Alcoholism and heavy drinking are not the same thing. In fact, alcoholism is a serious, chronic, and progressive condition—one that, when left untreated, can be fatal. The abuse of alcohol plays a key role in many social problems, ranging from highway fatalities to domestic violence. It also has profound physical, mental and spiritual health effects.
It is not uncommon for alcoholism to begin as social drinking, or as a way to self-medicate for other mental health problems, like anxiety or depression. True alcoholism is marked by a growing dependence. The alcoholic may require higher and higher amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired effect, and withdrawal from alcohol can cause serious pain and complications.
The good news about alcoholism is that it is treatable—and when the correct treatment is sought, lifelong recovery is attainable. Learn more about alcoholism, and reach out to Seacliff to begin your journey to freedom and good health.
Does Alcoholism Affect Mental Health?
It is important to understand the relationship between alcohol abuse and mental health. First, alcoholism is itself a mental illness. While a person may choose to have that first drink, nobody chooses to be an alcoholic. Alcoholism must be understood as a true disease, not as a moral weakness.
Alcohol can have a corrosive effect on your sense of peace, your self-assurance, and the clarity of your thought. It is not uncommon for alcoholism to be present at the same time as another mood disorder, like anxiety or depression. Sometimes alcoholism emerges as a means of self-medication, and in other cases arises from the same root condition—a brain abnormality, childhood trauma, etc.
One thing is for certain: Alcoholism is not a small or niche problem. It is estimated that more than 18 million U.S. adults struggle with alcoholism—which boils down to about one out of every 12. Moreover, alcohol is a key factor in more than 100,000 fatalities per year—suicides, homicides, highway accidents, and more. Alcoholism is an equal opportunity offender, and can impact people of any age, gender, or ethnicity—as well as the rich and the poor alike.
How Do You Know if There is a Co-Occurring Disorder?
When addiction and another mental health disorder are present at the same time, it is what is known as a co-occurring condition. Co-occurring conditions can muddy the diagnostic process because symptoms can overlap. The best way to determine the existence of a co-occurring disorder is to seek dual diagnosis care, which will help identify the true root of your problem and suggest different avenues to treat both the alcoholism and the co-occurring disorder. The Seacliff team is proud to offer dual diagnosis evaluation and care.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism
It can be helpful to know all the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse. Though they can vary from one individual to the next, some of the most common signs and symptoms of alcoholism include:
- Being unable to quit drinking, or to control your consumption of alcohol
- Needing more and more drinks to feel good
- Having pain or withdrawal effects when you don’t have a drink
- Spending a lot of time drinking—or hiding your drinking from others
- Being secretive or isolated
- Withdrawing from relationships, hobbies, and passions
- Being drunk for long periods of time
If you observe any of these symptoms, in yourself or in a loved one, seek treatment for alcoholism right away.
Alcohol Rehab Treatment Center
Treatment works—and with the right kind of clinical intervention, you can attain lifelong recovery from addiction. At Seacliff, our team is dedicated to working with you in developing your own path to healing, hope and wholeness—ultimately laying a foundation for lifelong recovery. Choose freedom from alcoholism, and encourage your loved ones to do the same. Learn more by reaching out to the Seacliff team right away.