These days’ enjoyment and alcohol have become synonymous in terms of social get-togethers. Social drinking has indeed become a part of our culture. Many people, with no gender specifications, consume alcohol all throughout their lives.
However, without realizing, this alcohol intake that is described as a form of binging takes an ugly turn into alcohol abuse. The consequences of alcohol abuse are a matter of serious concern.
It is responsible for thousands of innocent deaths every year. The increased intake of alcohol leads to addiction, wherein one gets physically dependent on alcohol and drinking becomes the focal point of life. Subsequently, alcoholism leads to serious medical and social problems.
There is no single reason for alcohol abuse. The situation arises due to a combination of many factors. Also, in today’s times drinking is so prevalent in all walks of life that it gets difficult to identify addiction. Risk facts linked to alcohol abuse include family history, history of mental illness, stressful circumstances and peer pressure. Drinking graduates to a dangerous level when it becomes the focal point in life overpowering one’s responsibilities towards profession, family and friends.
The symptoms of alcoholism are evident in the form of physical dependence on alcohol and inability to stop despite severe physical and psychological repercussions. Some alcoholics may hold on at the superficial level but the addiction eventually leads to impaired professional performance and strained relationships. The physical signs of alcohol abuse are weight loss, unexplained upset stomach, numbness in hands and feet, slurred speech and unsteadiness while intoxicated and black outs on excessive consumption. In people suffering from alcohol dependence, refraining from alcohol results in withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, shaking, nausea, vomiting, confusion and under extreme circumstances seizures and hallucinations. The mental signs of alcohol abuse include increased irritability, anger and agitation; avoiding activities that do not offer the opportunity to drink; difficulty in keeping commitments; oversleeping; excessive weeping and emotional displays. In comparison to the youth, adults in the higher age bracket show a lesser susceptibility to alcohol abuse. Sometimes it gets difficult to assess the risk involved as the symptoms are mistaken with the mental health condition of depression, commonly seen in elders.
In an attempt to retrieve a more serious situation, health care providers have assessment screens for alcohol abuse. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism also provides a screening questionnaire for assessing the differences between alcohol abuse and alcoholic dependence. These are basically preventive tests that are undertaken even when no symptoms of a problem are evident. The aim behind such screening tests is to catch a medical condition at the very onset, which makes the treatment more effective. Assessment screens vary from one individual to another on the basis of age, sex and medical history. Such screening methodologies serve as great tools for getting acquainted with the personal risk of contracting certain diseases and thereafter, chalking out a plan to improve one’s health.
Screening tests offer a platform to verify whether the drinking pattern is safe, risky or harmful. Once the level of reliance on alcohol is known, one can avail treatment to prevent addiction that further increases the risk of injury, illness and future alcohol problems. It is believed that for 1 in 13 American adults, alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence causes substantial harm to their health and disruption in their lives. Are you one of them?
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