The effects of alcohol abuse

When it comes down to one of the most abused substances in the world, alcohol sits at the top alongside drugs. Many downsides come with abusing drugs, but health-wise, taking too much alcohol can destroy the health of an individual over time.

The worst part is, the individual would not be aware that their life is gradually fading away because they might not experience any immediate effect. It would be interesting to mention that there are people who take moderate alcohol amounts and they don’t suffer for it.

However, others take the same amount of alcohol which gravely affects their health. In the long run, alcohol abuse can affect the brain and it can cause alcohol addiction which is a compulsive and obsessive brain disorder.

If it is diagnosed quite early, alcohol abuse can be stopped, which also means that alcohol addiction can be prevented. On the Human heart, alcohol abuse causes various effects like irregular heartbeat, stroke, and high blood pressure.

For the liver, alcohol abuse causes inflammation of the liver, fibrosis, and cirrhosis. The kidneys are not left out as someone who abuses alcohol can cause chronic kidney problems and kidney failure.

Also, alcohol abuse has a grave effect on the pancreas causing problems like the swelling and inflammation of blood vessels which prevents smooth digestion. Anyone who abuses alcohol would not have a strong immune system as they would be susceptible to many diseases.

Asides from health issues, alcohol abuse affects human behavior. To begin with, if you observe that an individual has continuous slurred speech, confusion, forgetfulness, and other related symptoms, it is easy to tell that they abuse alcohol regularly.

Drivers who experience these symptoms are more likely to be victims of road accidents because they are not properly coordinated on the road.

Alcohol abuse can also make people engage in sexual behaviors that are not healthy for them. Hence, the expected repercussions are unwanted pregnancies, the contraction of different types of diseases, amongst others.

How drug abuse develops

Drug abuse precedes drug addiction. This is why health professionals will advise that the best way to handle both drug abuse and drug addiction is to practice total abstinence. Drug abuse can begin in different ways. Hence, it is important to be observant to avoid them.

Some people begin to abuse drugs innocently when the drug was earlier administered as a painkiller or sedative that provides them with comfort. Because we are humans, some of us want the feeling we get from these drugs to continue.

So, some individuals go-ahead to continue taking these drugs without the notice of the health professional. Deep down, they know that their healthcare provider would not approve, so they prefer to visit over-the-counter store owners to get these drugs.

When drug abuse is in its early phase, it is viewed as a harmless act. However, as it develops, the individual begins to realize that it gets harder to stop the habit.

Gradually, the habit begins to take over other aspects of their lives. Everything begins to revolve around the abusive habit because the individual finds it difficult to quit at this point.

Later on, the drug abuse develops into a full-blown addiction. This is the point where the individual has developed a compulsive and obsessive brain disorder that makes drug abuse impossible to stop.

So, even though they exercise willpower, it lasts for a short time because they will soon return to revisit their bad habits.

Drug abuse gets worse when the individual is around people who can make his condition worse. So, it even gets increasingly difficult to break the habit because he would be seen as the black sheep in the fold.

The development of drug abuse comes with some noticeable symptoms that the individual begins to notice. Worthy of mention are symptoms are euphoric feelings, sleeplessness, etc.

Individuals who abuse drugs are advised to seek help before their case develops into an addiction problem. With prompt screening, the right medications, and learning effective coping skills, it would be possible to keep drug abuse at bay.

HOW ALCOHOL ABUSE DEVELOPS

Alcohol abuse is the phase before addiction. Usually, there is a 90% chance that someone who abuses alcohol will eventually end up addicted.

The reason for this is, they have reached the stage where alcohol is what they depend on to feel good and cope with whatever situation or condition they find themselves in.

There is no specific way for the development of alcohol abuse. Better put, there are various possible streams for alcohol abuse development.

One of such streams is early age drinking. Some people began drinking at an early age because of either their parents or friends. At this stage, they do not have any justifiable reason for taking alcohol, but since their parents are taking it, they follow their lead too.

Typically, teenager would drink alcohol with their friends because they do not want to be left out. With time, they develop alcohol dependence where they find it very hard to quit.

Another possible stream responsible for the development of alcohol abuse is mental health problems. People who experience anxiety and depression are more likely to abuse alcohol.

This is because, alcohol makes them cope with these conditions temporarily. However, it gets to a time where they cannot cope with it anymore and they have to increase the intake.

In addition to this, there are people who because of stress, start abusing alcohol and this is based in misinformation.

Alcohol does not help stress go away entirely, the best it can do is to subside it for some hours. This does not mean that the stress levels have entirely gone down.

People who are greatly stressed at their jobs are usually prone to abusing alcohol and they become addicted later on.

In order to prevent alcohol abuse, it is best to inculcate healthy methods. A nutritious diet is needed. Moreso, it is beneficial to undergo exercise and sleep well. It is also necessary to pay a visit to the doctor on a regular basis for health checks in order to prevent any underlying medical problem.

