Published On: July 3, 2023

What You Need To Know About Alcohol Abuse

What You Need To Know About Alcohol Abuse

People abuse alcohol for many reasons. Some engage in drug and alcohol use to reduce anxiety or dispel depression. Others do so to heighten a good mood; it depends on the individual and their current circumstance. People who abuse alcohol usually become addicted to how the substance makes them feel.

The main problem is how the alcoholic feels when they don’t have alcohol in their system. The emotions and thought processes in the alcoholic’s mind when they’re sober are the primary driving force that brings them back to drinking. Drug addiction works in similar ways.

A heavy drinker may continue to abuse alcohol—even after experiencing negative consequences—for many reasons. The bottom line is that the individual hasn’t found a good solution to the way they experience life without having alcohol change the way they feel.

At Serenity Springs Recovery Center, we realize that the negative consequences of alcoholism are rooted in more than just physical dependence. This is one of the reasons our program takes a mind, body, and spirit approach to addiction recovery.

What are some warning signs of alcohol abuse and alcoholism?

Some common warning signs that someone is abusing alcohol are:

  • Drinking alone/in secret
  • Making excuses for drinking
  • Blacking out
  • Choosing to drink over other obligations
  • Lack of interest in positive things
  • A negative mood when not drinking
  • General lack of interest in things they used to enjoy
  • An inability to control intake once starting

What are the Effects of Alcohol Abuse?

Some of the short-term consequences of abusing alcohol are impaired judgment, blackouts, vomiting, nausea, insomnia, lack of appetite, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, headaches, comas, and, in the worst cases, death.

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can also produce numerous long-term effects, with physical, mental, and emotional consequences. The physical results of long-term alcohol abuse can include internal organ damage (liver and kidneys), brain damage (Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, aka “wet brain”), damage to the central nervous system, cancer, ulcers, high blood pressure, and stroke.

The mental consequences of long-term drug and alcohol abuse can be severe, and substance abuse can significantly alter a person’s brain chemistry. One primary consequence of chronic alcohol abuse is depression and anxiety. Ironically, a person who uses alcohol to treat anxiety and depression will likely find these symptoms increase when there’s no alcohol in their system.

Many abusers develop a mental dependence on alcohol. When they aren’t drinking, all they can think about is alcohol. Long-term alcohol abusers can also have difficulty with their memory. In extreme cases, a user can develop “wet brain,” in which a person essentially develops alcohol-related dementia, an irreversible form of brain damage.

Other severe consequences of abusing alcohol are emotional. Emotional issues are usually a major driving force behind an individual continuing to use alcohol despite adverse effects. After some time, someone who becomes dependent on alcohol will likely be unable to control either good or bad emotions. Getting to and fixing the root emotional issues is key to securing an individual’s long-term sobriety.