Stop Drinking: Taking That First Step

Dr. Purushothaman
September 11, 2013

Do you find yourself longing for the evening, only to grab a pint of beer or maybe down a few stiffs? Are you the first one to 'raise a toast to that' or propose a celebratory drink? Do you find these occasions where you decide to indulge yourself with just a couple of drinks cropping up a lot more frequently than they used to? If all of these situations sound distinctly familiar, then it's time to take a minute to seriously revaluate those drinking habits. For these are none but the precursors to the most pervasive addiction of the modern era Alcoholism.

When can a drinking habit be termed an addiction? Alcoholism or an addiction to alcohol can be determined as an overwhelming urge to partake of excessive amounts of alcohol, even when an individual's consumption patterns begin to have physical and psychological implications on him. These implications could range from social to personal where the individual begins to negatively impact his social ties, begins to suffer from several physical illnesses which can be attributed to his intake of alcohol, and begins to neglect his social and personal duties and responsibilities as a result of his drinking excesses.

The most common, and also the most grave, symptom of alcoholism, is when the individual fails to see the damage his addiction is causing himself, as well as those around him, even when the effects become apparent to those he interacts with. He is unable to comprehend the fact that his drinking habit is indeed doing him harm, and deludes himself with the reasoning that he is in control. And this is what leads him to start drinking secretly, and making up reasons to justify his drinking patterns, simply because he believes that he is being unnecessarily nagged, or even victimized.

The most prevalent causes of alcoholism are as physical as they are psychological. An individual who has a family history of alcoholism is genetically more susceptible to addiction. Also, if he is known to suffer from bouts of severe depression, or if his stress-coping mechanisms are poorly developed, he may recourse to alcohol to blot out his despair. Also, if you drink as a means to simply while away your time, you are already reeling on the verge of plunging into the deep, dark void that is alcoholism.

The consequences of alcohol abuse begin right when you down that first snifter. Your liver it is worst hit as alcohol steadily leads to inflammation, which soon develops into jaundice, if you keep up with the intake and ultimately Liver Cirrhosis. Here, the tissue is scarred forever, a change which cannot be reversed. Alcohol addiction also causes severe malnutrition on account of the impairment in the absorption of number essential nutrients it is responsible for. The habit of heavy drinking in women is also known to cause several pre-natal birth defects during pregnancy, an irregular menstrual cycle or even Amenorrhea. Alcohol addiction is also wont to cause several behavioral disorders which can start with marital discord and eventually even criminal and antisocial behaviors.

The most important aspect of your treatment for alcohol addiction is to just talk. Your physician will be the best person to gauge your drinking patterns and can suggest an appropriate counselor as per your level of dependence. If you are just at the higher end of the indulgence phase, your counselor will recommend that you simply cut down on your habit. However, for later stages, absolute abstinence is considered mandatory. Your physician may also recommend medication such as Valium and Campral to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms like palpitation and nausea. The most important part of your treatment is the phase which follows your therapy sessions. Here, sharing your own experiences and learning those of others proves to be of invaluable support in encouraging you to stick to your decision. It is also essential that during the initial phases of your recovery, you avoid any situations which may involve a round of drinks like 'nights out with the boys' or even cocktail events. There are also several other alternative therapies which have been known to considerably aid the process of de-addiction like hypnosis or even acupuncture.

Once you've taken that first step, it is crucial that you stick to it at all costs. And when you begin to find other ways to deal with stress and involve yourself in more rejuvenating recreational activities, you'll find that there's no high you get from alcohol, that life itself can't give you. Your first step is just the beginning down a long and healthy walk through life and once you're down that path, you'll find a world of opportunities open up to you with every step that you take!

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