Alcohol abuse is prevalent among many different sections of society. National statistics have shown that the number of people with an addiction has risen in almost every group, including teens, the economically disadvantaged and the wealthy. In some instances, the drinking is a form of escapism – the person drinks to numb emotional pain or reduce stress. But social drinking, which is seen as the norm in America, can also spiral into a dependency.
There are several signs which might indicate that somebody is abusing alcohol. This might include unsteadiness, slurred speech, weight loss, regular digestive complaints or blackouts. However, these symptoms are often only evident if the dependency is at the most extreme end of the scale. Many alcoholics appear to be functioning on a normal level.
The only clue might come when the person has to forgo their regular drink, and experiences an overwhelming physical craving. They may also find that once they start drinking, they find it very difficult to limit their intake. Reckless behavior may increase – many people arrested for drink driving are alcoholics, rather than just irresponsible social drinkers. Mood swings, emotional outbursts and irritability are very common in alcoholics, but it is not always easy for outsiders to attribute the cause to alcohol.
The national institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism has highlighted the impact that the problem is having on the population’s health. There has been a steep rise in cardiovascular problems, cancer and stroke in the last few years, all of which show a correlation with the rise in alcohol use. Studies have shown that alcoholism is the primary cause of larynx, colon, esophagus and liver cancer.
Alcoholics are often reluctant to seek help, therefore friends and family play a pivotal role in recognizing and beating the addiction. Contact your family doctor for advice.