Alcohol addiction is one of the most debilitating and dangerous of all the substances regularly abused by patients. Although not as stigmatized by society alcohol use remains one of the most problematic issues facing society today. Its use is legal, however it is still a controlled substance and effectively lowers inhibitions and is considered an antidepressant. It has a broad range of side effects in the user resulting in loss of motor coordination and slurred speech. Not everyone who abuses alcohol is considered addicted, but when the use of alcohol demonstrates consistent negative consequences in the user over periods of time it is classified as an addiction. A particularly concerning aspect of alcoholism is binge drinking defined as having 5 or more drinks within a two hour period for men and 4 for women. Binge drinking is typically found more often in the college atmosphere of fraternity and sorority parties. The physical and mental toll left in the wake of alcohol dependence often affects countless lives aside from the user themselves. Alcohol withdrawal is one of the more severe substances to quit with high intake users susceptible to seizure and even death. High-functioning alcoholics often rationalize their behavior by pointing to their ability to reconcile it with their daily obligations.
Alcohol is the most prevalent and widespread used addictive substance in the United States: 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, are adversely affected from dependence on alcohol along with several million more who participate in risky behaviors associated with alcohol use potentially spiralling into full-blown addiction in later stages. Almost half of the adult population has a genetic predilection and family history of alcohol abuse and more than 7 million children live in households where either one or both of the parents are alcoholics. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can negatively impact virtually every area of a person’s life. Long-term alcohol use can lead to a variety of health issues, emotional instability, financial woes and strained relationships with family and friends.
Alcoholism has less to do with how much, how long, and what kind of alcohol being abused and centers on the inability of the person behind the addiction to stop. This uncontrollable urge to drink is the hallmark of alcohol addiction and the reason why people need help from professionals when quitting. The majority of alcoholics have little ability to temper and moderate their drinking and this leads to binge drinking episodes. The need for alcohol often supplants the need for the basic necessities of life like food, water and shelter. There are some instances of people quitting on their own, however the lionshare majority of the population must rely on outside professional support and resources. With a solid support system and foundation in place many are able to quit alcohol for good and continue living productive lives.