What is Alcohol Dependence?
Alcohol use disorder is now used to describe alcohol dependence, commonly known as alcoholism and alcohol abuse. It is a medical condition characterized by heavy and frequent intake of alcohol, which causes serious physical, emotional, and psychological problems. The condition happens when a person drinks so much alcohol that their body finally develops an addiction. When this occurs, drinking gets priority over everything else in the person’s life. Alcohol dependence usually results in negative consequences, such as losing one’s job or damaging relationships with loved ones. People experiencing alcohol dependence problem may be aware of the harmful impact of alcoholism on their lives, but it’s not enough reason to convince them to stop drinking.
Alcohol dependence affects brain function and must be treated with medical and psychological methods. Alcohol consumption disorders can range in severity from mild to severe. It may take a while to develop, or it may happen rapidly. Alcohol use disorder is a pattern of drinking that includes issues with self-control and obsession with alcohol. Any alcohol usage that threatens your health or safety or results in other alcohol-related issues is considered unhealthy.
What Causes Alcohol Dependence?
The cause of alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence is still not very clear. The body’s reaction to alcohol and how it affects the person’s behavior can be influenced by genetic, psychological, social, and environmental variables. According to theories, alcohol intake might have a different and more powerful effect on some individuals, which can result in an alcohol use disorder. The condition occurs when a person consumes too much alcohol, in which the brain undergoes chemical changes that lead to alcohol consumption disorder.
According to science, drinking alcohol causes your brain to release the chemical dopamine, which is involved in the reward system. Your brain starts associating drinking with good feelings, making you want to drink more. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in processes including mood and sleep, is also affected by drinking. The pleasant feelings that a person experience after drinking alcohol is enhanced by these changes causing a frequent craving for alcohol.
Once the enjoyable effects of drinking fade, those who suffer from an alcohol use disorder will continue to drink to avoid withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms may potentially be harmful and unpleasant. As the habit of drinking continues, the alcohol use disorder emerges gradually over time. There is also evidence that alcohol dependence can be attributed to genetic factors.
Moreover, alcoholism may also have several psychological causes, and these causes might differ greatly from person to person. Many factors may trigger the risk of alcohol use disorder. When an individual has personal tendencies for making impulsive judgments and a persistent bout with poor self-esteem, they tend to have a high risk of alcohol dependency. Moreover, mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety, and prior trauma, which may have included physical and/or sexual abuse, may also lead a person to engage in alcohol dependence.
When a person starts resorting to alcohol as a coping mechanism for emotions, alcohol use disorder is most frequently the result. Alcohol may also kick in one alcohol used to become an escape mechanism by individuals who use it to forget about obligations or to feel more at ease in social situations.
Deciding to quit or cut back on alcohol might seem easier. However, overcoming alcohol addiction is more daunting for people who have been addicted for ages. Their minds cannot accept instant change, leaving many to remain addicted despite having several efforts and assistance. With proper consultations, consistency, and considerations, alcohol addicts can bring that change when they have finally decided to move towards a healthy way of life.
How to Diagnose Alcohol Dependence?
Alcohol dependency can be diagnosed by healthcare experts based on the factual analysis of how much alcohol a person consumes. It depends and varies from person to person according to their condition and underlying causes.
When you feel that your obsession is costing you peace and health, consult a doctor without wasting any time. Furthermore, if things continue to get out of control and nothing works to stop your addiction, then consulting a mental health expert is the last resort.
Your doctor might ask you several questions to know its root cause. They may also conduct several tests, evaluations, and studies to diagnose your condition. Always be open when you meet your doctor, since hiding some facts and experiences might prevent them from identifying the cause.
All the information related to your life history and past experiences remains confidential. Furthermore, a physical exam and psychological screening can fasten the diagnosis procedure.
Rehabilitation Services in Birmingham
There are numerous top-tier alcohol rehab centres in Birmingham that provide robust support to those grappling with alcohol dependence. Offering tailored treatment programmes, including detox and counselling, these centres focus on holistic recovery. Their aftercare services promote long-term sobriety, making Birmingham rehabs a vital resource for those seeking to overcome alcohol addiction. The dedicated professionals ensure individuals aren’t alone on their journey, providing support and guidance at every step.
What are the Signs of Alcohol Dependence?
