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Having An Alcohol Addiction Can Lead To Health Problems

Jun 26, 2008
Where does one draw the line between being a social drinker and having an alcohol addiction? For many people, the lines aren't always so clear, especially when everyone around them seems to be binge drinking, drinking on a daily basis or glamorizing alcohol use.

Social drinking can easily progress into a psychological, or even physical, dependence over time, as it becomes habitually ingrained in our behavioral patterns. Suddenly, we drink to be more interesting, drink to make others more interesting, drink for courage in social settings, drink to give ourselves a boost of energy, or drink to cover up negative feelings like pain, depression or anxiety.

Prior to an addiction to alcohol, there is generally a prolonged time period when the social drinker finds that he or she is drinking more frequently, experiencing more adverse effects and is slightly losing control. Alcohol abusers start showing signs like drinking and driving, participating in dangerous activities while under the influence, continuing to drink even when problems with friends or family happen as a result of alcohol consumption and getting into physical fights.

Drinking alcohol begins to interfere with not only social relations, but also obligations at work and school, and in some cases, drinking may even land an individual in legal trouble. These are early warning signs that alcohol use is crossing over into alcohol abuse.

Long-term alcohol addiction can lead to many physical ailments. It is widely believed that alcohol abuse can lead to increased blood pressure and congestive heart failure. Nearly half of chronic alcoholics may have myopathy (weak muscles) and one NIAA study determined that "3.6% of all cancer cases worldwide are related to alcohol drinking, resulting in 3.5% of all cancer deaths." Many alcoholics need new livers or kidneys removed as a result of severe binge drinking. Many alcoholics find that they just cannot function in the real world anymore, suffering strained relationships, bouts of anxiety and severe depression, sleepless nights, hand tremors, loss of appetite and other debilitating symptoms.

Many people who have friends or family members showing signs of alcohol addiction feel frustrated because they desperately care and want to help. However, unless that addicted person is willing to endure treatment, nothing can be done.

Sometimes, binge drinkers will hit rock bottom with a medical emergency before they accept that they have to change their behavior. All one can do is express support, try not to be an enabler and suggest alternate coping mechanisms.
About the Author
Learn more about alcohol addiction from Mike Selvon's portal, and leave a comment at our recovery from alcoholism blog.
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