming about due to a caregivers' drinking: 19,443
Domestic assaults: 24,581
That’s a lot of crime, pain and suffering from a completely avoidable source.
The Solution to the Harm that Alcohol Abuse Does
The solution is simple: stop drinking. But some people can’t. They have lost control of their urge to drink, or you could say that the urge controls them. This is when a person needs alcohol rehab.
When people come to a Narconon drug and alcohol recovery center, they find a residential program where they are going to be able to progress at their own rate, all the way to full recovery.
They will first go through a withdrawal phase (preceded by a medical detox when needed) during which they will receive around-the-clock nutritional support and one-on-one care for physical symptoms, mental anguish or anxiety. Gentle reorientation exercises help every recovering alcohol realize that this is a new phase in life and assist them in making the transition to recovery.
Every person that became an alcoholic had some issues in life that directed him or her toward that activity as a solution. In order to achieve an alcohol-free life and maintain it, each person is going to have to develop the life skills to deal successfully with those issues. The goal is a productive, enjoyable life, not a constant struggle to deal with the cravings and depression.
The Narconon alcohol recovery program guides alcohol addicts through this rebuilding, helping them develop decision-making skills, the ability to choose positive people to be around, and the knowledge of how to repair and preserve their relationships.
If you know someone who needs help with an alcohol problem, give us a call today.