What is alcohol? What constitutes alcohol abuse and alcoholism? What effect does it have on the body? Understanding these questions can help you become educated to prevent alcohol abuse and alcoholism, and prevent any problems before they arise.
Alcohol is a drug! Alcohol is classified as a depressant, which is why after drinking you develop slurred speech, decreased reflexes, and unsteady movements. Everyone reacts differently to alcohol, which is why it is important to know how you react to alcohol and at what point it starts interfering with your life. When your drinking affects your life, you have a drinking problem such as alcohol abuse or even alcoholism.
This post provides education on the differences between alcohol abuse and alcoholism. One of the main differences in alcohol abuse and alcoholism is being able to still set limits on drinking, even though the drinking may still be causing a lot of life problems as addressed below.
Signs of Alcohol abuse include: drinking as a way to de-stress, continuing to drink even though alcohol is causing problems in your relationships, school, work, or home environments, using alcohol when it is dangerous, and experiencing legal problems related to your alcohol use.
Signs of Alcoholism: losing control over drinking, tolerance (meaning you need to keep drinking more to feel effects), withdrawal symptoms (symptoms experienced after not having alcohol for a period of time), drinking even though you know it is causing problems.
Alcohol abuse and alcoholism affects all aspects of your life such as: your long term health, emotions, relationships with others, and ability to work.
Alcohol can cause a lot of damaging long term effects on the body these include:
- Brain: changes in mood and behavior
- Heart: irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure, and enlargement of the heart
- Liver: fatty liver, cirrhosis, fibrosis, alcoholic hepatitis
- Cancer: mouth, throat, liver, breast
Alcoholics and alcohol abusers are more likely to get divorced, be unemployed, live in poverty, and lose friends and family. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.