What is alcohol addiction?

Alcoholism, often known as alcohol addiction, is a disorder that affects people of all ages and backgrounds. Experts have attempted to identify factors that may predispose someone to alcoholism, such as heredity, sex, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. However, there is no single cause. Psychological, genetic, and behavioral factors can all play a role in the disease's progression.

It's critical to remember that alcoholism is a sickness. It can disrupt the brain's chemistry and cause a person with an alcohol addiction to lose control of their behavior.

Alcoholism can manifest itself in a number of ways. The severity of the disease, as well as how often and how much alcohol someone consumes, differs from person to person. Some people binge drink and then stay clean for a while, while others drink heavily all day.

Someone has an alcohol addiction if they strongly rely on drinking and are unable to stay sober for a long period of time, regardless of how the addiction looks.

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What Is Alcohol?

Alcohol is a popular Psychoactive drug that is commonly consumed in social settings. Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, is the intoxicating ingredient in alcoholic beverages that produces the feeling of being drunk. The main types of alcoholic beverages include beer, wine, and liquor.

With an average ABV of 5%, beer has the lowest alcohol content by volume (ABV). The quantity of alcohol a body can metabolize in one hour for most beers is 12 ounces, or a standard drink. The average ABV of wine made from grapes is 12 percent. It has a higher alcohol content than beer but a lower alcohol content than liquor. A basic wine drink is a 5-ounce glass. Whiskey, rum, tequila, gin, and vodka are among the liquors that are regularly mixed with non-alcoholic beverages to make mixed cocktails. The average alcohol by volume (ABV) for liquor is 40%, and a regular drink is 1.5 ounces.

About 20% of alcohol consumed is absorbed through the stomach, while the remaining 80% is absorbed in the small intestine. Alcohol travels from the bloodstream to the rest of the body, disrupting the normal functioning of the body's systems. The bulk of alcohol taken is metabolized by the liver. Long-term alcohol consumption and excessive drinking can place a pressure on this organ, resulting in health problems. Alcohol interacts with neurotransmitters in the brain, causing changes in mood, alertness, and perception.

What are the symptoms of alcoholism?

Addiction to alcohol might be difficult to spot. Alcohol, unlike cocaine or heroin, is freely available and acceptable around the world. It's frequently in the center of social situations and is directly associated with joy and celebration.

For many people, drinking is a way of life. It can be difficult to distinguish between someone who enjoys a few drinks now and then and someone who has a serious issue when it is common in society.

Some symptoms of alcohol addiction are:

  • increased quantity or frequency of use
  • high tolerance for alcohol, or lack of “hangover” symptoms
  • drinking at inappropriate times, such as first thing in the morning, or in places like church or work
  • wanting to be where alcohol is present and avoiding situations where there is none
  • changes in friendships; someone with an alcohol addiction may choose friends who also drink heavily
  • avoiding contact with loved ones
  • hiding alcohol, or hiding while drinking
  • dependence on alcohol to function in everyday life
  • increased lethargy, depression, or other emotional issues
  • legal or professional problems such as an arrest or loss of a job

It's critical to search for early warning signs of addiction because it tends to get worse over time. Someone with an alcohol addiction may be able to prevent major consequences of the condition if they are recognized and treated early.

If you're concerned that someone you know is struggling with alcoholism, it's better to approach them with compassion. Don't put them down or make them feel bad. This may push them away and make them more resentful of your assistance.

What health complications are associated with alcoholism?

Alcohol addiction can result in heart disease and liver disease. Both can be fatal. Alcoholism can also cause:

  • ulcers
  • diabetes complications
  • sexual problems
  • birth defects
  • bone loss
  • vision problems
  • increased risk of cancer
  • suppressed immune function

When someone who is addicted to alcohol takes unsafe risks while drinking, they may endanger others. Drunk driving, for example, claims the lives of 28 people in the United States every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Drinking has also been linked to a higher rate of suicide and homicide.

These complications are reasons why it’s important to treat alcohol addiction early. Nearly all risks involved with alcohol addiction may be avoidable or treatable, with successful long-term recovery.

What are treatment options for alcoholism?

Treatment for alcoholism can be difficult and time-consuming. The individual with an alcohol addiction must want to get sober in order for therapy to function. You can't make people stop drinking unless they're ready. Success is determined by a person's drive to improve.

The rehabilitation from alcoholism is a lifelong commitment. There is no quick remedy, and it takes constant attention. As a result, many individuals believe that alcoholism can never be "cured."


A common initial treatment option for someone with an alcohol addiction is an outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation program. An inpatient program can last anywhere from 30 days to a year. It can help someone handle withdrawal symptoms and emotional challenges. Outpatient treatment provides daily support while allowing the person to live at home.

Alcoholics anonymous and other support groups

Many alcoholics seek help from 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Other support organizations, such as SMART Recovery and Sober Recovery, do not follow to the 12-step approach.

When getting sober, it's beneficial to get involved in at least one support system, regardless of the type. Sober communities can assist someone who is battling with alcoholism in coping with the problems of sobriety in everyday life. Sober communities can also provide opportunities to share common experiences and form new, healthy friendships. These groups also hold the person with an alcohol problem accountable and provide a safe haven in the event of a relapse.

Other options

Someone with an alcohol addiction may also benefit from other treatments including:

  • drug therapy
  • counseling
  • nutritional changes

To aid with some diseases, a doctor may prescribe medications. Antidepressants, for example, if a person with an alcohol addiction was self-medicating to address depression. Alternatively, a doctor could give medication to help with other emotions that are normal throughout rehabilitation.

Therapy can assist in teaching someone how to manage the stress of recovery as well as the skills required to avoid recurrence. A good diet can also assist to reverse the effects of alcohol on a person's health, such as weight growth or reduction.

Treatment for alcoholism might include a variety of approaches. It's critical that everyone joins a recovery program that will help them maintain their sobriety in the long run. For someone who is depressed, this could imply a focus on therapy, or inpatient care for someone who is experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms.

What are resources for treating alcoholism??

For more information about alcoholism or to help a loved one find options for help, it may be best to consult our clinic.
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