Alcoholism: It’s More Complex than you Think

Alcoholism. It’s considered a family disease; meaning, it’s inherited from family members who exhibited similar characteristics. It may be inherited from a parent or across many generations. Although there are biological factors that result in alcohol dependence, the actual addiction can almost always be linked to a family history of alcoholism. Despite its prevalence in the family, alcohol dependence doesn’t have to be a life sentence. You can break the chain by getting help for yourself, or help for a loved one you know is suffering from the disease.

It begins with admitting you have a problem and life begins anew when you finally stop drinking. Although withdrawing from alcohol can be painful, it’s not impossible. Once you are free of the addiction, you can begin living a happier and more productive life. Understanding the complexities of alcoholism may help you overcome the harder parts of addiction recovery.

Factors that Affect How Long Alcohol Withdrawal Will Last

Long-term alcoholism dependence can wreak havoc on the body, which is why detoxifying from alcohol is so difficult. Your body has become dependent on alcohol, and that makes withdrawal difficult. Although there is a brief breakdown of alcohol withdrawal below, you can learn the most by checking out this alcohol detox timeline infographic. It has all the withdrawal information you need, and pictures to provide a more in-depth look at the withdrawal process including side effects and symptoms.

How long withdrawal lasts is directly dependent on how much alcohol you consume. Other factors include existing medical conditions, existing mental disorders, and dependence on other drugs. The more your body is dependent on a substance, the more difficult withdrawal will be; however, the silver lining is that once you’ve eliminated the substance from your life, your life will be fuller without it.

Basically, alcohol withdrawal happens in three stages. Stage one is fairly mild, and typically occurs eight hours after the last drink. The alcoholic may experience depression, difficulties sleeping, and anxiety. More difficult withdrawal symptoms include heart palpitations, nausea, tremors, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Stage two of withdrawals are far more severe. This stage occurs within 24 to 72 hours after the last drink. The alcoholic may experience increased blood pressure, a rise in body temperatures, and an irregular heart rate. Stage three, the final stage, is not as difficult as stage two but is so mentally draining it’s when many people relapse. Because the process is so difficult, alcoholics are recommended to seek out professional help when attempting to quit.

The Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

How long you’re an alcoholic can have a real effect on your quality of life. The longer you take alcohol, the more negative the side-effects are. lists the follow as long-term effects of alcoholism:

  • Liver damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Sexual problems
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Vitamin B deficiency, which can cause amnesia, disorientation, and apathy
  • Ulcers
  • Gastritis
  • Malnutrition
  • Cancer of the mouth and throat
  • Prostate cancer
  • Unintentional injuries, such as a car crash or drowning
  • Problems at work and with relationships

The Short-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Although long-term alcohol abuse is far more dangerous, short-term abuse has some serious consequences as well. There is the potential for alcohol poisoning when binge drinking, which can be fatal. And, there are these effects too:

  • Slurred speech
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Anemia
  • Coma
  • Blackouts
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Accidents
  • And, more

It’s important that all alcohol abusers safely detox from the substance. With the help of professionals, alcoholics can heal and go on to live happy and productive lives. Although admitting you have a problem is the first step toward recovering, detoxing may be the most difficult. Don’t attempt to do it alone; instead, seek out therapy from professionals, family, and friends. You’re not alone, and you can beat alcoholism regardless if you’ve inherited it.

Photo credit:

Scroll to top