Alcohol is most typically described as a sedative type of hypnotic drug that actually directly affects the central nervous system by impairing or depressing its normal function. In its mildest form this effect results in a relaxed state of being. Most adults who drink will generally only drink alcohol in moderation and most often on a social basis. This is considered both normal and pleasurable.
On the other hand about one in five men and around one in seven women exceed the normal and socially acceptable amount of alcohol. This is typically in excess of standards that have been laid out by the Department of Health as being within healthy limits. The way that this is most often measured is in excess of two to three units of alcohol per day for both men and women, a unit is generally measured as the equivalent of a half pint of normal beer, a glass of wine or a single standard sized shot of spirits.
The Immediate or Short Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse
Short term or immediate effects of alcohol abuse are not quite a standard measurement because everyone generally handles the effects of alcohol in a different way. Generally most of the common short term effects of alcohol abuse will include a noticeable loss of coordination; the inability to walk normally, slurred speech or even the inability to communicate effectively or clearly, impaired judgment, loss or minimization of attention span, drowsiness and loss of normal inhibitions.
For the most part these effects are temporary and most of us have probably experienced at least a few of these effects from having one too many at a party or social event. Low amounts of alcohol are fine and the intended effect is relaxation and improved socialization but everyone has their own limit and the effects of alcohol become more and more noticeable the further over the personal limit someone goes. These are noticeable signs because the person will become more and more uncoordinated, slower, sleepier, less able to communicate or concentrate and so on. These are all signs that the person needs to stop drinking alcohol immediately and must not be allowed to drive a vehicle at all.
The Effects of Alcohol Abuse in the Long Term
The effects of alcohol abuse over a long period of time are extremely devastating to the human body and also the person’s life in general. The main area of damage due to long term alcohol abuse is the liver as well as the person’s central nervous system. Long term liver damage due to alcohol abuse can lead to a disease known as cirrhosis of the liver, a precursor to liver cancer which will ultimately result in complete liver failure and death.
Damage to the central nervous system can be extensive and can include damage to the brain which leads to impaired cognitive function, intellectual functioning, depression, anxiety, confusion and even dementia. Peripheral nervous system damage can affect the body in other ways, tremors, numbness of the extremities, loss of balance, impotence and in some cases even blindness. Additional effects of alcohol abuse include diabetes, internal bleeding, high blood pressure, weaker heart, pancreatic cancer, stroke and heart failure.
Understanding the Causes of Alcohol Addiction
The basic definition of alcohol addiction is the compulsive craving for any alcoholic substance such as wine, hard spirits such as whiskey, vodka and brandy as well as beer. The craving is something that cannot be resisted or indeed even controlled in any effective way and this is because the alcohol has created chemical changes within the brain and body that will cause discomfort and, in some cases even pain if long periods without alcohol are attempted, this is known as withdrawal symptoms.
There is also no real way for the alcoholic to limit the amount of alcohol that they consume for the same basic reason, their brains cannot switch off the need for the alcohol and so, in most cases the alcohol addict will drink until the y cannot physically drink any more or until they actually pass out. Withdrawal symptoms can be extremely unpleasant and in extreme cases even life threatening. Typical withdrawal symptoms will include increased anxiety, nausea, excessive sweating, and shakiness and so on. An alcoholic is typically someone who does not feel the so called high typically associated with bouts of excessive drinking.
While there are many who are under the impression that alcoholism is simply a choice and that, if so desired, the alcoholic drinker can simply quite whenever they choose to. This is not at all the case and in fact alcoholism is a brain disease, the alcoholics need to consume alcohol is so intense that the need simply overrules or overrides any other desire, such as the desire to not drink. There are also very few alcohol addicts out there that are able to quite on their own, most alcohol addicts need assistance such as the type of assistance that you get from a rehab treatment centre. Rehab treatment typically includes alcohol detox and addiction treatment.
There is also scientific research that shows that a person with a degree of alcohol addiction history in their family is more likely to form an addictive alcohol dependency than someone who does not show signs of a family history of alcoholism. Other factors that relate to the degree of alcoholism that and individual may experience relate to environment and any trauma that they have experienced in their lives, either childhood trauma or any trauma as a young adult. Additional factors include environmental culture, peer group pressure to start drinking, friends or family who drink excessively and popularize or glamourize it.
