Alcohol Abuse

The post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.

For many people, one of the best parts of their day is getting home from work or school and cracking open a bottle of beer or having a glass of wine. This gives them a chance to wind down, relax, and unwind after a long, eventful day. 

Other people regularly turn to alcohol, even throughout the day, whenever they’re feeling sad, stressed, or lonely. For them, what often started as a simple way to get their mind off of something turned into a behavior they couldn’t seem to shake. This is where alcohol can begin to form its grip, leading someone to abuse it. 

While alcohol isn’t always harmful, it can have negative consequences if it isn’t consumed in moderation and for the right reasons. In the following article, we’ll be discussing what alcohol abuse is, what may put people at a higher risk of it, its symptoms, and potential treatment options to pursue during recovery. 

What Is Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol abuse refers to harmful behaviors associated with drinking. Other terms people may use to describe this condition include alcohol addiction, alcohol dependence, substance use disorder, and alcoholism. 

When someone abuses alcohol, they may use it to cope with stress and avoid negative feelings. Alcohol abuse can create severe problems in an individual’s life, wreaking havoc on their relationships, work or school performance, and home life. Many people have a hard time quitting drinking, even when they experience these negative consequences. 

Often, intervention and treatment are needed to help someone develop a healthier relationship with alcohol, but most have to stop drinking altogether, as even one drink can cause people to relapse or fall back into harmful patterns.

Alcohol Abuse: Risk Factors

When someone starts abusing alcohol, there can be a number of causes behind the behavior. Some of these factors include: 

  • Going through a traumatic experience 
  • Living with depression, anxiety, or another mental disorder
  • Beginning drinking at a young age 
  • Having a family history of alcoholism or addiction
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Lack of monitoring by one’s family/caregivers
  • Regularly having high stress levels
  • Being pushed to drink by one’s peers

Having any of these risk factors doesn’t mean someone will necessarily start abusing alcohol, as everyone copes with life’s stressors differently. However, it can still be important to be aware of the risk factors associated with alcohol abuse so that support can be sought if you or a loved one starts to show signs of it. 

Signs & Symptoms Of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse can range from mild to severe, affecting people in differing ways. However, some common indications of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol might include the following: 

  • Trying to limit alcohol use but feeling unable to do so
  • Experiencing regular hangovers
  • Regularly craving alcohol throughout the day
  • Spending large chunks of time drinking
  • Experiencing mood swings, irritability, or other mental health concerns
  • Putting oneself or others in danger with one’s drinking habits
  • Having withdrawal symptoms 
  • Continually needing to drink more to feel the same effects
  • Having bloodshot eyes 
  • Drinking even when it’s causing problems in one’s life
  • Slurring one’s words 
  • Avoiding one’s friends or hobbies or missing school or work in order to drink 
  • Engaging in risky activities
  • Buying significant amounts of alcohol

In general, if a person’s alcohol consumption is interfering with their daily functioning and quality of life, it may indicate that they’re struggling with alcohol abuse. 

Treatment For Alcohol Abuse

Those who pursue treatment for alcohol abuse have a few different support options. They may participate in therapy, take medication, or join a support group. There are also in and out-patient treatment centers that individuals might consider. 

Visiting a doctor can be a positive first step in the recovery process, as a medical professional can prescribe any necessary medications and make other recommendations for ongoing care, such as seeing a therapist. They can also perform a physical examination to ensure that the alcohol has not created any medical problems.

A therapist can help those struggling with alcohol abuse learn how to change their thoughts and develop healthier behaviors with alcohol. Individuals can choose to see a therapist in person or opt for an online provider. BetterHelp offers online therapy for people struggling to change their unwanted behaviors and could be a convenient option for individuals who want privacy while seeking care.

Finally, support groups like AA allow people experiencing similar issues to come together and exchange advice, encouragement, and support. Joining a support group often helps people feel less alone and gives them a group of people to hold them accountable while they strive to reach their goals. 

Overcoming Alcohol Abuse

Having the courage to admit a problem and seek support for alcohol abuse is a sign of strength, as healing doesn’t happen overnight, and the recovery process can be long and challenging. On this journey, it’s crucial to remember that every step taken in the right direction is a reason to celebrate. While there are likely to be obstacles and temptations along the way, taking it one day at a time can help forge a path to a happier, healthier life.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *