Curbing Alcoholism

Alcoholism means that drinking alcohol becomes an important, or sometimes the most important, factor in one’s life and they feel they’re unable to function without it.It might be surprising to hear that you don’t always have to be drinking to extreme levels to become dependent

19

Jan 2018

How To Help A loved One With Alcohol Addiction- The Dos and Don’ts

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Have you ever looked at your loved one, be it your friend or family member or your special someone struggling with alcohol abuse and addiction and felt a sense of helplessness? Seeing your friend or family member go through alcohol addiction can be a highly distressing experience. As much as it unnerves you, the truth is that they are enslaved to alcohol and they need your help.

One must remember that being stuck in this quandary may cause emotional and psychological stir ups, both for you and the person stuck in the agonizing cycle of addiction. And as much as your intentions are grounded in goodwill, you must not forget your own wellbeing.

It is imperative to remember some key points while approaching this precarious situation. We have listed some of the relevant points for you to remember.

Dos

– Recognizing the signs of alcohol dependence and behavioral changes are important and timely intervention is vital.

– Get started by reading about it, they say ‘knowledge is power’ for a reason. Gather information about alcohol addiction. Do a thorough research and arm yourself with all the required information that you can gather.

– Talk to them in private. Being concerned alone and remaining quiet isn’t going to be of much help, neither waiting for them to ask for help would aid them. It is important to take initiative and broach on the subject with caution.

– Express your love and offer support. Let them know that you are there to help and are willing to support them in their fight against addiction.

– Encourage and support recovery. Seek medical advice and offer to accompany them to support group meetings.

– Have patience. The road to recovery from alcohol addiction is not a one day event, it is a long process. Your friend or family member will require a ‘strong’ support system through this process.

Don’ts

– Don’t be judgemental ! Understand where they come from, try to learn the possible reasons that lead to addiction. Very often there are underlying emotional causes that compel people to take to alcohol as an escape route.

– Do not accuse or use emotional blackmailing tool. Do not pity them and do not shame them. The person you’re dealing with is already suffering with addiction and guilt tripping or disgracing them is not the most positive thing you can do for them.

– Do not get into arguments when they are under the influence of alcohol. Trying to make them see your point and pressing them to accept their dependency ‘when’ they are drunk is only begging for unnecessary and unpleasant drama in your life. In extreme cases, it can also lead to physical abuse.

– Do not be guilt ridden if you are unable to help them the way you intended to.

– Don’t blame yourself for their addiction.

– Don’t overpass your safety and well being.

It should be noted that you must approach the person and the issue with mindful consideration. Also bear in mind that even though you may harbor good intentions, the person you’re dealing with might get defensive and completely fence off. You can stage an intervention with your intimate group of friends and family members. Maintain a forbearing and respectful attitude towards your loved one because they are in great anguish. Remember you cannot save someone. However, be compassionate and give it your honest shot.

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28

Dec 2017

What Leads To Alcoholism?

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Beginning with a perplexing question- what is alcoholism? In simplest terms the answer is that ‘alcoholism’ is the severest form of alcohol abuse, it is an individual’s dependency on alcohol to an extent that going through day to day life sends the chilliest shivers down the spine, when the mind and body cannot function without gulping down those glasses of alcohol. If your life centers around alcohol, it is a sign that alcohol is slowly consuming and reigning your life. It is also the time for a wake-up call to buckle up and see it for what it truly is- alcohol addiction.

Drinking in moderation is one thing but giving in to alcoholism is altogether a different matter. Alcohol as a substance abuse is a serious problem which has inflicted the world irrespective of the caste, creed, gender or age. Now, what leads to alcoholism, one may wonder. There is not one factor that can be branded as a culprit, multifarious factors play a collective role in influencing a person’s drinking habit.

Nobody is a born alcoholic, right? Well science says there is a genetic connection to it but again, let’s not blame any single mean gene here. There is a concerted group of genes in our DNA which acts as predisposed trigger leading to alcoholism. However, an individual wouldn’t be justified in taking to alcohol addiction because the parents and forefathers were alcoholics. The reason being that hereditary alcoholism is avoidable. It has been observed that hereditary risk factor leading to alcoholism may be prevented and curbed to a considerable extent provided that a person’s environment is good. So, wait before you blame your inherited genes for your addiction because genetic factor is only one half of the entire picture as there are a host of other social and environmental factors which impact an individual’s drinking habit. These factors include stress, peer pressure and social acceptance, coping with personal or financial loss, need for feel-good factor.

Alcohol is a known depressant which affects the central nervous system by slowing it down and many people drink alcohol to ease out stress or anxiety. It may seem like a perfectly soothing stress buster initially, however alcohol never really solves the purpose in the long run. It only acts as a short-term coping mechanism by suppressing the other underlying emotional and psychological causes temporarily.

