Fighting Alcohol Addiction

Alcoholism is responsible for some two million deaths a year. Countless people all over the world lose their families, lives, health, and happiness to alcohol addiction each and every day. If you or someone you love is struggling from a problem with alcohol, you know exactly how much damage an addiction to alcohol can cause.

Alcohol addiction is something that can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, or social standing. While many people can enjoy drinking on occasion, there are countless others who have a problem controlling how much they drink.

These are the people who tend to experience negative consequences because of their drinking. Anyone who drinks on a regular basis, suffers problems because of it, yet still continues to drink is considered to have a problem with alcohol. Because alcohol use is widely accepted however, it is often hard to distinguish between casual social use and abuse. It is when abuse becomes frequent that a person runs the risk of developing an alcohol addiction.

What Are the Stages of Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism, is a progressive disease that takes time. A person doesn’t become an alcoholic overnight, and most people can handle moderately drinking without it becoming a problem. For those with a tendency towards addiction however, casual drinking can quickly turn into a much more serious problem.

Professionals usually describe the progression of alcohol addiction to happen in three different stages. These are early, middle, and late-stage alcoholism. Habit can cross over to addiction very quickly and often happens without a person realising what’s transpired.

Early Alcoholism

Early alcoholism can last for quite some time. In these primary moments of alcohol addiction, a person is building up their tolerance to alcohol. In early alcoholism, a person will need to drink more and more to get the desired effect. Excessive social drinking or drinking to relieve stress or anxiety are signs or early alcoholism. While this stage is difficult to pinpoint, if you notice that you or someone you love is drinking more on a regular basis, this could mark the beginning stages of alcoholism.

Middle Alcoholism

When drinking becomes a part of a person’s regular routine, it is likely the stages of middle alcoholism have begun. It’s in this stage that the negative physical, emotional, and social effects of alcohol begin to become experienced. Physical withdrawal when not drinking may be more apparent. Signs of withdrawal from alcohol include:

People in the middle stages of alcoholism will also experience frequent blackouts. It’s often obvious to others that an individual has a drinking problem at this point. Problems in relationships and at school or work may begin as well. Many people at this point will also begin to hide or lie about their drinking.

Late Alcoholism

Anyone who has been involved in the late stages of alcoholism knows how devastating this disease can truly be. This is when an addict begins to lose complete control over their life. The social, physical, and mental implications begin to take a serious toll on a person’s life.

Relationships are often destroyed past the point of repair. While many alcoholics will continue to hold down their job at this point, it doesn’t often stay this way. Because they are addicted to the drink, their main focus will become tied to when they can drink again. By this point, it’s often impossible for a person to function normally without alcohol in their system.

Drinking may begin early in the day, and it is usually impossible to go to sleep without drinking at this point. Blackouts most often occur regularly, and a person’s physical health will begin to suffer. Liver and kidney damage is common amongst late stage alcoholics and in the most severe cases, brain damage and heart failure can occur.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

Recognising the signs of alcohol abuse isn’t always easy. Not only is drinking socially acceptable, but it’s actually often encouraged as a way to relax and have a good time. The ability to recognise when social drinking has crossed the line however, is extremely important.

image showing a man relaxing during his treatment for Alcohol Addiction
Why choose eata.org.uk?

If someone you care about is exhibiting signs of addiction – whether it’s excessive marijuana use, long-term dependency on pharmaceuticals, binge drinking of alcohol or even financially damaging levels of gambling – contact us for immediate rehabilitation help.

Alcohol Abuse

Before a person slips into a full-blown addiction with alcohol, they will begin to abuse the substance on a more consistent basis. Some of the signs of alcohol abuse include:

  • Frequent blackouts
  • Engaging in dangerous behaviour while drinking
  • Problems in personal relationships
  • Issues at work or school
  • Drinking while driving on a regular basis
  • Consistently being hungover

Alcohol Addiction

The abuse of alcohol can quickly slip into addiction before a person has even realised it’s happened. Some of the symptoms of alcohol addiction include:

  • Trying to quit drinking but finding it too difficult
  • Drinking to relieve a hangover
  • The need to drink increased amounts of alcohol to get drunk or buzzed
  • Lying about or hiding drinking
  • Loss of interest in activities a person once enjoyed
  • Making sure there is always alcohol available
  • Loss of control with how much a person is drinking
  • Relying on alcohol to help relieve anxiety
  • Using alcohol in order to feel more comfortable in social situations

How to Recognise a Drinking Problem?

If you believe you or someone you love has a problem with excessive drinking, it’s vital that it doesn’t go overlooked. Excessive alcohol consumption can ruin a person’s life. If any of the above-mentioned symptoms seems familiar, it’s important to recognise that there is likely a problem with alcohol. If the symptoms of alcohol abuse are disregarded, it’s very likely that a person will experience irreparable issues in the future.

When a person truly loses control of their drinking problem, they truly begin to lose what is most important in their life. This is a sad reality many people face, with countless individuals worldwide disregarding the signs of addiction until it’s too late. Alcohol addiction doesn’t have to continue to ruin a person’s reality, however.

