Alcohol Abuse: How to Recognize the Signs
Alcohol Abuse: How to Recognize the Signs
You began to drink for fun whenever friends got together for the weekend. The feeling was wonderful and suddenly life felt good. You then liked to drink even when alone, and drink after drink you developed an inclination for more. You knew you were drinking a little too much but were not sure what to do about it. You have known alcohol was bad for health but you often felt sick whenever you tried to cut down on drinking. You are now willing to seek help but do not know how and what actually will help you.
Signs of excess drinking
Excess of alcohol is harmful to health and can cause warning signs. One may experience an irresistible craving for more and more drinks. One may not be able to stop once drinking is begun. If one does resolve to check drinking, there are symptoms like nausea, tremors, sweating, and confusion that prompt one to drink. One then drinks to keep the symptoms in control. These may be worse in the mornings and one may resort to drinking as the first thing in the morning to control these symptoms. This is called physical dependence. Lastly, one may need to drink more quantities to experience the pleasure or high one gets form alcohol. This is called tolerance. Gradually, due to the compulsion to drink, there may be problems in the house and work place. The alcoholic gets annoyed at any advice to control drinking and prefers to drink in secret. Forgetfulness and black outs may incapacitate life. One seeks pleasure in only drinking rather than in hobbies or work. One may stock up drinks at home or carry one in the car to drink frequently to get the desired feelings and satisfaction.
For family and friends: Signs of alcohol abuse
Friends and family should be watchful for any signs of abuse in a person who is a known alcoholic, so that timely help can be rendered. One should pay attention to the health, habits, behavior, and appearance of the addict. The person may become less conscious about the physical appearance and may keep bad hygiene. There may a blushing face. One may show many behavioral changes. There may be uninhibited talking and abusing. One may become hostile and uncooperative and may refuse to shoulder responsibilities at home. Performance in school or work place may decrease. One may be socially withdrawn, depressed and emotionally unstable, may lack motivation, and become lethargic. There may be periods of hyperactivity, elation, uncontrolled behavior, and high energy. Sleep disturbances are frequent. The addict may express financial problems, may sell away valuables and assets for money, and may like to return home late in the night. The person may drive recklessly, have intense appetite, may smell of alcohol, and keep chewing on gums to mask the smell. The addict stays unhealthy, develops frequent nosebleeds, cold, allergies, sores in mouth, and convulsions. One may vomit, sweat, and have frequent headaches and stomach aches. Many may attempt suicide.
Helping a loved one realize they are drinking too much
Alcohol affects not only the addict but also the family and friends. The near and dears should try and offer help when they see that somebody at home is drinking too much. They should find a calm moment to communicate to the person about the problems that have been added due to the drinking. The person may be motivated to give up on alcohol emphasizing how harmful alcohol is for not only the alcoholic but in general for all at home and also the society. Somebody may accompany the addict to the healthcare professional or for a counseling session. The person should never feel lonely and should be assured constant cooperation of the family in the arduous task of giving up alcohol. The affected person may be encouraged to participate in more social activities and seek help to prevent oneself from drinking again.
Any chronic alcoholic will have repeated urges to drink and will need to know how to control them. If one is not able to keep away from drinking, one may try non-alcoholic beer as a short-term substitute. One may keep chewing some gums to keep the mind distracted from alcohol. Green tea, caffeine, chocolate, or any other drink may help. One should avoid being alone and the accompanying friend or family member should know how to remind the addict for not drinking. Exercise has numerous benefits on health and keeping fit. It builds positive thinking and helps to combat the desire for alcohol.
Anybody who is warned by others for the amount and frequency of drinking or remains preoccupied by the thought of drinking needs to seek help. The first help may be a friend or family member in whom one can confide. One should share the problem with honesty and openness. The healthcare provider or doctor may help. Besides education on how alcohol affects health, they may provide useful tips to control the desire to drink. They may guide on how to cut down on drinks as stopping all together may be harmful and nonrealistic. One may be referred to a community alcohol service. Some medicines may be prescribed to control the symptoms of withdrawal. These include drugs like chlordiazepoxide. There are several self-help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and groups like Al-Anon Family Groups that offer help to the families of alcoholics. Addaction, Connexions, and Adfam are other groups which offer help and support for treatment of alcoholism and deaddiction. Rehabilitation services are offered by NHS and other centers in the form a residential program of few weeks. Joining one of these groups can help to meet others who have been successful in giving up on the habit.
Alcohol is very difficult to quit. A strong resolve and determined approach has helped many to successfully quit alcohol and bring back the joy in life. Life only changes for betterment and the entire effort is worth the try.