The stimulant in alcohol is what draws people to it like moths to flame. If taken in moderate to small doses, the stimulants in alcohol give an initial boost to central nervous system, which people identify as the ‘happy buzz’ or the ‘feel good factor’. The effect however doesn’t last for very long because alcohol as a drug type belongs to depressant class.

Peer pressure is a massive pain which has pushed many people to take to alcohol especially at the young and tender age. The need for ‘social acceptance’ plays a nasty role here. For many teenagers, this may be only a phase which gradually fades but some get stuck in the addictive cycle of severe alcohol abuse.

Alcoholism has destroyed many families and relationships and it adversely affects our mental, emotional and physical health. As enticing as the intoxication of alcohol may appear to be, it isn’t really the best remedy for the mind, body or soul. It must be observed and deeply absorbed that neither is alcohol an ‘escape route’ to a pain-free life, nor is it a secret ‘mantra’ for a ‘blissful’ life and it most definitely doesn’t make one the coolest person around! It is only an intoxicating substance which seems to provide a temporary and elusive ‘escape’. As they say, ‘moderation’ is the magical key which provides solution to most of human woes in the world. So, let’s be mindful and add ‘drinking in moderation’ to that list. Remember, ‘alcoholism’ is a weighty concern and whether you let alcohol consume you or not is always a choice which lies with ‘you’.

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19

Dec 2017

Withdrawal Symptoms of Alcohol

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If you’ve landed up on this page, chances are that you’re either contemplating quitting alcohol or you must’ve already. Kudos to you, let’s begin by giving you a little pat on your back for taking this first brave step towards alcohol-free life. Another scenario may be that you’re reading it to help your loved one who’s going through bouts of alcohol addiction and wants to quit or experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Great job done by you dear good Samaritan, for making efforts to help someone by offering encouragement and support. Apart from a strong will, a person also needs a strong support system, such as you, to get rid of alcohol dependency. Now assuming, that you’ve done a thorough research on the subject, more glory to you! But, if you’re running around like a headless chicken, breathe easy we say, we’ve got some useful information to share with you.

Let’s get a clearer picture of few basics here. To what degree would you get alcohol withdrawal symptoms depends on the question whether you are a moderate or social drinker or are you heavily addicted to alcohol.

Moderate drinking is consumption of alcohol within the prescribed limits of guidelines which are not more than 2 units per day for women, no more than 3 units per day for men. It also specifies the per week consumption of maximum 14 drinks for men and 7 drinks for women. Social drinking is a commonly accepted norm in various cultures across the world. To say that a person is a social drinker, it usually means that the individual only drinks occasionally in the company of others and usually drinks within the prescribed limits. Moving to heavy drinking, as per the guidelines, for women it means consuming alcohol more than 8 drinks per week and for men it is alcohol consumption of more than 15 units per week. Heavy drinking falls in the high-risk category. When an individual is a heavy drinker and reduces the consumption of alcohol significantly, or suddenly stops drinking altogether, there are varied withdrawal symptoms he/she would experience.

Alcohol is known to affect a part of brain known an ‘amygdala’ which triggers the ‘fight or flight’ response. The conflicting fight or flight response is initiated when this part of brain cannot form a correct distinction between a real and a perceived threat. Alcohol suppresses the ‘fight or flight’ responses thus making one feel more relaxed. When heavy drinkers quit drinking alcohol, it alters the chemicals in the brain and the ‘amygdala’ gets into a hyper active mode. So, these withdrawal symptoms are caused by the way our brain responds to heavy consumption of alcohol.

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may appear anywhere ranging from six hours to a few days after the last drink consumed. They may worsen for over two to three days and may persist for weeks to follow. They are more noticeable when one wakes up with lesser blood alcohol content.

The symptoms include varied mild to moderate emotional and physical symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, nausea etc. They are more severe if an individual is a heavy drinker. But do not be discouraged, if you’ve decided to quit drinking alcohol you must plan it wisely. Another important point to remember is that you must take necessary medical assistance once you decide to get rid of alcohol dependency to keep a better tab on your health. We’ve listed down various symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal.

Psychological and Emotional Symptoms

-Irritation

-Anxiety

-Confusion

-Insomnia

-Agitation

Physical Symptoms

-Feeling of shakiness/ tremors

-Nausea

-Vomiting

-Sweating

-Increased heart rate

-Headache

-High Blood Pressure

In some extreme cases, these symptoms may get aggravated and even cause hallucinations, seizures, high fever. In the worst-case scenario and to an extreme level, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can also potentially turn life-threatening and one must seek immediate medical assistance.

To conclude, we’ll reiterate the words of wisdom for you. Never go cold turkey with alcohol, which means that you mustn’t quit suddenly. Make this a gradual shift because your body and mind need time to adapt. Remember that being brave and being stupid are two different things, please do seek medical assistance to make this brave transition to alcohol-free life. However, do not be discouraged, with appropriate medical assistance and a rock-solid emotional support system, you or your loved one can get rid of this dependency.

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