As a legalized drug, alcohol is one of the least expensive and easiest drugs to obtain on the market. It’s available everywhere you look, from the corner market to the liquor store, and the private stash in the liquor cabinet at home. While there is an established drinking age, it is so easy to access that it is one of the first drugs of choice for underage drinkers. Alcohol use easily crosses the line to alcohol abuse and knows no boundaries. It is used by our youth, the elderly, and everyone in between. Alcohol is used by men and women, isn’t restricted to any one economic group, acting as a gateway to many other kinds of drug use. Once people become victims of alcohol abuse, it is a long, slippery slope that is very difficult to climb.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, it is estimated that at least 17 million Americans are victims of alcohol abuse, with nearly twenty five percent of people age eighteen or above taking part in binge drinking or heavy drinking on a regular basis. On an annual basis, alcohol-related deaths number near 90,000, a number that is frightening in itself. For many Americans, alcohol abuse may begin as casual, social drinking. However, it easily becomes an addiction, one that cannot be broken without treatment. Because alcohol is so easy to obtain and is relatively inexpensive, it makes it even more challenging for individuals to break free from alcohol. It takes over their bodies and minds with cravings that are nearly insurmountable.
The Effects of Chronic Alcohol Use
When alcohol is used on a regular basis in large amounts, it has serious effects on the body. It actually trains the brain to have a craving for alcohol that cannot be denied to the point that a victim of alcoholism cannot get through a day without a drink. If an alcoholic stops drinking, painful withdrawal symptoms will occur as the body is detoxified. Shaking, fever, nausea, and chills are common, to the point of making a person’s life miserable. Quit using alcohol and it can feel like the worst case of the flu, with aches and pains that won’t go away, weakness, heightened anxiety, and a depressed state. However, continued use of alcohol is a major problem as well. Using alcohol over time can result in:
- High blood pressure
- Dangerous heart conditions
- Cirrhosis or fibrosis of the liver
- Various forms of cancer
- A higher risk of diabetes
Regardless of age, young or old, chronic alcohol use wreaks havoc on the human body. It leads the way on the path to destruction, wrecking careers, relationships, and lives in the process. For anyone who is lost in the vicious cycle of alcohol addiction, breaking free is the only answer.
Ending the Cycle of Alcohol Abuse: Help is Essential
For individuals who are battling alcohol abuse, it is absolutely necessary to stop drinking. In order to do so, they must be cut off from the source of their addiction and stop having exposure to any type of alcohol. It isn’t possible to cut back to a little or be an occasional drinker. Alcoholism is an addiction and can no longer be fed into by further drinking. Individuals battling alcoholism need a strong support network, including family, friends, and professionals who are dedicated to helping them find the road to recovery. It is not a problem to be faced alone, otherwise regression is likely.
Finding Help for Alcohol Abuse
There are many sources of help for alcohol abuse, from outpatient programs to inpatient programs and support groups. However, the most effective form of treatment is an inpatient rehabilitation facility where victims of addiction are completely removed from the temptation. They are provided with a safe environment and caring staff members while they undergo detoxification. Once withdrawal is over, victims of alcohol abuse can focus on recovery, gaining a true understanding of their addiction and trigger factors. The end goal is a life of sobriety, free from alcohol abuse for the future.
Freedom from Alcohol Abuse is Possible
While many individuals are able to use alcohol in a responsible manner, using it on an occasional basis and within healthy limits, many people cannot control their drinking. When they are willing to recognize that their alcohol abuse is a problem, they can get help. Through the combined efforts of loved ones and a support team of professionals, it is possible to break the hold of alcohol on an alcoholic’s life. A bright future lies ahead for those who finally free themselves from the stranglehold of alcohol through continuous effort.