One of the most recognized beverages worldwide is alcohol. It is consumed for the celebration of joyous occasions, for the reduction of sorrows and for relaxation after work hours. Consumption of alcohol is risky, it changes the way we think, it is very addictive and it also has an effect on the way we feel.
In 2014, about 88,000 Americans had deaths that were alcohol-related and over 16 million Americans had a disorder related to alcohol usage that year. That means that about 6.8 percent of the population of adults in the United States was suffering from alcoholism, as stated by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
It has been outlawed by dozens of countries, the production and sale of beverages with alcohol were prohibited in the United States from 1920 to 1933. The prohibition which was short-lived was due to the high level of domestic violence related to alcohol and widespread alcoholism.
In recent times, alcohol can be consumed legally in the United States by adults aged 21 and above. But the majority of Americans still try out their first beverage with alcohol in their adolescence.
Teenagers who try out alcohol have a higher possibility of getting drunk for the first time around grades seven and eleven. It has been shown by various studies that there is a higher probability of someone getting addicted to alcohol if he/she starts drinking early.
Various teens and children try out alcohol for a variety of reasons. Children begin to understand that in most homes drinking alcohol is not frowned upon and it’s sometimes allowed, as part of the social aspect of the American society. Millions of children see their parents drinking each night during dinner. They hear alcohol being showcased as a thing of glamour in music and they see people getting drunk on television.
The obsession with the consumption of alcohol in the United States is a major reason people with disorders relating to alcohol find it difficult to find help. The inability to control your liquor or determine how much you drink is seen as shameful. Alcoholics are often scared of stigmatization if they seek treatment.
People who are also in recovery from alcoholism also deal with the urge to drink because they are surrounded by temptations and triggers found in adverts, restaurants, and media. There isn’t any other substance that is publicly abused or consumed as much as alcohol.
On the bright side, the most recognized substance studied for use disorder is alcohol. Various groups have been providing people with free support for many years, some of these groups include Alcoholics Anonymous. Medications have been developed by scientists that can reduce the symptoms of withdrawal, prevent drinking in the future, and minimize cravings. Counselors and therapists have techniques they practice which lets people locate happiness and learn to function in a society filled with alcohol without drinking themselves.
About 88,000 Americans from deaths were alcohol-related in 2014.
the terms alcohol addiction, alcoholism, and alcohol disorder are frequently utilized interchangeably. The official term of continuous alcohol consumption that leads to clinical impairment and the inability to perform responsibilities is known as alcohol use disorder as stated by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Pouring a glass of whiskey
This is a term that is frequently used indiscriminately. Someone addicted to alcohol or depends on alcohol physically may be termed as an alcoholic. It is also utilized in describing those who drink and are not dependent or addicted to alcohol but tend to face possible alcohol-related problems.
Classification of alcohol use disorders as stated by the APA is mild, moderate, or severe and this is dependent on the criteria for diagnosis met by a person. Someone who meets for five criteria has a moderate AUD, someone who meets two to three criteria has a Mild AUD while someone who meets six or more criteria has a severe AUD.
An alcoholism criterion has nothing to do with the amount a person drinks or the amount of time they have been drinking or the kind of alcohol. When a person loses the capacity to control his/her drinking, he is addicted to alcohol. They feel an urge to drink which is uncontrollable and they find it difficult to cease drinking.
STAGES OF ALCOHOLISM
The phases of alcoholism aren’t scientifically distinct like the harshness of alcohol use disorders, but they make available an easy-to-understand view of how someone becomes addicted to alcohol. A person becomes more severely addicted as he/ she moves through the phases. Some people quickly advance to end-stage alcoholism while some people remain in the early stages throughout their life. The combination of environmental, genetic, and social factors determines the way alcohol affects each person.
The first stage is categorized by drinking above average, drinking to reduce inappropriate feelings or stress, or finding reasons generally to drink. The person may not realize they are drinking alcohol more often and just consciously use alcohol to lighten their mood.
A person’s reception to alcohol increases during the early stage. They no longer feel positive effects until they drink increasing amounts of alcohol, and after drinking low amounts of alcohol, they do not display signs of drunkenness.
Middle stage alcoholism
A person begins to become dependent on alcohol, he/ she advances to the middle stage. When they stop drinking, they suffer withdrawal symptoms. Instead of drinking to achieve happiness, they end up drinking to avoid withdrawal.
The middle stage of alcoholism is categorized by an increase in unpredictable behavior, issues with relationships, work or school, and drinking in secret. They begin to realize they have lost their ability to regulate how much they drink, but they are often afraid to admit they have an issue.
Late Stage Alcoholism
This is characterized by problems with mental health and physical health, their organs begin to get overworked and they are often malnourished. They frequently suffer from respiratory, liver, and heart issues. When they go too long without alcohol usage, they tend to suffer from extreme anxiety or depression.
People in this stage of alcoholism are mostly on the verge of being kicked out of school, losing their jobs, or wrecking their relationships with family and friends. They may not know they have an issue but they consider drinking as the most crucial thing in life because they are so obsessed with it.