Alcoholism is a disease that hijacks the mind and enslaves the body. It can have a profound effect on the brain and body. There may be times in an alcoholic’s life when they can abstain from drinking. Taking a broad view of an alcoholic’s drinking history reveals two common traits that are present in all cases.
- Firstly, alcoholics tend to consume alcohol in excess beyond their original intentions.
- Secondly, after alcoholics have stopped drinking, they will eventually start drinking again.
Alcohol is a prison for all alcoholics, and they hold the key. This is why alcoholism becomes a chronic disease known as alcohol use disorder. It influences millions of people around the globe.
One of the most debated topics in alcoholism recovery is “Can alcoholics ever drink again?” It is characterized by loss of control over drinking, compulsive alcohol use, and damaging consequences when not drinking.
There is no single source of alcoholism. A combination of environmental, social, and genetic factors can enhance a person’s chances of experiencing alcohol abuse. The influence of alcoholism can be devastating to alcoholics, their families, and society as a whole.
- Physical effects can include heart disease, liver damage, and brain damage.
- Mental health effects can include depression, anxiety, and an increased risk of suicide.
- Social consequences can include strained relationships, financial problems, and legal issues.
This article will explore the risks and realities of whether alcoholics can ever drink again. We will also examine the concept of abstinence and the potential risks of relapse.
An alcoholic is a person who has developed a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. They continue to drink alcohol despite the negative consequences it has on their life. Alcoholics often struggle to control or stop their drinking, experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit.
Signs & Symptoms Of Alcoholics
Alcoholism is a complex disease that can have a wide array of physical, psychological, and social symptoms. Some of the general signs of alcoholism are given below.
- Drinking more than intended: This can indicate that alcoholics are losing control over their drinking habits.
- Cravings for alcohol: A person with alcoholism may have strong urges to drink, even if they are trying to quit or reduce their alcohol intake.
- Difficulty controlling drinking: A person with alcoholism may find it hard to stop drinking once they start, even if they have other commitments or responsibilities.
- Developing a tolerance to alcohol: A person with alcoholism may need to drink more and more alcohol to feel the same effects they used to feel with less.
- Prioritizing drinking over responsibilities: A person with alcoholism may neglect other areas of their life to drink, such as work, family, or hobbies.
- Continuing to drink despite negative consequences: This can include problems with work, relationships, or legal issues, yet the person continues to drink.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking: Withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, shaking, and nausea can occur when a person with alcoholism stops drinking.
Causes & Risk Factors Of Alcoholics
There are several causes and risk factors that contribute to the development of alcoholism, including:
- Genetics: A family history of alcoholism is a major source of a person’s chances of developing alcohol addiction.
- Gender: One factor is that men drink more than women on average, both in frequency and quantity.
- Age of first drink: Starting to drink at an early age, such as in the teenage years, can increase a person’s risk of developing alcoholism.
- Trauma or stress: Traumatic experiences or ongoing stress can lead to alcohol abuse and addiction as a way to cope with negative emotions.
- Mental health issues: Conditions such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar diseases can increase a person’s risk of growing alcohol addiction.
- Social environment: Growing up where alcohol use is tolerated can enhance a person’s risk of growing alcoholism.
- Availability of alcohol: Easy access to alcohol can increase a person’s chances of developing alcohol addiction.
Affects On An Alcoholics’ Body
When a recovering alcoholic resumes drinking, what happens to the body?
Alcoholism can have a significant impact on the human body. The sooner a person seeks help for alcoholism, the better their chances of recovering and avoiding long-term damage. Here are some ways in which alcoholism affects alcoholics.
- Heart: Alcoholism can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. Heavy drinking can also cause an irregular heartbeat. It is known as atrial fibrillation, which can raise the risk of blood clots and stroke.
- Brain: Alcoholism can lead to changes in brain chemistry and function. It can impact a person’s mood, behavior, and cognitive abilities. Chronic alcohol use can damage the brain’s structure and operations. It can lead to memory problems, difficulty with decision-making, and impaired coordination and balance.
- Immune system: Alcoholism can weaken the immune system, making a person more susceptible to infections and diseases. Heavy drinking can also boost the risk of certain types of cancers, such as breast, throat, and liver cancer.
