Who is an Alcoholic?
According to Marty Alcoholism Mann, founder – consultant of the National Council on Alcoholism, “An alcoholic is someone whose drinking causes a continuing and a growing problem in any department of his life.” The keyword is “continuing.”
To illustrate: If drinking was causing a problem in the home life, social life, business, or professional life of a normal drinker, he could drink less, even though this might call for real determination.
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But with the Alcoholic, it’s different. Oh!, he may try to cut down. But no matter how much determination he may have, once he starts to drink, he is unable to control it, and thus drinking causes a “continuing” problem in his life.
What Makes One An Alcoholic?
A person becomes an alcoholic when he makes a habit of drinking and feels that he cannot control it. When he feels the need for a drink and says that he cannot restrain himself, he is on the way to becoming an alcoholic or is one already.
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At first, the addition may be psychological. The Alcoholic may feel that he has to have a drink to face life, or merely because he enjoys the effects.
But after prolonged use, physical dependence sets in. The body tissues literally become dependent on alcohol and, when denied it, severe withdrawal symptoms can occur.
Thus, a person is an alcoholic when he depends on alcohol and feels that he is not able to cut it off. In time, perhaps very gradually, he will progress to the point where his whole life is affected by his drinking. It will interfere with his family relationships, with his ability to earn a living and also with his health.
Problems Of An Alcoholic
From the enormous problems caused by drinking too much, it is obvious that alcohol is far more than just another beverage.
By acting to depress the central nervous system, alcohol affects one’s mood. Small amounts can be pleasurable. But larger amounts affect one’s judgment and reasoning, almost always for the worse.
With continued drinking, activities that require the control of arms and legs and other body parts are affected. Finally, excessive drinking interferes even with an automatic process such as breathing.
Some authorities say that the physical consequences of heavy drinking are more serious than those resulting from the use of heroin.
Dr. Harry Johnson, medical director of the Life Extension Institute of New York, says: ” The likelihood of death from acute alcohol poisoning and in withdrawal from chronic alcoholism is much greater than overdosage and in withdrawal from heroin addiction.”
Withdrawal symptoms can include nausea, hallucinations, severe agitation or convulsions, and in, extreme cases, death. These symptoms are part of what is called ” delirium tremens,” and this is estimated to have a 20 – percent mortality rate.
In advanced alcoholism the drinking binge is common. The Alcoholic gets drunk and stays that way for days. He becomes seriously malnourished, often filthy and unable to care for himself.
He is in danger of death due to the liver, brain, or other body damage, or from an accident. To forestall death, he must be detoxified.
He must stop drinking long enough for his body to eliminate the alcohol and restore itself to some measure of normal functioning. Full restoration can take months. But some damage, such as to the brain or liver, can be irreversible.
Reports indicate that “cirrhosis of the liver” is definitely identified with Alcoholism. The disease causes the liver to shrink and harden.
Research shows that such disease of the liver is the number three cause of death among middle-aged adults in the United States. In France, every third bed in psychiatric hospitals has a patient suffering from Alcoholism.
However, many alcoholics do not wait for disease or accident to complete the destruction of their bodies. They commit suicide.”
Studies show that the suicide rate among alcoholics is about 50 times greater than that of the general population,” observes the Atlanta Journal.
Factors Leading A Person To Become An Alcoholic
1. Bad Friends
2. Childhood Influences
3. Peer pressure
4. Feeling that it helps to escape from the depressions and anxieties of life
5. Less tolerance for alcohol
6. The mind and attitude towards alcohol
If you find that your body does not handle alcohol well, please it is best to avoid it altogether. If you can’t control it, please don’t even take one drink.
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One thing is clear: when a person feels he can’t go on without drinking for a long period of time, it is a solid indication that he is already in trouble with alcohol.
With the right kind of motivation, one can indeed acquire the determination to combat Alcoholism. If self-control is not exercised, it can become one of the worst curses afflicting the human family.
True, alcoholism is, however, controllable, and most counselors and recovering alcoholics agree that it can best be controlled only by total abstinence.