It is easy for the signs of alcohol abuse to go unnoticed by even close friends and family members. There is no bright dividing line between social drinking and alcohol abuse, and what one person considers abusive the next might consider quite normal.
Even so, it is important to watch out for the early warning signs of alcohol abuse. If you suspect that a friend or family member has a problem controlling their drinking, you need to take a proactive approach to getting them help. Substance abuse programs can be quite effective at dealing with alcohol abuse, while the right counseling can help people understand why they drink and make it easier for them to control their impulses.
In many cases drug abuse and the excessive use of alcohol are linked, so friends and family members should also be on the lookout for the telltale signs of a drug problem. Things like inattention to personal hygiene, a loss of interest in favorite activities and withdrawal from loved ones can all be signs of drug abuse.
Problems with drugs and alcohol are all too common in today’s world, but that does not mean someone you love has to suffer the ill effects of alcoholism. There are plenty of alcohol treatment options available, from 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous to inpatient and outpatient alcohol abuse treatment centers. Whether the abuse of alcohol is a longstanding problem or a new phenomenon, the intervention of a caring friend or relative can make a huge difference and help the abuser turn his or her life around.
What is Alcohol Abuse?
As stated earlier, it can be hard to draw a line between the social use of alcohol and alcohol abuse. That having been said, alcohol abuse is often defined as use that interferes with the normal functioning of the drinker’s life. People who abuse alcohol often have trouble keeping a job, maintaining healthy relationships and avoiding legal entanglements like DUI arrests or reckless driving convictions.
Binge drinking is major part of the alcohol abuse spectrum, and it is not limited to college students. Binge drinkers typically drink until they are drunk, consuming drink after drink in an attempt to blot out the cares of the world. As with any type of drug addiction, a tolerance develops over time, which makes the binge drinking episodes more and more dangerous.
The Effects of Alcohol Abuse
The effects of alcohol abuse are far-ranging, covering nearly every aspect of the individual’s life. People who abuse drugs and alcohol tend to have problems with employment, losing job after job until they are unable to provide for themselves. Alcoholics and those with an alcohol dependence may also have trouble forming and keeping relationships with spouses and significant others. They may also withdraw from other members of the family, as the shame and guilt of having an alcohol abuse problem begins to take hold.
Alcohol substance abuse can also lead to serious health problems, from cirrhosis of the liver to heart disease and risk of stroke. As the alcohol abuse gets worse, the resulting health problems can also become more severe. That is why it is important for family members who suspect a substance abuse problem to get help as early as possible. Time is of the essence when it comes to drugs and alcohol. The sooner the individual gets into alcohol abuse treatment, the more effective that treatment can be.
In addition to behavioral counseling and 12-step programs, there are a number of medications designed to make alcohol treatment easier. Some of these medications help alleviate the withdrawal symptoms that often accompany the cessation of alcohol consumption. Others work directly on the brain, interfering with the pleasure centers that alcohol normally activates. No matter what the approach, effective alcohol abuse treatment allows people to regain control of their lives and lead a healthier lifestyle.
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