Alcoholism Isn’t Just a Disease

Published: 2021-08-12 13:55:05
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“Each year, an estimated 88,000 people—62,000 men and 26,000 women—die from alcohol-related causes” (T). Alcoholism is “continued excessive or compulsive use of alcohol drinks” (“Alcoholism”). Since I was a child, alcoholism is something I’ve been a victim to: the selfishness and disregard for how it affects me leads people to say “but that’s the side effect of alcohol, isn’t it? Stopping to think about other people is not on the bar menu” (SF). How do you know if there’s an alcoholic in your life? Although alcoholism is a choice that leads you to a disease, it is important to know how you can develop the disease, how it affects not only yourself, but everyone around you, the symptoms of alcoholism, what treatments you have to go through upon becoming an alcoholic, and it’s also important to know that you’re not alone.
To begin with, upon having/had a relative who is an alcoholic themself, your risk for developing alcoholism increases. With that, “a person can develop alcoholism from prior history of behavioral or substance abuse or addiction, addiction or alcoholism in close family members, social awkwardness, stress, neglect or abuse in childhood” (“Is Alcoholism a Disease & Can It Be Cured?”). Alcoholism is considered to be a chronic brain disease, which means it is not a disease that can be cured through a medication or a disease that can be prevented through vaccination…Alcoholism is simply just not a switch that can be turned on and off. Alcoholism requires ongoing, often indefinite treatment (“Is Alcoholism a Disease & Can it be Cured?”). Alcoholism is a disease that requires constant motivation and reassurance.
Continuing on, alcoholism isn’t just a disease that affects the alcoholic, being an alcoholic affects everyone around you. One in five adult Americans resided with a relative who abused alcohol in their adolescence, these people have a greater likelihood of having emotional troubles compared to children who grew up in sober homes, according to the American Academy of child and Adolescent Psychiatry (“Alcoholism and Family/Marital Problems”). A child’s early exposure to an alcohol abuser increases their risk of having a problematic relationship with alcohol themselves (“Alcoholism and Family/Marital Problems”). Alcoholics, known for their selfish behavior, probably do not realize the effect they have on their own children. They do not realize that their unhealthy habits can easily be passed on just as quick as they can say, “I don’t have a problem… I’m not an alcoholic”. “Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works” (“Alcohol’s Effects on the Body”). Could that be why they disregard others feelings? Because their brain doesn’t allow them to? Alcohol affects more than just your brain, it also affects your heart, liver, pancreas, etc. Alcohol also weakens your immune system and makes you more susceptible to developing different cancers (“Alcohol’s Effects on the Body”).
Subsequently, it may be easy to spot symptoms of an alcoholic or self diagnose yourself. It’s usually not too hard to recognize when you’ve put more than a glass or two to your lips throughout the week or have been drinking more often than you usually do. You can also identify alcoholic behavior symptoms when you let drinking come before your relationships, when you have tried to cut back and haven’t been able to, when you have found yourself in situations where you relied on alcohol to help you battle a situation, or if you have experienced withdrawal symptoms (“Do I have an Alcohol Problem?”).
Furthermore, there are many treatments for someone suffering from alcoholism. A “medically supported detox from alcohol, behavioral therapy to identify triggers, find alternative responses, and practice avoidance, peer support through 12-step programs for motivation, experience and understanding” (“Is Alcohol a Disease and Can it be Cured?”). Although these treatments are thorough, a detox from alcohol is simply not enough treatment to help with symptom management. After treatment, “occupational therapy to help the person return to normal daily living after treatment, follow-up programs to keep motivation and commitment high after treatment ends” may be necessary to keep the alcoholic weaned off of alcohol (“Is Alcohol a Disease and Can it be Cured?”).
Again, alcoholism often “requires ongoing, often indefinite treatment” (“Is Alcoholism a Disease & Can it be Cured?”).
Surprising to some, there are celebrities that suffer from alcoholism. A few of the world’s most famous celebrities themselves are alcoholics, from Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), our favorite horror novelist, Stephen King, the iconic Robin Williams, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), to the star of Baywatch, David Hasselhoff. Celebrities are looked at as perfect, when in reality they are just like everyone else. No matter what your life is like, the amount of money or fame you may have, does not change that fact that you, too, could suffer from any addiction (“10 celebrities with Alcoholism”).
In conclusion, it is important to know the symptoms you may experience when becoming an alcoholic, the effects it has on you and everyone around you, what treatments you may have to endure upon becoming an alcoholic, how you can develop the disease, and knowing that you’re not alone.    

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