Alcoholism is classified as a chronic disease because it is progressive, meaning that it gets worse over time. People who suffer from alcoholism also show signs of physical dependence and tolerance. This means they need to drink more alcohol to experience the same effects, and if they try to quit suddenly, they can experience severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Chronic alcohol use affects millions of people across the world. It’s characterized by an inability to stop drinking, despite its harmful effects on physical and mental health.
But is alcoholism really a disease? Learn about the facts behind this complex disorder so you can make informed decisions about your lifestyle and health.
Do you need treatment for alcoholism? At Zinnia Health, our trained experts are available to provide inpatient detoxification services and outpatient programs that can assist you in overcoming addiction. Pick up the phone and call our alcoholism helpline today at (855) 430-9439 for the support you need.
Is Alcoholism Considered a Disease?
Yes, alcoholism is considered a disease. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), when people continually drink alcohol over a certain period, it can result in considerable changes to the architecture and performance of their brains.
A shift in brain chemistry caused by these modifications can lead to an inability to contain occasional usage and transition it into a habit of chronic substance use.
The repercussions of addiction can linger long after an individual has stopped drinking, potentially leading to a relapse.
Is Alcoholism Genetic?
According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, an intriguing interplay between genetic makeup and life experiences means that the cannabinoid receptor-1 gene contributes to a heightened risk of developing hazardous alcohol consumption patterns when exposed to stressful situations.
Someone can be genetically predisposed to developing the disease, but if they are not exposed to alcohol through their environment, the risk of them becoming addicted decreases significantly.
Is Drinking Alcohol a Learned Behavior?
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), children with a family history of alcoholism are more likely to consume alcohol.
Many other factors play a part in normalizing drinking, including advertising. According to the State of North Dakota, by restricting alcohol advertising in public areas, we can work to reduce the glamorized view of drinking. All too often, advertising makes it seem like consuming alcohol is a normal part of life.
At Zinnia Health, our highly qualified specialists focus on providing a safe and secure atmosphere that enables you to make lasting changes without fear, judgment or stigma. Tackling alcohol addiction or dependence can feel like taking on an impossible challenge, but at Zinnia Health, you don’t have to do it alone. If you need assistance, call our friendly team today at (855) 430-9439.
Is Alcoholism a Coping Mechanism?
Many people turn to alcohol as a way of coping with the difficulties of life.
For example, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there is a direct correlation between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol abuse. Those with PTSD are more likely to consume excessive amounts of alcohol, while individuals with drinking issues also tend to have PTSD.
Alcoholism is closely linked to stress and other mental health issues, leading people to use drinking as an escape.
According to a report published in the National Library of Medicine, having a stress-prone personality can also make people more susceptible to problems related to alcohol consumption.
Understanding the nuances involved in this issue and its relationship with mental health is essential to provide effective solutions.
While alcohol can be a source of comfort in the short-term, long-term effects can be devastating for individuals and their families.
What Are the Symptoms of Alcoholism?
According to US Customs and Border Protection, symptoms of alcoholism can include:
- Drinking to feel better
- Feeling irritable or angry when not drinking
- Personal problems sparked by alcohol
- Drinking to cope with stress
Because the symptoms vary, reach out for help if you think you or a loved one may be dependent on alcohol.
What Are Health Problems Caused By Excessive Alcohol Intake?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heavy drinking can cause serious problems such as:
- Alcohol-related dementia
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Fetal alcohol syndrome (in children of mothers who drink when pregnant)
Are Alcoholics in Denial?
This is a difficult question to answer definitively because so much depends on the person.
One thing is certain — alcoholism has an insidious way of creating a false sense of security and control for those affected by it.
According to a report published in the National Library of Medicine, people who suffer from alcohol addiction often fail to see their behavior and how it is affecting their life, health, and relationships.
The majority think they can keep drinking moderately, restrict use to only certain occasions, or limit intake to specific types of alcohol but are unable to keep such promises and regularly give in to cravings.
These patterns can continue for years if not spotted early on and addressed effectively. In these cases, denial helps perpetuate the disease.
Therefore, it’s important for friends and family members of problem drinkers to be aware of the signs that a loved one may be developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and intervene before things become too serious.
What is the Difference Between a “Moderate Drinker” and a “Problem Drinker”?
Understanding the difference between a “moderate drinker” and a “problem drinker” can be difficult as it is often unclear what type of drinking behavior constitutes a problem in one’s life.
A moderate drinker generally has no adverse physical or psychological effects from their consumption of alcohol. In contrast, a problem drinker has seen some impairment due to their heavy drinking habits.
According to MedlinePlus, problem drinkers are more likely to experience negative consequences such as legal issues, financial problems, and relationship difficulties.
They may also struggle with physical health issues related to heavy and binge drinking, such as liver damage, high cholesterol, obesity and an increased risk of certain types of cancer.
What Are Effective Treatments for Alcoholism?
- Addiction medicine like acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone
- Behavioral therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy
- Psychiatric medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or other antidepressant medications
- Nutrition counseling, exercise, and lifestyle changes
- Group support programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART
- Inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation treatment centers
- Holistic approaches such as yoga and acupuncture
Struggling with alcohol use disorder? At Zinnia Health, we are proud to offer 24/7 detox services and outpatient programs. Taking on the challenge of addiction can be extremely overwhelming. However, our healthcare professionals are here to provide all the help and assistance necessary to make a positive change in your life. If you’re looking for support on your path to healing, don’t wait any longer. Call us today at (855) 430-9439.