Some people can control how much they drink, but others have risk factors that prevent them from drinking responsibly. When these people become addicted to alcohol, they’re often referred to as alcoholics.
Most addictive substances, including alcohol, affect the pleasure and reward center in the brain. Alcohol manipulates this system, which drives us to repeat behaviors that we enjoy. When people become addicted, their brains are chemically rewired to desire alcohol.
“We know that about 50 percent of the risk is genetic,” Dr. Kenneth Leonard, director of the Research Institute on Addictions. “The best predictor is actually family history because it looks as though there are many, many genes that carry the risk.”
Some people are more likely to become addicted to alcohol because their brains are more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Individuals with certain types of mental health disorders may also be more likely to become addicted to alcohol. These conditions are known as co-occurring disorders when they exist alongside alcohol addiction
Alcohol causes a range of health effects. Short-term side effects of alcohol abuse include alcohol poisoning and blacking out. Long-term health effects of alcohol include depression, anxiety and a variety of diseases and disorders.
Friends and family members of alcoholics also face the consequences of their loved one’s disease. Alcohol addiction causes legal, financial and relationship problems. Alcoholics often struggle to have healthy relationships with loved ones
Some people who are addicted to alcohol mix the substance with other drugs. But alcohol can cause dangerous interactions with over-the-counter drugs and some everyday substances, such as caffeine. When people mix alcohol with illicit or prescription drugs, the interactions can be life-threatening.
After rehab, individuals should continue to access support groups and recovery resources. Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the most well-known support groups for people in recovery from alcohol addiction.
Sober living homes, vocational training and family counselling can aid a person’s transition back to society after treatment. These resources increase a person’s ability to find purpose, connect with the community and rebuild relationships.
Reclaim Health Limited is a leading addiction treatment company providing personalised treatments and rehab throughout Uganda, offering a wide range of help and guidance for all types of addictions.
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