The True Face of Alcoholism

It’s easy to dismiss alcoholism as something that affects the homeless, the unemployed, or angry father figures. The truth of the matter, however, is that alcoholism, like any other form of addiction, can affect anyone, from any walk of life. Some people start young, drinking whatever they can get out of a sense of adventure, rebellion, or even just boredom. Others drink to alleviate stress after a long day or week. There are social drinkers and binge drinkers and all of these types can be found in all types of people. Before long, though, one or two drinks here and there becomes a four or five every day. A little becomes a lot, occasionally becomes daily, and before they know it, they’re washing down breakfast with whiskey.

Alcoholism is one of the most common forms of addiction in the world, largely in part due to it’s easy accessibility. Every culture in the world, for as far back as we can recall, people have fermented whatever they had, be it grapes, wheat, potatoes, or honey. Because alcohol is so common and easy to get ahold of, alcoholism has been a long-standing problem is nearly every culture and the stigma that accompanies this addiction can sometimes be counterproductive to treating it. Shame and humiliation can cause a family to keep a loved one’s drinking problem hidden and never speak of it or raise the issue. The reality is, an alcoholic is afflicted with a genuine addiction that they cannot control and are in dire need of help.

Can’t They Stop? What Does Alcoholism Really Do?

This is another common misconception about alcoholism and addiction in general. If they really wanted to, they could quit, right? Sadly, it’s not as simple as that. The short answer is no, they can’t. The long answer delves into exactly what alcoholism does to a person, both physically and psychologically. Alcohol dependency can damage more than just the body and brain. It damages family, relationships, finances, and career as well.

Physically, alcoholism can cause severe liver damage, ulcers, heart disease, damage to the nervous system, cancer, and even death. Psychologically, alcohol is a depressant, so continued use erodes one’s sense of self-worth and well-being, as well as brain and motor functions. The withdrawals from alcohol can be seen as soon as two hours after the last drink and can range from minor symptoms like shakiness and anxiety to severe, life-threatening complications such as seizures and delirium tremens, or DTs, which is a state of severe confusion and body tremors.

What many people are unaware of is what addiction does to the brain and how it actually works. Every substance does it a little differently, but all of them, including alcohol, rewire the brain to seek continued use. By altering brain chemistry, the substance tricks the brain into thinking it must have this substance for continued survival. From there forward, the need for alcohol, or whatever the substance may be, is treated as a self-preservation instinct; one of the most powerful instincts we have. At this point, simple willpower cannot prevail against survival instinct. The desire, the need for alcohol is just too strong, they cannot resist.

Help is Available, Just Waiting For You

When facing it alone, alcoholism can seem like an impossible battle, a constant uphill struggle that just can’t be won. Fortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Alcoholism, like any form of addiction, is a progressive disease, which means the longer it goes untreated, the worse it’s going to get. It won’t get better on it’s own, so it’s important to reach out and seek help. It’s never too late, no one is ever too far gone, and no matter how dire your circumstance, somebody out there has been in the exact same situation as you.

At A Better Today, we specialize in treating the whole person, not just the addiction. Rather than focusing on just getting sober, we help patients identify the underlying issues and circumstances that led to their addiction in the first place and arm them with skills and coping mechanisms to help them stay sober in the future. Understanding temptation and how to deal with it or avoid it completely are key to living a healthy and successful recovery.

There are so many resources out there to help you. All you have to do is reach out, pick up the phone, and ask. Hundreds before you have been in the exact same situation or worse and have gotten sober. You are not alone. Pick up the phone and call (757) 209-2677 today and take the first step to a long, happy, healthy life of sobriety.