For alcoholics being able to see that their drinking has crossed over from moderate to abuse is not always easy. When it gets to the point where someone may be consuming alcohol to cope with depression or negative feelings then they will be venturing into potentially fatal territory. Alcohol abuse does not happen overnight, it will usually sneak up on the abuser so it is important to understand alcoholism and alcohol abuse and the early symptoms. Taking a step back when the warning signs are prevalent could not only help preserve a person’s health but possibly save their life and prevent families from being torn apart.
Alcohol abuse is the result of many intertwined factors including environment, genetics, emotional health and the abuser’s upbringing. People who have a family history of alcohol abuse are much more likely to develop an alcohol addiction. There are some racial groups such as American Indians who are also more prone to abusing alcohol than others. However, those who suffer from bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety or other mental health problems are especially at risk because they could use alcohol to self medicate. A general rule of thumb is, if drinking is causing problems in someone’s life then they have a drinking problem.
Alcohol abuse should not be confused with alcoholism. Substance abuse experts distinguish between the two by pointing out that alcohol abusers have more of an ability to set limits on their drinking, but alcoholics do not. Even in this case alcohol abuse can still be destructive to the abuser and others around them. Common signs of alcohol abuse including experiencing multiple legal problems because of drinking, neglecting responsibilities at home, school, or work, drinking in dangerous physical situations and continuing to drink even though alcohol is causing problems in relationships. Consuming alcohol after every stressful situation is also a big giveaway, such as after an argument with a spouse.
Lethal damage done to the body from drinking including damage to the liver and heart problems can be as equally as devastating to the social consequences of abusing alcohol. People who abuse alcohol have a high chance of getting divorced, struggling with unemployment, living on the edge of poverty or experiencing domestic violence. Abusing alcohol puts a lot of strain on the people closest to the abuser such as close family and friends and covering up the abuser’s tracks and cleaning up their mess can be a huge burden.
If you or someone you love needs help with an alcohol addiction, please contact me today and I can make a referral.
Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.