Nearly 18 million Americans, roughly one out of every 12 adults, has difficulty controlling their alcohol use to the point that their drinking has become alcoholic. At least several million more Americans have patterns of drinking that are trending toward becoming alcoholic. Fortunately, for those who are already alcoholic or in danger of developing alcoholism, there is hope and help available that can bring problem drinking under control.
The Dangers of Alcoholism
Because alcohol is legal, we don’t always think of it as a drug. However, make no mistake about it, alcohol is a potentially addictive drug with many of the same dangerous characteristics as illegal drugs. Nearly 90,000 Americans die every year of alcoholism-related illnesses and injuries. Even if alcoholism doesn’t kill you, over time alcohol can severely damage both your psychological and physical health, destroy your finances, ruin your career and create enormous turmoil and pain in the lives of the people around you, especially the people you love most.
Alcoholism and You
The one thing to remember is there are alcohol treatment options available for you to help you on the path to recovery and to overcome this terrible disease and get your life back. There are a lot of different inpatient treatment centers available and each one does things a little differently, but the thing to remember is that you have to take the first step if you have a problem and check yourself into the center.
Detoxification in a Treatment Center
When you check into an alcohol treatment center, you can expect that one of the first things you are going to have to go through is the process of detoxification. This is important to begin getting the alcohol out of your system. Once you have detoxed, you are going to need a support group to help make sure that you stay on the right path and keep moving forward on your road to recovery. This is a major step for the different alcohol treatment options and one that should not be overlooked. A support group with help you to break the old habits and surround you with people who have been down the same road as you have, so they know where you have been and what you have been going through.
Common Negative Consequences
There are some serious problems that commonly develop as a result of alcoholism. These include interpersonal problems involving friends, family and society as a whole, impairments in brain functioning and a host of chronic diseases. The potential problems include:
- Cardiovascular Disease – Heavy drinking is bad for your heart, resulting in increased risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke and irregular heartbeat. It can even trigger a fatal heart attack.
- Mental Illness – Alcoholic drinking can encourage the development of psychiatric problems or worsen pre-existing ones. Depression, heightened anxiety and suicidal tendencies are all intensified by heavy alcohol consumption.
- Social Difficulties – Alcoholism can lead to social problems and difficulty interacting with others. Alcoholics often become isolated as their alcoholic behavior pushes people away. Conflict with family and friends can lead to violence, injury, and even homicide. Heavy drinkers also make poor employees who have a hard time getting or holding employment.
- Accidents – People who are chronically intoxicated are accident prone. They make extremely dangerous drivers of motor vehicles, are more apt to fall, drown or otherwise suffer injury or death from misadventures of all kinds.
- Disease – Alcohol abuse significantly increases your risk of developing cancer, especially cancer of the throat and mouth. The liver, in particular, is inclined to develop alcohol related diseases, such as cirrhosis, and alcoholic hepatitis.
Alcoholism cannot be controlled by willpower any more than cancer, or any other debilitating disease can be simply willed away. Fortunately, alcoholism and problem drinking can be brought under control, but it requires professional help in a setting designed to help the alcoholic to stop drinking and guide them towards a better way of life. Millions have done so successfully, and you can be one of them, but the first step is to get the professional help required to restore your health and reclaim your life.