Eight signs you might be addicted to alcohol & what to do about it

Alcoholism is a medical condition that is characterised by the inability of the person to control the consumption of alcohol despite knowing about the adverse social and health consequences.

While alcohol abuse, dependence or addiction are all conditions that form the colloquial term alcoholism, it’s in reality a kind of a brain disorder which can display mild,moderate or severe symptoms and can even lead to fatality in vulnerable individuals.

Effect on the body

Whether you are drinking too much at a specific time in your life or over a long period of time, the fact is that excessive alcohol consumption can have a serious toll on your health and affect your body. Here are the common impacts it can have:

Brain

Alcohol interferes with the way the brain works, resulting in mood and behavior changes that make it difficult to think clearly and move properly.

Heart

Excessive drinking can cause the heart muscles to stretch and droop, induce arrhythmias or irregular heart beats and high blood pressure.

Liver

Heavy drinkers are prone to liver problems such as inflammation including fatty liver, alcohol hepatitis, cirrhosis and fibrosis.

Pancreas

Long-term alcohol consumption causes the pancreas to create a toxic substance that can cause pain and inflammation and reduce the ability to make enzymes necessary for proper digestion.

Immune system 

Drinking too much can impact the immune system leading to the body becoming an easy target for disease. Chronic consumers are also more likely to contact diseases like tuberculosis and pneumonia than those who don’t drink a lot.

READ NEXT: 5 Grown-Up, Non-Alcoholic Drinks to Change Your Drinking Habits

Eight warning signs of alcohol addiction 

While the symptoms of alcoholism can differ between individuals, and also depend on the intensity of one’s drinking habits, here are eight common signs that can assist in pin-pointing alcoholism.

# 1 Drinking alcohol despite being aware of the adverse consequences 

Those who suffer from alcoholism cannot stop drinking alcohol even though they know about its harmful effects.They engage in denial and refuse to understand or just do not care about the impact of their actions.

# 2 Drinking fast

This is an important striking point of alcohol addiction as heavy drinkers tend to drink much faster than the rest and are often unable to keep up with those sipping slowly for a social context.

# 3 You shun contacts with friends who do not drink

People who are addicted to alcohol often will only structure their social life with fellow drinkers and move away or avoid friends who drink less or abstain from alcohol altogether.

# 4 You drink more than you have planned

If you have trouble controlling your drinking then you are displaying early warning signs of alcoholism.

# 5 Your tolerance level has increased

When the usual peg or two doesn’t work for you anymore and you need much more than before to even get tipsy ,it is a sign that your brain has adapted to alcohol.

# 6 You crave for a drink

There are times, especially when you are out of stock, that you want a drink so badly that you would go to any extent to have one. This urge could be triggered due to several reasons,but it displays a drinking problem that social drinkers do not face.

# 7 Denial

Alcohol addicts who do not wish to understand or ignore the severity of their addiction are always in a denial mode and come up with a series of excuses when confronted. They say they can stop anytime but refuse to convince themselves that it is bad.

# 8 Stashing alcohol

An addict may hide and stash bottles of alcohol in closets, bathrooms or drawers away from prying eyes in order to have easy access at any given time. If your family member discovers the hidden stash, then alcoholism is the real culprit.

Finally, keep in mind that alcoholism is not about how much you drink, it is also about how often you do it, and how it affects you and what happens when you try to refrain or cut back.

What to do next?

The good news is that no matter how severe the symptoms of alcoholism may be, evidence based treatments and medications are in place to help people addicted with alcohol.

That said, if you choose to go to rehab, finding the right alcoholism treatment method can be frustrating. It is therefore important to have a complete insight on the available resources like medical detox, inpatient and outpatient treatment and even online therapy to consider.

Inpatient and outpatient Rehab

Depending on availability and finance, inpatient methods are excellent options for an alcoholism treatment program.The length of treatment could last from a few days to over a year,based on the severity and the person’s needs.

Outpatient alcohol treatment offers a more flexible level of care as the recovery service takes place in a day center or clinic while the patient stays at home. This program is well suited for those who are highly motivated to attain sobriety.

Medical Detox

This is a part of initial alcoholism treatment that involves a detox program during which the body is made to get rid of all the alcohol and other related toxins under close medical supervision.The facility not only addresses the withdrawal symptoms but assists you in the healthiest possible way to the road to recovery.

Teletherapy

If having to travel to a traditional facility or scheduling an appointment is an issue, you can avail of online therapy facilities to start your alcohol abuse treatment while sitting at home.

An appointment through teletherapy will be flexible, convenient and at the same time protect your privacy. Your service provider will connect you to a licensed professional counselor who will conduct individual or group therapy sessions. While most therapy platforms specialise in treating addiction, some treat alcoholism specifically – Monument for example.

While in-person therapy may be of immense help to someone,the need of the hour is accessibility and convenience, which only online therapy can provide.

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