Treating Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol addiction or alcoholism is the chronic or compulsive craving for alcohol of which the person has no real control over. Alcohol addiction is a disorder of the brain and is not a matter of choice once the addiction has taken hold of the person. The defining indication of alcoholism is when the person experiences certain side effects if they stop drinking such as nausea, increased anxiety levels, sweating and shakiness or if the person has to drink more and more just to get that same buzz or high.
Alcohol addiction or alcoholism is not merely a matter of choice, the alcohol addict cannot simply decide to stop drinking and then miraculously just be cured of their addiction. Alcohol addiction, like any addiction is a disorder and can only really be properly treated with professional intervention at a rehab treatment centre. The alcohol addict’s craving for alcohol is all consuming and there is no real possibility of them actually being able to not drink on their own, in severe cases the alcohol addiction is so acute that any attempt at detox or withdrawal on their own could actually result in severe physical stress and even death.
With qualified and experienced assistance from an accredited rehabilitation centre or treatment centre the alcoholic can find the necessary steps and tools for their own recovery process. There is a mistaken belief that all addictions are the same and therefore only a single method of treatment is required. The fact of the matter is that every addiction is as individual as the person themselves and must be treated on an individual basis. Positive alcohol rehab programs include alcohol recovery therapy and, in more severe cases, strenuous alcohol detox treatment which is handled in a safe and medically supervised manner involving intensive therapy and the administering of certain helpful medications.
Other aspects of alcohol addiction treatment include addressing the addiction itself, examining the root causes of that particular individual’s addiction. This includes intensive interviews where certain aspects of the individuals life is examined in order to determine the underlying causes of the alcohol addiction such as family history of alcohol abuse, domestic violence, exposure as a child to emotional and mental trauma, culture, environment, peer pressure and so on.
Once root causes and triggers have been identified steps can be taken to address these and remove them to ensure a full and successful recovery from alcohol addiction.
Alcohol Rehab Centres in South Africa
Many people are unaware of the fact that alcohol dependency and addiction is actually a relatively common affliction that many families struggle with. Alcohol rehab centres can help those struggling with an alcohol addiction as well as their families and loved ones to heal and go on to lead fulfilling lives. We have a team of dedicated specialists at all each one of our comfortable and well-equipped alcohol rehabilitation centres. Feel free to contact us if you would like any information about we can help you and your family overcome alcohol addiction and get firmly on the road to recovery.
Understanding Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol addiction is a very serious disease that can destroy careers, families and eventually threatens the very life of the addict. Firstly, it if important to note that alcohol addiction is not just a mental or psychological disease, an alcoholic’s body is actually physically dependent on alcohol as well. This is why it is so important that the detoxification process is closely monitored and controlled by a team of experience medical professionals at an alcohol rehab centre. Both the physical and the mental/emotional aspects of the disease need to be treated in order for the addiction treatment to be successful in the long term.
Many addicts use alcohol because they cannot deal with certain realities that they are facing. Alcohol consumption generally helps them to dull the pain associated with particular circumstances that they may find themselves in and eventually, they cannot function without consuming alcohol. This is why comprehensive alcohol rehab treatment programs include skill building sessions that help addicts improve their problem solving skills so that they can deal with problems that they are facing wisely instead of turning to alcohol.
It is important to note that the abuse of alcohol over an extended period of time will have negative effects on the organs and systems of the body, the brain, liver, heart and kidneys are generally the most damaged. If alcohol addiction is left untreated, it will eventually result in the complete destruction of the body’s systems and organs. This is why it is important to seek help from a reputable alcohol rehab centre as quickly as possible. The addiction treatment and rehabilitation will help the addict’s body to recover and may be able to undo some of the damage done.
Addiction Treatment On Offer
We are able to assist both drug and alcohol addiction as all our rehab centres are full staffed and equipped to accommodate patients struggling with alcohol addiction and/or various drug addictions.
Kindly contact us if you would like more information about our drug and alcohol rehab centres and the addiction treatment programs on offer.
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- Drug Rehab
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Below are a few articles to guide you to your recovery
- Effects of Alcohol on the Body
- Types of Alcohol Rehab
- What is Alcohol Addiction
- What is Alcohol Rehabilitation
- Do I Need Alcohol Rehab
- Best Alcohol Rehab