Alcohol is undoubtedly the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States with approximately 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffering from physical symptoms of alcohol abuse or dependence. Along with that shocking statistic, there are several million more people who are taking part in frequent binge drinking that leads to serious health problems down the road. Without proper assessment or treatment, people fall short not knowing about the true causes of alcoholism and how to control the sweeping symptoms they face in the process.
Yet, not much has changed in the level of awareness on why alcohol is so addicting, damaging, and intoxicating once flowing through the body. Sure, we have a few celebrities or other media stars that have come out about getting over their alcoholism and preach about why it’s so harmful, but most people turn a blind eye. We all know a friend who prefers a tequila sunrise every Saturday over a plain orange juice, but sometimes we don’t speak up to voice our concerns on their dependency because it’s uncomfortable. No matter what your age, sex, or background is, you need to take an alcohol assessment if you feel that it’s taking too much control of your life.
How Does Addiction Even Start?
Alcoholism usually has little to do with what kind of alcohol the person drinks and more to do with combating the person’s uncontrollable need for alcohol to get through the best and worst of life events. Most alcoholics can’t just “use a little willpower” to cease their drinking. Think about the last time you told yourself you’d just have one more chip before putting away the bag. Most people can’t bear to allow themselves to only consume a tiny amount until they realize they’ve downed more than their stomach can hold. The same goes for drinking, as the sugary taste, blinding drunk spell, and temporary confidence is sometimes a feeling that people want to keep chasing for as long as possible.
Causes of alcoholism varies from person to person, but often when combined with low amounts of sleep, high amounts of stress, sometimes too much free time, the synergistic result can be scary. College students exemplify this effect as we are sometimes held as the classic stereotype for downing keg stands and strong shots to fit in on the regular.
Over time, what was once a fun night out becomes daily drinks to get through the hardest exam or most stressful conversation of your life. You feel relieved once the taste of alcohol hits your taste buds, as reality’s nagging moments fade away as quick as alcohol is being absorbed in your body. Physical symptoms of alcoholism aren’t too difficult to point out, as slurred speech, dizziness, feeling queasy, or even passing out are all obvious effects of taking too much in too little time. Repeating this process for several months to several years is even more damaging, as a person will experience increased risks of diseases that we rarely want to think about. Cancer, kidney or liver failure, decreased digestion and skin health, and potential stroke or heart attack are among the risks to name a few. I don’t know about you, but minimizing that from happening to my body is definitely on the top of my list so I can see better days. The consequences heavily outweigh the short term benefits that alcohol may bring.
Is Treatment Tough?
Treatment is only what you make of it. It can be the most cumbersome experience of your life if you’re not willing to put the time and effort in, or it can be a healing wave of learning about how your body can better function. It makes a lot of sense to feel like getting treated for physical symptoms of alcoholism is a waste of time and just plain tiring when you have other things to take care of. On the other hand, your body at the end of the day is all you have. Having ill health will indefinitely affect every other facet of your life if you don’t put taking care of it as a top priority.
Seeking social support is often what’s recommended to a person who is battling many physical symptoms of alcoholism. Seek what resources are available to an addict who has your background, whether it’s an online forum or even a close friend who knows what emotions and fears are racing through your mind right now. However, trust that the recovery process will work and it’s totally normal to be scared when change comes. We are all a little uncomfortable when we have to change how we go about our lives, but often when it’s a health one we feel on top of the world after growing accustomed to it.
Reaching out to a professional is also a surefire way to gain more information on the physical and mental recovery from addiction. Everyone’s path to sobering up will be different, as our lifestyles, triggers, and preferences to what we’re comfortable with extremely vary. Remember that you’re not alone and you always have room to improve your situation if it feels dark in the present.
As a student who formerly felt pulled to the taste of alcohol, I can say for a fact that turning to more productive and healthy hobbies like fitness changed my life for the better. I’ve made better friends, am getting a lot more done than before, and feel just brighter in general. Not that I don’t enjoy a drink here and there, because truly celebrating and enjoying life isn’t wrong. It’s the emotional cling to alcohol that must be addressed if you start to notice it’s affecting important parts of your life.
Contrary to what you may think, alcohol assessments are extremely quick and easy to do in your own time when you want to informally diagnose what’s going on in your body and life with alcohol in the mix. While not widely talked about, an addiction-specific professional’s input on why you’re addicted to alcohol can shove you in the healthy direction to improving your lifestyle. Alcohol assessments are completely free to do and can be done from just about anywhere. Next time you’re waiting in line or commuting, don’t be afraid to pull out their browser and spare a few minutes to take one. You might learn a thing or two and get that motivation to set your recovery on fire!