As a disease alcoholism is not like most other diseases. It is impossible to simply catch it in one day or by doing any one specific action. It takes time to become an alcoholic, which may seem awful short from the perspective of the alcoholic himself, yet for the people looking in, it is painfully apparent. Alcoholism begins tame and escalates gradually. What begins as social drink once in a while drops in a spiral of alcoholism if unchecked and alcohol is consumed unresponsibly. For decades young adults have been taking upon themselves to prove who can drink their way through an education institution. That said, statistically alcoholism proves to be a challenge for great many seniors worldwide aswell.
Descending the slippery slopes of alcoholism usually applies to few distinct stages. Let’s have a look at them and try to describe them in order to better understand the mind of an alcoholic and to understand the debilitating disease that besets him.
Step one, experiments.
When a person first begins their interaction with alcohol, it never happens drastically. Alcohol afterall is an acquired taste. It may affect most people the same way, but an avid fan of fine wines would scoff at hard liquour and vice versa. Regardless of personal preferences, at this stage alcohol is consumed cautiously and with respect. At this stage it would be beneficial to find what is the basis of ones consumption of alcohol. Does it make you happy? Perhaps it helps you lose stress? Do you feel anxious when sober? Answering yes to any of these questions puts you at risk of addictive behaviors and at greater risk of becoming an alcoholic.
Step two, daily use.
As with any addictive substance, alcohol requires more and more of it in the system to achive the same euphoric and sedative effects. Ever-increasing amounts of alcohol need to be consumed every time the drinker aims to get drunk. This stage can be critical at halting growing alcohol addiction. At this point the addiction has not caused any long-lasting damage to the addicts body and he is able to function as normal. Not for very long though.
Step three, obviously problematic use.
At this stage the rising alcoholic may begin drinking during inappropriate times or places. Such as during work, caring for minors or while driving. When the need to drink is larger than keeping your child safe, you know you have a problem. Rise of psychological issues is very prominent in this stage, insomnia, loss of hair and increased irritability. These usually cascade into relationships issues – trouble at work or close friends and family. This is first stage where friends and family begin to notice that the addict is in obvious turmoil and deep stress.
Step four, addiction.
The final stage of alcoholism is tough on both the addict and his immideate circle of friends and family. The addict becomes more and more self-destructive and anxious. The addiction is both physical and psychological at this point and is no longer a vice but rather a full blown disease. Suddenly stopping alcohol intake at this point can be extremely dangerous to the addicts health and can be fatal. Cardiac arrest, pulmonary complications and stroke are common effects of going “cold turkey” and stopping all alcohol intake. Most addicts rarely enjoy their drink at this stage, and have very little control over its intake. It is as natural for them to be under the influence of alcohol as it is to breathe and blink. At this point significant damage to the body has already been done and is only to get worse. Liver damage, brain damage and heart diseases are widesperad between alcoholics of this stage. The only way to avoid fatal organ failure is to seek professional help and begin a rehabilitation course. Practically noone has ever quit drinking on their own once reaching this stage of alcohol addiction.
At any stage alcoholism can be treated and its devastating rampage on the addicts body and mind can be slowed down and eventually stopped. The sooner any addiction is discovered the easier it is for professional rehabilitation specialists to turn the addicts life around. Being sober seems normal to most of us, but for an addict it seems like a light at the end of a tunnel, so close – yet so far. Do not hesitate to seek help with your problems, drugs and alcohol is never the answer.