Effect of Long-term Alcohol Abuse

Most people are familiar with the fact that long-term alcohol abuse is associated with damage to the liver, but there are other results that are less well-known.  Another common impact of alcohol abuse is cardiovascular problems including high blood pressure and stroke.  Because alcohol is ingested orally, damage to the stomach lining is a frequent problem.  Cancer of the mouth and throat may also occur.  Diabetes is also a common result of long-term alcohol abuse.  As these physical problems persist, the body’s ability to recover from alcohol use may be damaged.  As alcohol abuse becomes more excessive, the abuser may black out or even die.  It is also commonly known that alcohol use by pregnant women can result in damage to the unborn baby, known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome .

Other problems are associated with alcohol abuse, even if they are not directly caused by it.  Many deaths result from people who drive while under the influence of alcohol.  This puts both the abuser and other people on the street in danger.  Aside from drunken driving, people under the influence of alcohol may suffer from unsteadiness or be unusually clumsy.  They may also exhibit poor decision-making ability.  Poor decision-making may lead to violence against other persons, especially family members.  Excessive drinking may also result in a failure to maintain adequate nutrition.  Obviously, as alcohol abuse continues over time, its impact on the body gets worse.  The abuse of alcohol harms the drinker, resulting in damage to the major organ systems of the body, especially the cardiovascular system and the gastric system.  These negative effects on the body are accompanied by a negative impact on inter-personal relationships, on the person’s career and the person’s general living conditions.

The person who abuses alcohol also negatively impacts those closest to them.  Children may suffer as family resources are diverted to the purchase of alcohol.  Family and friends by suffer from the poor decisions made by the drinker.  Random people may suffer from the poor decisions of the drinker, especially in the case of driving under the influence of alcohol.  In simple terms, the long-term abuse of alcohol harms both the drinker and others around them.

This brief summary of the effects of long-term alcohol abuse makes it clear that excessive drinking puts both the drinker and others in their life, especially family and friends, in greater danger.  The decision to engage in alcohol abuse or to continue that abuse harms even those who do not have any say in the decision.

Canadians who are struggling with alcohol abuse tendencies should contact an Alberta alcohol rehab to begin treatment. For a more thorough discussion of the impact of alcohol abuse, check out this website:  pubs.niaaa.nih.gov › Publications

Medication Assisted Treatment

Especially in the case of opioid addiction, the physical challenge of recovery can be especially painful.  The human brain adapts itself to the presence of opioids and when the opioids are no longer there it takes some time for the brain to readjust.  In the meantime, the former victim of opioid addiction experiences an almost complete lack of pleasure.  The presence of opioids has caused the brain to lower its own pleasure-producing neurochemicals and to increase the amount of such neurochemicals needed to generate a pleasant feeling.  The result, again, is that the former victim of opioid addiction is left a nearly complete lack of pleasant feelings.  In addition, the former addict experiences a great deal of physical pain

Opioid withdrawal symptoms begin mere hours after use of opioids is terminated.  Symptoms include nausea, muscle cramping, depression, agitation, difficulty sleeping, runny nose, excessive sweating, racing heart and anxiety.   After a few days, diarrhea and stomach cramps may develop.  Cravings for the drug may continue for some time.  In addition, if psychological problems were part of the reason why drug abuse initially started, these symptoms may reappear.

Because of this, many recovering opioid addicts make use of medication assisted treatment using chemicals such as naltrexone and methadone.  These chemicals eliminate the high that victims of opioid abuse formerly received from their drug, without the addictive properties of opioids.  Additionally, Methadone blocks the high that addicts received from opioids.  Even if the person should continue to abuse opioids, they will not experience the accompanying high that they did previously.   Naltrexone provides similar support to recovering opioid addicts.

There are a variety of opinions regarding the duration of medicine assisted recovery, ranging from several months to several years.  Dosage is often reduced as the person continues through recovery.  Unfortunately, some people on medicine assisted treatment discover that they develop an addiction to methadone.  This will require them to withdraw from Methadone as they previously did from opioids, although the recovery will be much easier than the recovery from opioids.  The ultimate goal, of course, is complete cessation of the medication.  Beyond providing some alleviation of the symptoms of opioid withdrawal, medicine assisted recovery helps the victim of addiction to participate in addiction counseling.  They will learn skills to manage their lives without opioids or other drugs.  At some point, the victim of opioid addiction will be able to manage their lives without either opioids or other medications.  Some people claim that the habit of using drugs to manage their lives will never entirely go away.  The hope is that, through addiction counseling, the person will learn to manage such cravings.

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/methadone

Blame

Blame can be a great tool for protecting yourself.  As long as you can point your finger at somebody else, you don’t have to accept any guilt.  If your mistakes and problems are somebody else’s fault, then you can excuse yourself.  Sadly, it can be pretty easy to blame somebody else for your decision to use drugs.  Maybe somebody else got you to try drugs, perhaps by using peer pressure.  Maybe the stress of your job made you look for some way to escape.  Maybe you have been treated badly or even abused by others, so you needed some way to cope with your problems.  Maybe you suffer from depression or bipolar disorder, and you need drugs to cope with the suffering in your life.  Maybe you suffer from chronic pain, and you need drugs to cope with the pain.  The list of reasons why people say they need to use drugs is long and very sad.