- Liver: The liver is responsible for processing alcohol in the body. Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to liver damage, inflammation, and scarring. This can lead to a condition called cirrhosis, which can be life-threatening.
- Pancreas: Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreas is a gland that has digestive enzymes and hormones that regulate blood sugar. This can cause a condition called pancreatitis. It can be harrowing and may require hospitalization.
Concept Of Abstinence
Abstinence refers to the complete avoidance of alcohol consumption. It also refers to the practice of alcoholics refraining from all addictive substances. This is widely assumed to be the most effective approach to alcoholism recovery. It allows the body to heal from the effects of alcohol. It also gives the brain a chance to:
- Rewire itself
- Improve cognitive function
- Reduce the risk of relapse
Types Of Abstinence
There are different types of abstinence. These are:
- Long-term abstinence: It refers to the permanent avoidance of alcohol.
- Short-term abstinence: It may be used as a temporary measure to break the cycle of addiction and allow the body to detoxify.
Challenges & Benefits of Abstinence
Abstinence can be challenging, especially in the early stages of recovery when cravings for alcohol are most decisive. However, abstinence has many benefits, including improved physical and mental health, better relationships, and greater self-esteem. With the proper support and treatment, many people can achieve long-term abstinence and maintain their sobriety over time.
Risk of Relapse
Relapse refers to a return to alcohol use after a period of abstinence. It is a common occurrence in alcoholism recovery. A variety of factors can trigger it. These triggers can be internal or external.
- Negative emotions
- Cravings for drinking alcohol
- Social situations
- Exposure to alcohol advertising or media
- Places or people associated with past drinking
Environmental factors can also play a significant role in relapse. Social support and a stable home environment can help individuals in recovery avoid relapse. On the other hand, stress, financial problems, and lack of support can increase the risk of relapse.
Impact Of Relapse On Recovery
Relapse is a thief that steals an alcoholic’s health, relationships, and future.
Relapse can have a significant impact on recovery, both physically and emotionally. It can set back progress made in recovery. It may also lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and hopelessness. However, it is essential to remember that relapse is a standard part of the sobriety process. It does not mean that treatment has failed. With the proper support and treatment, individuals can learn from their relapse. They can use it as a learning experience to strengthen their recovery.
Controlled Drinking For Alcoholics
Controlled drinking refers to the idea that alcoholics can learn to manage alcohol consumption rather than completely abstaining from it. This approach involves setting limits on the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption. It also includes understanding coping mechanisms to prevent excessive drinking.
The fact is that complete abstinence may not be a realistic goal for alcoholics. Some alcoholics may be able to learn to control their drinking behavior. This approach acknowledges that alcohol use is a complex issue. Various factors contribute to an individual’s relationship with alcohol.
Risks Of Controlled Drinking
The potential risks of controlled drinking include the following:
- The risk of relapse
- The risk of underestimating the severity of alcoholism
Supporters of controlled drinking argue that it can be a more flexible and sustainable approach for some individuals. And this will allow them to maintain social relationships and enjoy certain aspects of life without completely cutting out alcohol.
Benefits Of Controlled Drinking
For alcoholics, drinking is a one-way ticket to oblivion. The potential benefits of controlled drinking include the following:
- Increased self-esteem
- Improved quality of life
- Reduced feelings of guilt or shame associated with abstinence-only approaches.
Ultimately, the decision to pursue controlled drinking as a recovery approach should be made in consultation with a qualified healthcare professional.
If you’re asking, “why do addicts relapse when things are good,” we have you covered. Click here to know the reasons.
Alcohol Rehab In Los Angeles, California
Launch Centers is an alcohol rehab center in Los Angeles, California. It offers comprehensive treatment programs for individuals struggling with alcohol addiction. Our team of experienced professionals can treat alcoholics and their mental health issues.
Launch Centers is an excellent choice if you or your loved one is seeking help. At Launch Centers, our clients receive personalized treatment plans tailored to their unique needs. We propose inpatient and outpatient programs based on the severity of the addiction.
- Our inpatient programs provide a safe and supportive environment where you can focus entirely on your recovery.
- Our outpatient programs allow you to receive treatment while maintaining your daily responsibilities.
We also offer ongoing support and aftercare planning to maintain and achieve long-term sobriety. Don’t wait to get the help you need – take the first step today.