Alcoholism is one of the most common addictions in Australia.
The social acceptance of drinking can often lead to denial—and, if left untreated, severe consequences.
Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism, is marked by a craving for alcohol and the inability to stop drinking—even when it causes extreme personal or social harm.
Signs of an alcohol addiction include frequently drinking more than intended, wanting to stop drinking but being unable to, developing a tolerance to alcohol, feeling symptoms of withdrawal when stopping, letting personal and professional responsibilities flounder in favor of drinking and spending an extreme amount of time trying to get and drink alcohol.
Alcohol is a legal, controlled substance that lowers anxiety and inhibitions. It also has a broad range of side effects, from loss of coordination to slurred speech.
Not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic, but anyone whose life is negatively affected by alcohol on a consistent basis is considered to have an alcohol use disorder.
Alcohol is commonly consumed as a drink in various forms, including beer, wine and hard liquor.
Because alcohol is so prevalent throughout society, diagnosing an addiction to it can be difficult.
Immediate Effects of Alcohol
Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, so it slows down mental and bodily processes. With the first drink of alcohol, users may experience a decrease in feelings of anxiety or stress.
It is commonly touted as a social lubricant, meaning drinkers are more likely to feel confidence in meeting new people and less concerned with how they are perceived by others.
Because alcohol is legal and widely accepted in society, it can be hard to tell the difference between casual use and abuse. In general, any usage of alcohol that results in negative consequences is considered abuse. Some of the negative consequences of alcohol use include:
Physical harm or illness
Problems at work
When abuse becomes more frequent, it can escalate into addiction.
Alcohol and Other Drugs
Because it is so common in today’s culture, alcohol is often abused alongside other drugs. As a CNS depressant, alcohol poses a serious risk when mixed with other drugs of the same class, such as benzodiazepines and some painkillers.
Alcohol on its own can be dangerous, but combining with other substances can quickly prove lethal.
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