Addiction to Alcohol
Alcohol is as American as apple pie. But it’s far more deadly than this sweet treat. Every year, alcohol claims the lives of nearly 90,000 Americans, making it the leading cause of drug-related deaths, outpacing all other drug groups except for prescription drugs. As if that’s not bad enough, drunk-driving accidents kill more than 10,000 people each year , and alcoholism costs the economy nearly $225 billion annually. You don’t have to be a drinker, then, to be harmed by alcohol addiction. This means that, even if you think your alcoholism is harming only yourself, you’re contributing to a social issue that harms our economy, places innocent people in danger, and that very likely harms your family.
If you’re addicted to alcohol, we can help you get sober once and for all. Don’t let this life-threatening drug addiction rob you of one more moment of a potentially happy life.
Alcohol: A Dangerous Drug
Nearly a century ago, the Prohibition movement failed, leading many to believe that attempts to curtail alcohol use were a lost cause. It may be impossible to ban alcohol on a national scale, but this does not mean alcohol is safe. Alcohol’s legal status convinces many users that it’s not nearly as bad as other drugs. For some alcoholics, this insistence is a reason to forgo sobriety in favor of more drinking. But consider these social costs of drinking:
- Alcohol abuse is linked to unemployment, underemployment, and chronic career problems.
- Alcohol abusers are more likely to engage in domestic violence.
- Alcohol is implicated in 90% of rapes where the victim knows his or her attacker.
- An alcohol-related automobile accident kills someone every 22 minutes.
- Withdrawing from alcohol is notoriously difficult, with many alcoholics reporting withdrawal symptoms more intense and more dangerous than those associated with most other drugs.
Alcoholism is not a safe form of addiction, and can claim your life just as quickly as any other drug.
How Alcohol Affects Your Body
Unlike some other drugs, alcohol begins destroying your body with your first sip. There’s no such thing as consequence-free drinking, and the longer you remain an alcoholic, the more serious the effects will become. The good news is that many health consequences of alcoholism can be reversed, but only if you seek prompt treatment.
Short-Term Effects of Alcohol
The short-term effects of drinking vary depending on how much you consume, your health, age, weight, and alcohol tolerance. Some of the effects you can expect include:
- Slurred speech
- Dilated pupils
- Decreased judgment and coordination, even if you don’t feel drunk
- Dizziness and vomiting
- Blood sugar spikes, which can be particularly dangerous if you’re diabetic
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor impulse control that can cause you to harm others or make bad decisions
- Drunk driving
- Violent behavior
- Loss of consciousness
Long-Term Effects of Alcohol
Alcohol gets into your blood stream, crosses the blood-brain barrier, and affects every organ in the body. The longer you drink, the more likely you are to experience some of these effects:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular problems such as blood clots, poor circulation, heart attacks, and blood clots
- Weight gain
- Decreased immunity
- Liver problems such as cirrhosis and hepatitis
- Destroyed relationships
- Chronic pain
- Ruptured blood vessels in the eyes
- Yellow eyes
- Premature death
Seeking help now is your one-way ticket to sobriety, a better life, and prolonged good health.
Who is at Risk for Alcohol Addiction?
No one is protected from alcoholism, and anyone can become an alcoholic. Some people, though, are at a heightened risk due to environmental, genetic, and other risk factors. Some of the most significant risk factors for developing an addiction to alcohol include:
- A family history of alcoholism, especially if your parents were alcoholics when you were a child.
- A history of mental illness, especially depression or anxiety.
- A history of addiction to other drugs.
- Mixing alcohol with other drugs.
- A history of abuse or trauma.
- An unstable, abusive, or dysfunctional family life.
The longer and more you drink, the more likely you are to become an alcoholic. The CDC advises that heavy drinkers are at the greatest risk of developing an addiction. Heavy drinking for men is defined as more than two drinks per day or more than one drink per day for women. Any binge drinking—defined as more than five drinks in one drinking session—increases your risk of developing alcohol addiction.
Am I Addicted to Alcohol?
When your drug of choice is legal, you don’t have to seek it from unsavory characters, lie to your doctor, or break the law. All you need is access to your local convenience store. Alcohol’s status as a legal drug makes it more accessible, causing many addicts to deny that they’re alcoholics. If you’re not sure whether you’re addicted, ask yourself the following questions. If you answer yes to more than three, you may need help for alcoholism:
- Do you drink every day?
- Do you drink in the morning, at work, or when performing challenging tasks?
- Do you drink and drive?
- Do you do things you regret while under the influence of alcohol, such as yell at your spouse or hit your children?
- Do you no longer feel drunk?
- Do you drink to feel normal, to cope with physical ailments, or to cope with depression or anxiety?
- Do you drink alone, or in secret?
- Do you need alcohol to sleep?
- Do you spend most of your time drinking?
- Do you plan your day according to when your next drink will be available?
- Have you been arrested because of your choices with alcohol?
- Have you suffered career, legal, or personal problems because of alcohol?
It might feel impossible to crawl out of the hole of alcoholism now, but with prompt treatment and a willingness to permanently remain sober, you can start the next chapter of a happier life. Contact Addiction Rehab Centres Canada today!