While the first step is recognising a drinking problem, the next step can be even more difficult. Admitting there is a problem Denial is common amongst most alcoholics, however acknowledging there is indeed an issue is the first step in repairing the damage that has been done.

Better Understanding Alcohol Addiction

image showing young people enjoying their sober life after rehab after Alcohol Addiction

Watching someone you care about suffer from alcoholism isn’t only heart breaking, but can be extremely frustrating as well. Trying to better understand alcohol addiction can help you through this difficult time. Whether you’re watching someone you love deal with a problem with alcohol (or you’re the one struggling behind the bottle) understanding the alcoholic mind will help you better understand why an individual acts the way they do.

Changes in the Brain

A problem with alcohol completely hijacks a person’s brain. Excessive drinking over an extended period of time will change the way their brain functions, making them think and act in a way that doesn’t make sense. What an alcoholic believes and feels is based in a distorted version of reality, and many can’t see the harm their drinking is doing to themselves or others.

An addiction to alcohol is something that will eventually strip a person of everything they are. An alcoholic may seem to go through a variety of different personality changes on a regular basis. Because many drink all day to maintain a sense of “normalcy”, they’re often not drunk, but not sober either. This is when they might seem almost normal. It’s when they come down or drink to excess and become drunk that their personality begins to change.

Alcohol Withdrawal

People experiencing withdrawal from alcohol can become extremely irritable, angry, annoyed, withdrawn, anxious, and depressed. On the other end of the spectrum, when they are visibly intoxicated they may become angry or mean, extremely affectionate, or sloppy and belligerent. Alcohol addiction affects everyone differently, but there are always marked changes in an individual’s personality when they are drinking.

Changes in Personality

The alcoholic mind will go through many different feelings and emotions. Someone suffering from an alcohol addiction might be withdrawn and anti-social when they aren’t drinking, yet very flamboyant, loud, and social when they do drink. Some people may be overly friendly, social, and fun when drinking while others can become angry and fight with others.

The way a person acts when drinking is triggered by a variety of different inner and outer influences. An alcoholic will often feel guilty when they realise how their behaviour is affecting themselves and others, yet drink to cover up this guilt. An addiction to alcohol can be a ceaseless cycle that feels impossible to get out of.

The changes a person experiences due to an addiction to alcohol can be overcome. And although an addiction to alcohol can make a person unrecognisable to friends and family, going to alcohol rehab can turn this around and give someone their life back. If you or someone you love is struggling with an alcohol addiction, getting treatment is truly one of the best things you can do.

What Problems Can Alcohol Addiction Cause?

When a person suffers from an addiction to alcohol, they will eventually face problems in nearly all areas of their life. Alcohol addiction doesn’t just affect the alcoholic. Family members, friends, and the community at large are all influenced by a person’s addiction to alcohol.

Alcohol abuse damages a person’s mental and physical capabilities, which will eventually lead to the individual neglecting their responsibilities. Whether this is at work, school, or home, the consequences of this neglect can impact the wellbeing of not just the alcoholic, but the people in their life as well.

The short-terms side effects of drinking excessively can interfere with a person’s ability to function normally. Having a hangover is common for people who drink a lot. While a hangover is something that passes, it can seriously impede a person’s ability to deal with their life. Being constantly hungover can lead to unhealthy choices, such as poor dietary choices and little exercise. Hangovers will also often cause a person to skip out on prior engagements, plans, or appointments.

Alcohol addiction can also lead to legal problems. Because alcohol can incite unruly behaviour, getting in trouble with authorities can become a problem with alcohol addiction. From being cited for driving under the influence to engaging in disorderly conduct, regular excessive drinking can lead to legal issues that can end up costing a person not only a lot of money, but also a lot of their time.

What Is a Functioning Alcoholic?

While the typical assumption is often that an alcoholic is a stumbling, belligerent fool who can’t keep their life together, this isn’t always the case. While there are countless alcoholics that fit this stereotype, there is also the person addicted to alcohol who manages to uphold the responsibilities of their daily life. Some alcoholics seem to uphold their lives just fine. It’s these people that are known as “high-functioning alcoholics” or “functional alcoholics.”

Stereotypes of alcoholic are often shattered with a functioning alcoholic. This person might be responsible, have a family, hold down a good paying job, drive a nice car, and seem to have it all together. Because functioning alcoholics seem to be in control, it can be hard to tell if they have a drinking problem at all.

Many functional alcoholics are in denial about their drinking problem. They might think that since they have great friends and a healthy social life, pay all their bills, hold down a job, and take care of their family that they’re “not an alcoholic.” The problem with this thinking is that even if a person with a heavy drinking problem does take care of their responsibilities, it is only a matter of time before the way they abuse alcohol begins to catch up with them.

What Is Denial?

A person that denies having a problem with alcohol is often described as being in “denial.” And while some people can recognise and admit they have a problem with drinking, there are many people that can’t. While they might be aware that they drink more than the “average” person, they don’t see their drinking as a problem. A person in denial doesn’t see the negative consequences of their drinking or doesn’t realise the extent of the impact it has on others.

