Alcohol addiction or alcoholism is a disease that can affect people from all walks of life. It does not discriminate—you can be a woman, a man, young, old, rich, poor, or sick. Unfortunately, with how prevalent the disease is, science is yet to find a root cause for it.
Experts did not miss studying the cause of the disease from these points of view:
- Socioeconomic status
In doing so, they failed to come out with any ground-breaking knowledge as to what causes people to become alcoholics. This is partly due to many factors of what makes a human contribute to the development of the disease. Alcoholism can be an effect of psychological or behavioral factors.
What does alcohol addiction look like?
To an outsider, a person diagnosed as an alcoholic may look like someone who is just enjoying a drink—and then another drink—until the bottles pile up beside them. Some alcoholics manage to engage in their addiction without making anyone they interact with daily notice. This is one of the factors of alcoholism that makes it dangerous.
The level of consumption, frequency, and effects on diagnosed alcoholics differ from person to person. However, for sure—they rely on alcohol to function well, and they cannot live without it.
What are the symptoms of alcoholism?
No matter how prevalent alcoholism is–, it is difficult to discern. Alcohol is readily available and is consumed even by non-alcoholics, making it easier for alcoholics to blend it while satisfying their addiction.
If you are checking on someone and want to know if they are—or you yourself are getting addicted to alcohol consumption, here are some symptoms you should look out for:
- Significant increase in alcohol consumption
- Development of high alcohol tolerance
- Not showing any signs of a hangover
- Consumption of alcohol during unusual times
- Gravitating towards places or events where alcohol will be present
- Spending time with other people who are also heavy alcohol consumers
- Hiding drinking habits
- High dependence on alcohol for everyday function
Alcoholism is a gradual development. A person can start casually drinking alcohol and slowly turn the activity into an addiction without noticing. However, alcoholism, when addressed early, can be easy to get rid of—especially if the person involved is willing to cooperate.
If not addressed correctly at the right time, an alcohol addict may develop illnesses or get into alcohol-related accidents such as vehicular ones. According to the United States Department of Transportation, drunk driving kills 30 people in the country every day. That equates to one person every 50 minutes.
How should you deal with someone suffering from alcohol addiction?
To a person watching an alcoholic without knowing what they are going through, it might be easy to think and say that avoiding alcohol is not a difficult thing to do. To non-alcoholics, alcohol can be consumed casually during appropriate times. However, to people suffering from alcohol addiction, it is an entirely different story. So, as someone looking out for an alcoholic, how should you interact with them?
1. Be a part of their support system
In battling addiction, alcoholics rely on people around them to accept their current condition and to help them through it. If not, they might be pushed into more self-destructing activities that will make their recovery impossible.
2. Let them engage in self-care
If you are dealing with a full-grown adult with alcohol addiction, one of the best things to do is leave them to care for themselves when they ask for it. This does not go against being a part of their support system. Instead, this is an integral part—you believe in them enough to know they can recover without getting all the support from you or other people.
Letting them heal on their own if they want to is a way to show how you trust their ability to get over the addiction.
3. Appreciate their progress
Alcohol addiction, like any other type of addiction, is not an easy one to recover from. Alcohol rehabilitation takes months to years to show signs of full recovery, and the progress depends on the person trying to recover.
If you are looking over someone whose progress seems too slow to you, remember what they are going through and know that it is not the easiest road to take. Progress is always a step higher, no matter how small.
All in all, alcohol addiction is a widespread disease with no known cure. Recovering from the disease requires efficient diagnosis, treatment, and psychological support. Having a support system helps especially if one of the factors contributing to addiction is related to personal affairs.