Alcohol addiction is a disorder that many adolescents and adults struggle with on a chronic basis. Breaking the cycle of addiction is difficult, no matter what the substance dependence is.
This form of addiction is also dangerous to the physical and mental health of the addicted person. In fact, many addiction treatment professionals consider alcohol to be the most dangerous drug. Compared to other drugs like opioids or tobacco, alcohol is responsible for more deaths and can be easily accessed by the general population. In 2018, the World Health Organization reported that over three million people across the world die each year as a result of alcohol consumption.
But what exactly makes this type of addiction so dangerous? Keep reading to learn more about alcohol addiction and its effects.
Severity of an Addiction of Alcohol
Like other chronic relapsing disorders, alcohol use disorder (AUD) can range in severity. Symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe, each having its own characteristics. In its mildest form, alcoholism can simply be an increased need to consume alcohol. Here, a person may desire to have more than the recommended amount of alcohol per day – which is one drink for females and two for males. They may experience an urge or a craving to drink, but it’s not overwhelming.
However, in more severe cases, it can cause significant damage to a person’s brain and body — taking control over their ability to function normally. Heavy alcohol use is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as four drinks per day for males and three for females. There is some variation to this, depending on a person’s genetic makeup.
Physical and Psychological Risks of Alcoholism
Although alcohol addiction is largely affected by a person’s behavior, it is a brain-based disorder. It alters the chemistry of your neural networks, making it harder for your brain’s communication pathways to work together. Psychologically, this causes all sorts of challenges, including:
- Increased symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Trouble with memory
- Difficulty learning new tasks or performing well academically
- A higher risk for spontaneous or risky behavior
People who are stressed are more at risk of developing an addiction to alcohol. For example, workaholics may use alcohol to cope with the stress of a fast-paced and complex job. However, what makes you feel better in the short-term, will more than likely make you feel worse in the future. The long-term risks of alcohol are not worth the temporary fix to a stressful solution. Here are some of the most common long-term physical health risks from alcohol addiction:
- Significant problems in the liver, including liver disease or cancer
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Increased risk for stroke or other neurological problems
Find Treatment for Your Alcohol Addiction
If you are struggling with alcohol addiction, you’re not alone. Seeking treatment for your addiction is the first step toward living a happy, healthy, and sober life. At American Treatment Network, we believe in restoring dignity in recovery. Using evidence-based practices, our care team focuses on improving your mental and physical health — giving you more control of your life. Contact us today to learn more about the treatments we offer for alcohol addiction.