There’s an old saying, however, that when you point your finger at somebody else, that leaves four other fingers pointing back at you.  In other words, blaming other people really doesn’t help.  Unless somebody holds you down and forces the drug into your system, you have made a choice to use.  And not just the first time, but every time you used.  Let’s face it.  Nobody ever really held you down and forced you to swallow a pill or a bottle of gin.  There may have been pressure of some kind or other, but the fact is that you made a choice to use.  Every. Time. You. Used.  The problem with blaming others for our addiction is that you surrender your freedom.  If you are willing to assert that your use of drugs is in the hands of others, then you implicitly admit that you are helpless.

You’re not helpless.  You made have made poor choices in the past.  For any of a variety of reasons, you may have decided that using drugs was the answer to your problems.  The important thing to realize is that you made a decision and repeatedly chose to continue down that path.  Blaming doesn’t do any good for you or for anyone else.  Blaming is an attempt to exempt yourself from the guilt for what you have done.  All it really accomplishes is to prevent you from moving forward to recovery.  Pointing fingers is, pardon the pun, pointless.  Give it up.  Stop blaming.  Stand up and make better decisions in the future.

Responsibility

One of the challenges of recovery from addiction is the acknowledgement of the damage you have caused in your own life and the lives of others.  Parents must sometimes admit that their addiction has left them unable to provide proper care for their children.  Employees must sometimes admit that they have not performed their duties at work because they were more focused on getting more of their drug of choice than on completing their work.  Worse, they may have to admit that work sometimes just didn’t get done because they were unable to get to work.  Recovering addicts must admit that money which should have been used to pay bills was instead used to buy drugs.  The wreckage of a life of addiction must be confronted and acknowledged, and that can be both difficult and painful.

We must be careful, however, that acknowledging the damage we have caused no lead us to wallow in guilt and shame.  It is one thing to admit that we have done wrong; it is something very different to give in to self-hatred and despondency.  That fact that we have done wrong does not necessarily make us bad people.  The wreckage of our past is part of the reality of addiction.  Our failure to live up to our potential is a result of our addiction to drugs, not of simple laziness or inattention.  This does not mean that we can exempt ourselves of any responsibility for our past.  Rather, we must acknowledge that our decision to use drugs and to continue using drugs has harmed both ourselves and others.

Just as we must take responsibility for the damage we have caused, we must also take responsibility for our present and future choices.  We made choices in the past to engage in self-destructive behaviors, including the use of drugs to cope with our lives.  That is the past.  Now, we are given the opportunity to make different, better choices.  In the Gospels, Jesus is presented with a woman who was engaged in adultery.  He does not condemn her for her past, but He does expect her to make better choices in the future.  “Neither do I condemn you.  Go your way and sin no more.”  He offers the same message to us.  He does not condemn us, but He does expect us to make better choices in the future.  Your past is over and done with.  Your future is in your hands.  What will you do with it?

http://www.amhc.org/1408-addictions/article/48356-addiction-and-personal-responsibility-a-fundamental-conflict

Honesty

To some degree, living with addiction requires an element of dishonesty.  We may need to lie to family or friends about our use of drugs.  We may lie to supervisors at work about why we are absent or why our work is slipping.  We may lie in order to get the money we need to purchase our drug of choice.  We may like to ourselves about the extent of our drug use or make excuses about our need to use drugs.  Some research indicates that people who abuse drugs often come from the more intelligent among us.  This isn’t really surprising, considering the fact that victims of addiction must keep track of an entire web of deceit.  That can’t be easy to manage.  You have to remember who you told what lie to.

This is one of many reasons why the person who abuses drugs is living a very difficult lifestyle.  Beyond the web of lies that must be maintained, the victim of addiction must often give up other things they enjoy in order to continue their use of drugs.  Addicts often end up living in unsafe, very risky situations and may engage in behaviors that leave themselves or others open to great harm.  Even here, dishonestly is at work, since the addict often lies to themselves or others about how dangerous their behavior is.

Addictive behavior does not want to speak the truth, nor does it want to hear the truth.  The victim of addiction can become angry and resentful when somebody speaks the truth to them about their addictive behavior.  To point out to an addict what they are really doing is often to risk rejection, anger and avoidance.  The attempt to break through the addict’s web of lies often results in verbal attacks on the one speaking the truth.  The addict knows, on some level, that their web of lies is necessary to the maintenance of their addiction.

Honesty is indispensable to recovery.  As long as you continue to lie to yourself or others, you will not be able to move forward into recovery.  Addiction cannot survive in an environment of total honesty.  Addiction is, at least in part, an attempt to escape from reality, so a real and full acknowledgement of one’s reality cannot coexist with addiction.  The two are diametrically opposed.  God calls us to live the truth in our words and in our deeds.  As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are to both hear and speak the truth.

The Addiction blog has posts relating to honesty in recovery.  Find it at http://alcohol.addictionblog.org/honesty-and-self-deception-in-drug-or-alcohol-addiction/