When an individual has a dependence upon alcohol, it is known as alcoholism. Alcoholism is a disease that can cause many alcoholism symptoms and relentless cravings. In fact, these cravings can be extremely severe, and make a person feel that they need alcohol just as they would need food or water. Alcoholism is chronic (it will last the individuals entire lifespan). Alcoholism can be influenced by ones genetics as well as the lifestyle they lead.
Alcoholism can cause different types of symptoms. These include:
- The loss of control. An individual loses the ability to stop drinking once they have started.
- Dependence (physically) on alcohol. When one has not had alcoholic beverages, they will begin to go into withdrawals. This can include sweating, shaking, nausea, and anxiety.
- High tolerance. An individual’s tolerance of alcohol can build to higher and higher amounts when they frequently consume alcohol. Many alcoholics have a high tolerance, making them need more and more alcohol to satisfy their cravings.
Causes of Alcoholism
Some research shows that genetics can play a role in whether or not one becomes an alcoholic. However, although one inherits the genetic pattern, this does not mean they will automatically become addicted to alcohol. Lifestyle plays a large role.
You can become an alcoholic while alcoholism does not run in your family. You can develop a need for alcohol due to the amount you consume and the type of lifestyle you are leading. Alcohol being readily available and stress can play key roles in a person’s development of alcoholism.
You can avoid alcoholism by being aware of your actions and your genetics. If you are aware that alcoholism runs in your family, you know that genetically, you are more likely to develop the disease. By being aware of your family history and being alert of how much alcohol you consume, you can take the proper precautions to avoid the development of alcoholism.
Alcoholism symptoms can be very painful and disruptive. There are treatment programs that offer counseling as well as medications to help individuals stop drinking and begin a normal life. Three forms of oral medications:
- Disulfiram – makes an individual feel sick or squeamish after drinking to deter them from use.
- Naltrexone (An injectable form of this medication is also available) – reduces the cravings for alcohol, which helps them to abstain from alcohol usage.
- Acamprosate – reduces alcoholism symptoms when one is abstinent from alcohol use for a long period of time.
These medications are used not only to help treat alcoholism symptoms, but help to reduce the dependency of drinking, avoid the probability of relapse, and to help maintain abstinence from alcohol. There is no medication that will automatically cure someone of alcoholism. All medications will effect persons differently and some forms may not work at all. Other types of medications are available, but the above listed are the most commonly used oral forms.
Treatment success rates vary. Some people stop using and stay sober for the remainder of their lives, while others will be sober for months and relapse, becoming sober again later. Alcoholism is a real disease with real symptoms. Each person will respond to alcoholism and it’s treatments in different ways.