Many people drink liquor; it is a commonly accepted form of enjoyment. When so many people enjoy liquor on social occasions, it can be difficult to tell when someone has a problem with drinking. Some might drink large amounts frequently, while others might drink large amounts on occasion while abstaining in between. Either way, drinking a large amount of liquor can have health consequences if abused.
Liquor Abuse, Addiction & Treatment
Liquor has a larger amount of alcohol as compared to beer and wine and is often mixed with other liquids. Drinking alcohol with carbonated liquids can increase the speed of alcohol entering the bloodstream, causing intoxication to happen more quickly. Liquor can decrease anxiety and inhibitions but has a large number of side effects. These side effects can manifest in dangerous symptoms if liquor is consumed to excess.
Alcoholism is known as the disease of drinking a large amount, and often, with difficulties experienced in attempting to quit. Alcoholism can manifest in many negative symptoms, and it is important to address symptoms of liquor abuse and addiction when they develop.
Signs And Symptoms Of Liquor Abuse And Addiction
Liquor isn’t a street drug like heroin or cocaine, but it can be a dangerous substance when used heavily or often. Liquor addiction can manifest in a variety of ways: an individual might binge drink, or go periods of time without drinking, then drink to excess. Or an individual might drink large amounts every day, even before work or other important obligations. An individual might also develop a physical dependence, or experience withdrawal symptoms if they attempt to quit. Liquor addiction might be evident in the inability to quit drinking or cut back, even with multiple attempts.
Symptoms of liquor abuse and addiction are:
- increased tolerance of alcohol consumption
- frequently drinking alcohol
- neglect of friends and family
- drinking alone
- drinking alcohol before work or other inappropriate occasions
- hiding the amount of alcohol consumed
- increase in depression
- issues at work or school
- financial problems
Usually, one can be considered to have a liquor addiction if they drink often and to excess, and find themselves unable to stop. It is important to recognize the symptoms and signs of liquor abuse and addiction before the disease progresses further, and health problems are experienced. By addressing signs of liquor addiction, the individual may be able to recover before negative consequences develop.
The Dangers Of Liquor Abuse And Addiction
Binge drinking is known as having four or more drinks over a two-hour period for women, and five drinks for men. Binge drinkers might go long periods without drinking, and drink to excess on specific occasions. They may attempt to stop drinking but have difficulty doing so.
Liquor and other forms of alcohol are known as central nervous system (CNS) depressants, meaning they slow down the brain and functions of the body. This can decrease anxiety and stress, and help with feeling confident, which is why liquor is used in many social situations.
However, there are many health complications associated with liquor addiction.
- sexual issues
- birth defects
- bone loss
- issues with vision
- increased risk of developing cancer
- a decreased immune system function
- high blood pressure
- irregular heartbeat
Drinking alcohol often and to excess can manifest in heart or liver disease. Heavy drinking can cause steatosis, or fatty liver, fibrosis, cirrhosis, or alcoholic hepatitis. Prolonged alcohol abuse can increase the chance of developing specific types of cancer, such as esophagus, mouth, throat, breast, or liver cancer. Heavy drinking can diminish the ability of the immune system to fight off disease; so heavy drinkers are more likely to develop diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.
Prolonged use of excessive alcohol can also lead to dependence. Being physically dependent on alcohol means that you may experience withdrawal symptoms while attempting to quit drinking liquor or other alcoholic beverages. Someone struggling with liquor addiction may also engage in risky behavior, putting themselves and others at risk.
Liquor Withdrawal And Detox
Alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs to withdraw from. Withdrawal symptoms can be especially dangerous, and it is important to not undergo withdrawal alone if you have been heavily drinking for a long period of time. The individual who has been heavily drinking for a long time may be at the point where they have to drink in order to prevent the onset of withdrawal symptoms, which can be intense and even deadly. Depending on the amount of liquor regularly consumed, the individual going through withdrawal from liquor may experience different degrees of withdrawal. The more liquor consumed on a regular basis, the more difficult withdrawal symptoms will be.
Liquor withdrawal symptoms include:
- a headache
Other withdrawal symptoms can be more serious, and even deadly.
These withdrawal symptoms include:
- mood swings
- panic attacks
- rapid heartbeat
- heart arrhythmia
- high blood pressure
- kidney or liver dysfunction
- delirium tremens
Delirium tremens is a more severe form of alcohol withdrawal in which an individual experiences hallucinations, severe tremors, and possible seizures.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms as a result of withdrawing from alcohol, contact a medical professional. There are medications and medical procedures that can help alleviate or prevent more harmful symptoms.
Detoxification refers to the period of time during which a drug leaves the body. During a medical detoxification process, medical professionals will work to make sure the body stays in balance so as to not experience some of the more dangerous symptoms of withdrawal. A doctor may prescribe medication during the detoxification process, such as benzodiazepines, which help to ease some of the psychological symptoms of withdrawal, such as anxiety and panic attacks. Anticonvulsants, antidepressants, or anti-seizure medications may be used to treat other potential symptoms.
Treatment For Liquor Abuse And Addiction
Withdrawal and the detoxification process are just two elements of an inpatient treatment program. Detoxification may include the administration of medications, such as benzodiazepines, in order to ease some of the effects of withdrawal. Other medications may be administered to help with alcohol cravings, such as Antabuse.
Once the detoxification process is complete, the rest of recovery can begin. The remainder of treatment will be devoted to the treatment of both mental and physical symptoms of addiction, so as to prevent future relapse.
One important element of recovery from liquor addiction is the presence of group therapy in a rehabilitation center. Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and SMART Recovery are devoted to sharing experience and learning from each other. The purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous is to stay sober, and help other sober members to achieve sobriety through sharing and listening to each other, and moving through a recovery program known as the 12 Steps.
Recovery from liquor addiction isn’t successful through detoxification alone. Behavioral therapy seeks to understand the reasons why someone addicted to liquor used. Often, alcohol abuse has become a coping mechanism for the individual, or a method that helps to ease psychological or physical symptoms. Mental illness can predispose alcohol abuse. It is crucial to treat mental symptoms and addiction concurrently, as both tend to influence the other.
By participating in behavioral and group therapy, working through detoxification, and committing to recovery, an individual can learn to live without using liquor.
NIAAA – https://www.niaaa.nih.gov
Alcoholics Anonymous – AA.org