Alcoholism is often misunderstood. People are not sure how to define it, so they categorize it with binge drinking and social drinking. But for those who have loved ones who are struggling with alcoholism, the differences are clear.
Drinking is so deeply ingrained in our culture that it’s hard to imagine society without it. But people can drink without ever becoming an alcoholic. So it’s not the alcohol that’s the problem—it’s the inability to control drinking habits that is.
That said, we shouldn’t be judgmental of those who are suffering from the effects of alcoholism. There are those that really want to change for the better, except they physically can’t. On this article we will shed light into alcoholism, and what makes an alcoholic. Understanding their situation is the first step towards helping them gain sobriety. With our help and support, we can allow them to take back their control over their own lives.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is a disease. It is defined by the habitual intake of alcohol, whether or not the person recognizes the negative effects it has on them. An alcoholic will keep on drinking even if it destroys them. High functioning alcoholics are no different. They will cope with all of life’s challenges by drinking.
Some will attempt to drink their problems away, unaware of the bigger problem they are creating in the process. It interferes with their physical and mental health.
Alcoholism’s effects go beyond the person’s reach. Their family members, their friends, their co-workers, and all of their acquaintances will begin to feel the impact of their drinking habits. It’s just like any other addiction. It takes control of your life and interferes with all of your decisions.
It will affect a person’s career, their relationships, and their community. And all along the person will think they are only affecting themselves.
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What differentiates an alcoholic from a binge drinker is that they don’t know when to stop. They will drink alone, or in the middle of the day. They may even attempt to hide their drinking habits, or get angry when someone comments on it.
In high doses, alcohol can cause loss of consciousness, impaired judgment, loss of coordination, and even death. If a person abuses alcohol for a long time, they will become dependent. Their body will get used to the substance’s presence, and they will find it much harder to quit. In fact, quitting abruptly might be too dangerous, because alcohol dependence can cause fatal withdrawal.
How to Help an Alcoholic Loved One
Alcoholism is a disease that needs to be treated properly. It’s a tough thing to deal with, but all hope is not lost. For people with alcoholic loved ones, it is important to know the limitations of what they can do. They cannot force a person to get sober—the desire to change must come from within, and loved ones can only support that decision. You cannot blame yourself if the alcoholic doesn’t want to change.
But you also shouldn’t enable their behavior. It is better to let them deal with the consequences of their actions rather than allowing their bad behavior to continue.
An intervention among family members can help them realize that there is a problem. But if you need to take it a step further, finding a nearby alcohol rehab facility will go a long way.
Medical professionals will be able to detoxify them gradually by slowly lowering their intake and dealing with withdrawal symptoms. This works best when coupled with behavioral therapy and support group programs.
Look for an alcoholism treatment center near you and help your loved one get back to living a sober life.