07 December 2010
By Zeenia F Baria
Find yourself reaching for a drink more often than you’d like to admit? You just might be an alcoholic
Depression and alcohol abuse tend to go hand–in–hand. Many who suffer from depression self–medicate with alcohol. This gives them a temporary feeling of happiness. Peer pressure and the easy availability of alcohol encourage some users, particularly teens, to become alcoholics. What starts as social drinking turns into alcoholism soon enough.
Mild withdrawal symptoms include loss of sleep, agitation, anxiety and panic attacks.
Moderate withdrawal symptoms are characterised further by sweating and tremors.
Marked alcoholism withdrawal symptoms include vomiting and severe diarrhoea, mild confusion, disorientation and hallucinations. In extreme cases, sufferers may have episodes of blackouts where they may forget commitments or conversations.
You need help if:
- Your efforts to cut down on the quantity you drink or even stop completely have been unsuccessful.
- You continue drinking even at the risk of harming relationships and having physical problems.
- You spend less time on activities that used to be important to you.
- You avoid hanging out with family and friends, going to the gym or pursuing your hobbies.
It also increases the risk of cancer, including breast cancer, lung cancer and cancer of the liver. Having more than three drinks a day has a direct toxic effect on the heart. Over time, heavy drinking damages the heart and leads to high blood pressure, alcoholic cardiomyopathy, (enlarged and weakened heart), congestive heart failure, and stroke,” he adds.
Accept that you have a problem. When you are dependent on alcohol, simply cutting back is ineffective. Giving up alcohol entirely must be part of your treatment, which may be oral or injected medication. Support from family and friends is also important.
Participate in alcoholism support group meetings, involve your family, work with counsellors and seek professional help. Develop healthy habits, stay away from people who drink and indulge in hobbies that distract your mind. Most importantly, prevent relapses and stay sober.
Getting Help From
CLOSE ONES Family and friends play a big role in helping an alcoholic recover. Make the person recognise the need for change, allay fears/concerns about giving up alcohol and undertaking treatment, motivate and give hope, create a recovery plan that takes into account the needs and preferences of the person.