Alcohol addiction is a progressive disease that in most cases will get worse if left untreated. Simply trying not to drink as much usually does not work. Furthermore, regular drinkers develop a tolerance to alcohol and typically will continue to drink larger amounts over time. Given the range of potential consequences that may result from alcohol addiction, anyone who is suffering from this disease should seek professional help.
Why Is Alcohol Addiction So Dangerous?
Many people do not consider alcohol to be a drug; you often hear the comment “drugs and alcohol” as if alcohol were distinct from other drugs of abuse. The fact is, however, that alcohol is a drug, and a hard drug at that. In a study sponsored by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), psychiatrist Aaron M. White, Ph.D., sums up alcohol’s standing among drugs of abuse in the following way, “If recreational drugs were tools, alcohol would be a sledgehammer.” Over the years many critics of the inconsistencies of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) have asserted that alcohol should be listed as a Schedule I controlled substance since it has no medical value and is highly prone to abuse.
Alcohol acts as a poison in the body, which is why the body so often attempts to expel alcohol by vomiting and why alcohol overdose is also known as alcohol poisoning. And unlike many other drugs that act primarily on the brain and nervous system, alcohol directly impacts many other vital organs as well. As long ago as 1935, researcher Dr. Robert Fleming, M.D., of Boston Psychopathic Hospital, spoke of the “almost infinite diversity of symptoms that may ensue from the action of this single toxic agent” and goes on to detail the ways in which alcohol can damage virtually all tissues in the body.
Alcohol is especially hard on the gastrointestinal tract and can cause an array of serious health problems throughout the areas of the GI tract from the mouth to the anus. The liver is especially vulnerable to alcohol, and chronic use very often results in serious liver damage that may be untreatable, irreversible and fatal.
Alcoholism may also lead to an assortment of indirect consequences as well, including accidental injury and death.
Addressing Alcohol Addiction
Any degree of alcohol addiction and/or dependence is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. Alcoholism is extremely difficult to conquer alone, so the best course of action is to seek the counsel, assistance and support of others with expertise in the field.
The first step is to determine the degree of your addiction; you may be simply a situational “problem drinker” who is not yet physically dependent on alcohol, or you may be physically dependent and suffer withdrawal symptoms if you attempt to stop drinking. A doctor or addiction treatment specialist can help you to determine your level of addiction and the best course of action to follow in order to overcome this potentially deadly disease.
Finding Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
There are many resources available to help alcoholics overcome their disease. If you would like assistance finding the resources to combat alcohol addiction, please call our toll-free helpline today. Counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you may have and help you find the treatment you need.