What Is Chronic Alcohol Abuse?
When one thinks about alcoholism, it usually conjures images of a chronic alcoholic; typically male, homeless, overly aggressive, peddling for beer and alcohol on the side of the road, and unable to keep a job or take care of familial obligations because of their excessive drinking habits. But, what is chronic alcohol abuse?
Chronic alcohol abuse is one of the last stages of alcoholism. Chronic alcoholism has three central components: physical dependence, mental dependence, and tolerance. Those suffering from the last stages of alcoholism are unable to stop on their own because their bodies have become physically dependent on alcohol to function normally. Along with physical dependence, those suffering from chronic alcohol addiction are unable to live without alcohol. Alcohol becomes their means of comfort and stability, even as it destroys their relationships with friends, family, and work associates.
Those with a chronic alcohol addiction will experience severe withdrawal symptoms once they stop drinking. Specifically, alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances to detox the body from. As a result, it is critical to always enroll in an accredited alcohol treatment center to prevent the chances of fatality, and complications, during withdrawal. Those who attempt to withdrawal from alcohol at home are prone to relapse quickly and can suffer medical complications which can lead to death.
Chronic Alcohol Abuse Symptoms
Many who leave alcohol use disorders untreated will develop co-disorders in the late stages of alcoholism. These co-disorders include liver damage, heart failure, cancers, chronic anxiety, depression, and permanent brain damage. Recognize the signs before they cause irreparable damage by identifying the symptoms of alcoholism before your alcohol use disorder becomes severe. These symptoms include:
- Drinking alone
- Depending on alcohol in times of stress
- Turning to alcohol as a means of entertainment
- Associating with drinkers
- Drinking early on in the day and late into the night
- Breaking down of family and professional responsibilities
- Shifting personality
Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Alcohol Addiction
Once alcoholism is firmly established, enrolling into a chronic alcoholism treatment center is necessary to prevent further damage to the alcoholic and their loved ones. Chronic alcoholism affects you, but more importantly it has a measurable influence on children and loved ones. Chronic alcoholics pass down their genes, and habits, of addiction and make their children more susceptible to addiction in the future. In fact, growing up with a parent that has an untreated alcohol use disorder puts children at severe risk of abusing alcohol, prescription medications, or illicit substances.
The symptoms following are common of chronic alcohol addiction:
- Body tremors and convulsions
- Excessive sweating
- Extreme anxiety disorders
- Auditory & visual hallucinations
- Liver disease
- Heart failure
- Permanent brain damage
- Erectile dysfunction
- Delirium tremens
- Infertility for both men and women
Chronic Alcoholism Recovery
It is crucial to secure chronic alcoholism treatment before a person reaches the late stages of alcoholism, since, overcoming chronic alcohol dependence is possible with extensive alcohol addiction treatment. Once alcohol detoxification is completed recovering addicts are able to attend residential alcohol addiction treatment to get to the bottom of the causes of addiction.
Addiction, to either alcohol or drugs, stems from deep emotional scars which have not been properly addressed. During therapy addicts learn how to communicate and resolve the underlying issues of addiction in order to move their lives forward. Working extensively with counselors, recovering alcoholics learn how to change their behaviors and penchants to use alcohol as a crutch.
Treating the physical and mental dependency on alcohol may be supplemented with medically assisted drug treatment. A popular medication used in chronic alcoholism treatment is naltrexone. As a non opiate substance, naltrexone does not have a risk for abuse and is used to help recovering addicts cope with the initial cravings for alcohol. As the body relinquishes its physical attachment to alcohol one’s tolerance levels deplete. It’s critical to remain in a 24 hour medical institution as relapse during this time is common, and can be fatal as a result of alcohol poisoning. Knowing when to get treatment is half the battle, many suffering from chronic alcohol addiction are afraid of undergoing the withdrawal process. But now with the advent of medically assisted drug treatment, alcohol detoxification is safer, more comfortable, and more effective.