Alcoholism is a mental disease that is characterized by alcohol dependency. It leaves a destructive pattern of a strong compulsive need to satisfy drinking cravings, loss of control to stop drinking, dependency on alcohol, and intolerance leading to ingesting higher amounts of alcohol before any feeling of high. Alcoholism is sometimes perceived as a weakness of character, but experts consider it otherwise. It ranks 3rd as the most common mental disorder, affecting over 140 million worldwide.
Alcoholism is not about how long one has been submerged in alcohol drinking, how much alcohol they have consumed, or what form of alcohol they take. Rather, it is about the person's inability to control the need to consume alcohol. There is no gender preference for an alcoholic. Men or women and young or old can succumb to uncontrollable drinking. In fact, records show that teens as early as 11 years old have gone through alcohol abuse.
Like any other substance abuse, Alcoholism brings about numerous health-risk factors. And alcoholic can develop anxiety disorders, mood swings, depression, and behavioral changes like being violent. They can also show tendencies of isolation, antisocial behavior, irritability, and low self-esteem. Among others, alcoholism can also lead to poor performance, memory lapses, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, hostility, liver disease, and in some cases, insanity and death.
How Does One Become Alcoholic?
Why, then, can many can drink until the last drop and wake up the next morning without a hint of addiction. There are numerous factors that can lead to alcohol abuse. Part of it is our genes. If one of your family members, your parents or grandparents, have been addicted to alcohol, you are more likely to become vulnerable yourself.
Other factors lie on the physiological and emotional makeup of an individual. People who suffer from low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and those searching for something to help them cope with their stress, trauma, or problems are at risk of alcohol abuse. Over time, constant drinking of alcohol can change the neurochemistry of brain. It makes the body crave alcohol to bring back pleasurable feelings that can help them avoid negative thoughts and emotions.
Gender is another factor. Men are more than likely to develop alcoholism than women. Around 4 out of 10 men drink alcohol more than the required consumption amount. This has to do something with their biology. Men weigh more than an average woman, so they have more tissues to absorb alcohol. Men also have a lower ratio of fat to water making them dilute alcohol more within their body. Lastly, men are not emotionally inclined. They would rather resort to drinking or keeping their problems to themselves.
One thing that not everyone is aware of is that our society also plays a big role in alcoholism, especially the influences of the media. We see it every day. Men having this "stud" image every time they party with their friends having their favorite drinks, or how many girls they can woo while sitting at the corner of the bar, and how women look hot when they get drunk and party in the middle of the dance floor.
Things like this can influence even the youngest of our generation. Studies show that 2 out of 10 children age 10 to 15 are now involved in frequent alcohol drinking, which later leads to future risk of alcohol abuse. Added to that is peer pressure that encourages teens to be one of the crowd, to be hot and "macho," just like what they see on television.
What Help Can You Give An Alcoholic?
Sometimes when alcohol abuse reaches a level of crisis, the only choice left is to seek a professional alcohol intervention. Intervention is considered to be one of the most effective processes of confronting an alcoholic of the dangers and effect of their alcoholism to themselves and to the people around him. It is carefully planned by professional counsellors, which involves the help of the alcoholic's family members, friends, and even his colleagues to convince them to undergo a series of intervention programs.
The program includes confrontation talks in regard to their denials, support talks, and social interactive activities; all are done in controlled environment. Intervention also includes detoxification processes, lifestyle and diet change, building a series of activities that they can be interested in, practicing how to say "no" to alcohol, and many more.
Intervention works in such a way that the alcoholic feels secure, safe, understood, and not ambushed. It is important that they feel accepted and important and are not blamed for whatever mishaps that have come their way because of alcoholism. If they feel otherwise, the program will not be successful. They will instead feel angered, refusing and denying any help given. Intervention is not intended to manipulate, but is used for self-awareness and self-motivating purposes to accept change and stick to the help plan provided to them.