The severity of alcohol use disorder depends on how many symptoms a person is experiencing in the past 12 months. If an individual manifest 3 or 4 any of the following characteristics, it could be a red flag that the person may need to talk to someone to help ease the problem before it gets worse.
- A person continues to drink alcohol despite knowing it can bring health risks and serious physical problems, such as liver problems, stomach ulcers, and stroke due to high blood pressure.
- A person is unable to control alcohol intake, which may lead to drinking more for a longer period.
- A person develops alcohol tolerance, which means feeling a strong craving or urge to more alcohol drink more alcohol.
- A person experiences physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms after brief abstinence from alcohol. It takes the same amount of alcohol to lessen or stop withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, you might need alcohol to halt tremors or to get over a hangover.
- A person experiencing alcohol dependence may experience some episodes of losing consciousness or failing to recall events.
- An alcohol addict may tend to give up essential social, professional, or recreational interests due to alcohol usage.
- Alcoholism may lead to failure to meet important duties at a job, school, or home, which may eventually result in issues with the law, jobs, studies, or even relationships.
- A person with alcoholism has trouble controlling his or her drinking habit.
- When a person has symptoms of alcohol abuse, he/ she tend to neglect personal hygiene and proper eating habit.
- A person with a poor drinking habit is most violent when drunk and irritable when not drinking.
Useful Tips to Overcome Alcohol Dependency
1. Consider Seeing a Healthcare Expert
If you find yourself helpless despite numerous efforts and energy invested in overcoming addiction, seeking medical aid and approaching healthcare teams is crucial. Alcohol detox in Chicago or anywhere nearby can be an effective way to manage withdrawal symptoms and provide a safe and supportive environment for those trying to overcome addiction. Take action to prioritize your health and well-being by seeking proper medical counseling and support to avoid the potentially fatal dangers of quitting alcohol.
2. Consistency is Key
Quitting alcohol might seem difficult and unachievable but if you remain consistent in your efforts and properly follow the treatment procedures and strategies, nothing can influence and hinder your efforts. Persevere and focus as much as you can. Remember that nothing is unachievable if you’re consistent.
3. Find New Interests
There is a whole world that exists outside your addiction. Occupy yourself with things and activities that can provide you with better change and can divert your mind from grabbing your alcohol bottle again. Some activities like going to the gym, playing video games, reading books, cooking meals, etc., can keep you engaged and give you a new direction. Replace your addiction with more productive and fruitful activities.
4. Identify the Underlying Cause
There are numerous reasons associated with alcohol addiction. Many people often consume alcohol as a way to deal with their stress and anxiety. In the article titled “10 Effective Ways to Cope with Alcohol Withdrawal”, the writer has stressed the causes of alcohol dependency and how difficult it is to fight the urge. We must investigate and find the causes behind this harmful habit. Finding the motive behind the addiction can give a more straightforward direction for addicts and healthcare experts to overcome those reasons.
5. Prepare Your Mind
The first necessary step to undertake to overcome alcohol dependency is to prepare an alcohol addict to leave their dependence. Alcohol addicts can persuade themselves or can even seek the support of their family members who can emphasize the importance of having an alcohol-free life. Once you have finally made the decision, sit down and find the strategies you might need to combat your weaknesses.
6. Reduce Your Doses
Decreasing the doses from an early stage can speed up the quitting process. Avoid the triggers that develop an urge to drink more. Reducing the portions gradually not only prepares your mind but makes a person adapted to the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting alcohol.
Treating Alcohol Dependency
There are several ways to treat alcohol dependency on avid addicts. The treatment, however, varies from person to person depending on how strong the addiction is. It usually revolves around physical medication and psychological counseling. Your doctor might ask you to visit the clinic, or you might need to stay in the hospital if the case becomes more serious. To ease the symptoms of withdrawal, the patient might undergo the process of detoxification. Some medications are effective against the disorder, namely, Disulfiram, Antabuse, Naltrexone, or Acamprosate. To complement and fasten the effects of medication, some mental health experts might offer you counseling and oral therapy.
Letting go of some habits is difficult. Quitting alcohol is a lengthy process that needs consistent effort, willingness, and determination of the person. Until now, Science has introduced many approaches, strategies, systems, and treatments to help alcohol addicts to overcome their dependence. However, to bring a major change in life, patience is necessary. This is a tough process and might take a person’s entire life. However, the results are more promising and worthwhile.