Alcohol is a very prevalent consumable in our society, and despite its popularity you’ve likely heard of its potential to be extremely addictive. Alcohol is a physically addictive drug, so unlike a psychological craving for something, a physical addiction causes physical and neurological changes to brain chemistry. These changes cause someone to physically depend on a substance and suffer withdrawals if they don’t ingest it. In this article, we take a closer look at what alcohol addiction involves to give you a clearer understanding of how it affects sufferers.
How alcohol addiction affects someone
There is a reason why alcohol detox centres in Melbourne are important to the healing of people with alcohol addictions – it can be extraordinarily hard to wean yourself off alcohol after you become addicted due to the extremely unpleasant side effects of withdrawal and the strong desire to continue drinking. Side effects of alcohol addiction can include physical pain and discomfort, insomnia, nausea, profuse sweating and heightened anxiety, symptoms which can combine to create an extremely unpleasant experience. These symptoms emerge after a period of not drinking – a period which depends entirely on the severity of the addiction and the person – but for some people it doesn’t take long at all. In addition to the physical sensations like sweating and experiencing nausea and insomnia, people addicted to alcohol may excessively worry about when they will be able to have their next drink and how they can access this drink and will usually need an excessive amount of alcohol to get drunk. This dependency on alcohol often causes people to think about or need to drink alcohol first thing in the morning to satiate their addiction and over time it can become very obvious to both friends and family the negative changes that are occurring.
The short-term and long-term negative effects of alcohol addiction
There are a considerable number of negative side effects that result from alcohol addiction. The short-term side effects can include depression, severe memory issues, anxiety, paranoia, seizures and vision degradation. There are also issues that stem from the poor diet that alcohol abuse relates to, which can include weight loss, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and much lower energy levels. The long-term effects of alcohol addiction include permanent brain damage, extreme liver damage, a much greater risk of cancers (including mouth and throat), a much greater risk of cardiovascular disease (including stroke, heart disease and heart failure) and the frequent development of illnesses due to an impaired immune system. Over time these side-effects worsen to a significant extent, which is why it is so important that someone addicted to alcohol gets help as soon as possible.
Where should you go from here?
If you or someone you know has an alcohol dependency, it’s important that you act as soon as possible. Whether it be you or someone else, getting in touch with your GP can help you develop a better understanding of what to do next and give you a platform to discuss concerns about the amount of alcohol you are drinking. There are also anonymous services available that you can reach out to that can help and provide advice in a non-judgemental and effective manner.