Alcoholism and drug abuse are common addictions in today’s world. In an alcoholic, the inability to cope with a situation or feelings often becomes too great and unmanageable; alcohol becomes a way to deal with things that are difficult or uncomfortable. Other reasons for these destructive addictions are the craving for the high — the need for the feeling of happiness the addict has when they are consuming both drugs and alcohol. This can be particularly destructive not only for an addict’s health, but also for the alcoholic or drug user’s self-esteem, family and career.
“Alcoholism and drug abuse are common addictions in today’s world.” Risk factors for alcoholism and drug abuse are numerous, yet a genetic factor seems to come into play with people of certain ethnic backgrounds. These people suffer a higher incidence of alcoholism with chemical dependency. People with Irish or Native American ethnic backgrounds are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs to the point that being Irish American raises one’s risk of alcoholism to seven times that of a non-Irish American. Other factors include coming from a poor economic background, coming from a family with a history of mental illness, or having an alcoholic parent. Men are more often affected by alcoholism and drug abuse than women.
Did You Know?In the United States, more than half of men and women report that one or more of their close relatives have a drinking problem.
Signs of Chemical Dependency
As long as alcoholic behavior continues, the user will be unable function in a way that is healthy and helpful to their growth. Being unable or unwilling to face reality is a serious issue. Drinking and using drugs can happen in private, in public or at parties; the location of the abuse makes it no less dangerous. Alcoholism and drug abuse can unravel quickly and take over a user’s life before they even realize it. Signs of alcoholism with chemical dependency include:
- Taking the substance in larger amounts or for a longer time than was originally intended
- Inability to cut down or stop the use of the substance
- A large and increasing amount of time dedicated to recovering from, obtaining and consuming the substance
- Being unable to function at work, school or home because of intoxication or withdrawal symptoms
- Use of alcohol or drugs in moments that are inappropriate or illegal, like drinking and driving
- Sacrificing time working or being with family and friends to spend time using alone or with other users
- Needing more and more of the substance to get the desired effect: increased tolerance
- Continuing to use even though the consequences are painful and destructive
- Obsessing over the act of consuming
- Not feeling good in one’s skin without the substance
Did You Know?Over 700,000 Americans receive alcoholism treatment every day.
Dangers of Alcoholism With Chemical Dependency
There are many dangers associated with alcoholism and drug abuse. It is a disease, but it is a treatable one. Before suffering the gamut of health and personal problems caused by alcoholism with chemical dependency, the acknowledgement of having a problem and reaching out for help within one’s family or group of friends is the first step to recovery. The dangers and risks associated with these addictions are serious and life-threatening. They include:
- Permanent brain damage
- Liver damage
- Triggering psychiatric illnesses
- Cardiovascular damage
Stages of Addiction
Not everyone becomes an addict and abuses these substances after initial use, though for the ones who do, the stages of alcoholism or deterioration into addiction have been identified by Milan & Ketcham in 1983, as the following three stages:
- Adaptive stage: No negative symptoms; physiological changes are happening with the increased tolerance. This will not be noticeable to the drinker or others.
- Dependent stage: Symptoms are building gradually. Hangover symptoms can be confused at this stage with withdrawal symptoms. Many addicts will maintain their drinking to avoid experiencing the sickness of withdrawal, drinking small amounts frequently. Being secretive and avoiding gross intoxication is another sign of this stage.
- Deterioration: Organs are damaged due to long-term drinking. Medical or addiction treatment is required, and if avoided, the changes in the addict’s body can result in death.
Did You Know?Evidence suggests that 25 to 40 percent of trauma patients suffer from alcoholism.
Get Help for Alcoholism Today
If you recognize these stages in yourself or a loved one, seek help by calling us at 1-888-287-0471 . Advances in treatment have occurred in the past decade, and the right treatment plan is out there for every addict. Call now.