The more severe an alcohol addiction, the more likely it is that a person will be in denial. Typical things people in denial might say are: “I can quite whenever I want” or “There’s nothing wrong with a few drinks every day”. An individual in denial will also react negatively when someone brings up the issue of their excessive drinking. Seeing that there’s a serious problem is often impossible or someone in denial. They simply don’t see, or refuse to see, the pain and suffering their alcohol addiction is causing them and the people in their life. Denial of alcohol abuse is difficult because it decreases a person’s likelihood of getting help.

Who Is at Risk for Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction can affect anyone. Because alcohol is legal and widely available, it is very easy to abuse. Not only is it easily accessible, but drinking is also socially acceptable and often encouraged as a way to relax and have a good time. Anyone who uses alcohol on a regular basis is at risk for addiction. Alcohol addiction affects some 140 million people worldwide, and touches upon every demographic known.

What Causes Alcohol Addiction?

There isn’t one single thing that causes an addiction to alcohol. There are a number of different reasons a person might become an alcoholic. Some of these reasons include the following:

Changes in the Brain

When a person is suffering from alcohol addiction, the brain becomes so accustomed to alcohol that it needs it to properly function. Chronic alcohol use affects the way neurotransmitters (chemicals in the brain responsible for mood regulation and bodily function) function and send messages to the brain. When a person is addicted to alcohol, they need to drink for neurotransmitters to function normally and make a person feel “normal” themselves.

Genetics

There are also certain genetic factors that lead to an addiction to alcohol. Someone who comes from a line of alcoholic ancestors runs a higher risk for developing alcoholism themselves. Those with alcoholic parents will have a higher tendency toward addiction, but does not necessarily mean that a person will indeed become an addict.

Social Factors

Some of the social factors that might lead to the abuse and eventual addiction of alcohol include stress, insecurity, depression, and the use of alcohol as a coping mechanism for the problems a person experiences in life. Mental health issues can also contribute to a person’s alcohol addiction.

Trauma

Early or childhood trauma increases the likelihood a person will become abuse and become addicted to alcohol. Neglect, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse are all examples of trauma that can lead to alcohol addiction later in life.

Do You Need Help for Alcohol Addiction?

There comes a point when a person with an alcohol addiction must face the question of getting help for their problem. Anyone who has experienced problems because of their issues with drinking should consider looking into various options designed to help people overcome alcohol addiction.

An addiction to alcohol can quickly ruin a person’s life if it is not properly addressed. And as good as a person’s intention might be to quit drinking by themselves, going at overcoming an addiction to alcohol alone, can be next to impossible. Inpatient and outpatient rehab are the most common types of alcohol addiction options.

Some indications that a person needs help for a problem with alcohol include:

  • Problems at work including: always being late, frequently calling in sick because of being hungover, job suspension, or job loss
  • Problems at school including: falling grades, frequently skipping, being too hungover to go to class, or dropping out
  • Problems in relationships with friends and family
  • Failing to meet responsibilities or family obligations due to excessive drinking
  • Regularly driving under the influence
  • Experiencing legal problems because of a drinking problem
  • Having financial problems due to alcohol including: always being broke, not paying bills on time, borrowing money from family, spending all money on alcohol

How Long Does It Take to Get Over an Alcohol Addiction?

Generally speaking, the more advanced a person’s alcohol addiction, the longer it will take to overcome. Getting professional help can make the process easier, however professional help doesn’t guarantee a specific timeframe a person will need in order to overcome their addiction.

Most alcohol addiction rehab programmes last 28-90 days, and offer an individual the tools they need to overcome their addiction and avoid relapse. People with severe cases of alcohol addiction often need longer to recovery than individuals with milder conditions.

The willingness a person has towards receiving help will also determine how soon they overcome their addiction. Attitude goes a long when it comes to getting over an addiction to alcohol. Some people can overcome an alcohol addiction in a week, while others will struggle with their addiction for years. Making sure to be as actively involved in therapy and treatment throughout the recovery process is vital to a person’s success in sustaining sobriety.

Why choose eata.org.uk?

If someone you care about is exhibiting signs of addiction – whether it’s excessive marijuana use, long-term dependency on pharmaceuticals, binge drinking of alcohol or even financially damaging levels of gambling – contact us for immediate rehabilitation help.

We Can Help You Overcome Your Alcohol Addiction in the UK

We work with countless rehab centres all over the UK who provide some of the best options for those with an addiction to alcohol. If you or someone you love is facing a problem with alcohol, we understand how frightening your situation can be. Everyone on our staff has been touched by addiction in one way or another and are well-versed in answering any questions you might have. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help in the process of overcoming the unfortunate reality you face.

No one should have to face overcoming an alcohol addiction alone. Getting over addiction isn’t easy, but doesn’t have to feel impossible when there are people there to help. Going to rehab has proven to be the best thing to happen to many people who are open to receiving the help they need. Please call us today for a no obligation conversation on receiving the best possible care and advice for you or someone you love struggling with the devastating results of an addiction to alcohol.