The lives of millions of people spiral out of control because of alcohol. Alcohol addiction is a disorder, and the main characteristic of this disorder is the continued use of alcohol despite its harmful consequences to health, career, and social life.
There has been a rise in alcohol-specific deaths in the UK since the start of the pandemic. This may be due to increased alcohol consumption. The Covid-19 pandemic led to the loss of many lives and jobs as well as the downfall of businesses.
The associated emotional and mental struggles possibly made many people turn to the bottle to numb their negative feelings. The world is on the road to recovery from the pandemic, and it is time to get started on our individual journeys of recovery. The road to recovery is not simple, yet a beautiful life awaits at the end of this road.
Accepting and admitting the problem is a significant step on the road to recovery. Understanding the possible consequences of alcohol addiction might help motivate a person to take the first steps toward alcohol recovery. Apart from the detrimental effects on the body, alcohol addiction can mess with the mental health of a person significantly.
Psychological Repercussions of Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol addiction can lead to psychological issues and disorders of varying types and severities. Some psychological conditions are exacerbated due to the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol addiction may affect mental health in these ways:
Depression: Alcohol seems to share a strong two-way link with depression. Depression can lead people to drink, and alcohol can lead to depressive disorder. If someone suffers from depression, alcohol will only worsen the depression with time. Although alcohol might make them feel better temporarily after consumption, the episodes of depression will get more severe. The risky and violent behaviours due to intoxication can lead to losses that further fuel depression. Alcohol can increase the side effects of antidepressants and may interfere with their intended and desired effects. Alcohol itself can be considered a depressant. The more alcohol someone consumes, the more likely they feel down. Excessive drinking can lead to depression.
Alcohol-induced psychosis: Alcohol intoxication, withdrawal, and chronic drinking can induce alcohol-related psychosis. It’s also called alcohol hallucinosis. The symptoms are similar to schizophrenia. The affected people suffer from hallucinations, delusions, suspicions, and fear. The symptoms are commonly seen during alcohol intake or shortly after consumption. People who start drinking at a very young age are more susceptible to alcohol-induced psychosis. The other groups of people who could suffer from alcohol-induced psychosis are the heavy drinkers among the unemployed, those in the low socioeconomic bracket, and the people who live alone.
Alcohol-induced anxiety disorder: Alcohol can cause or worsen anxiety. Higher alcohol consumption can induce panic because of its effect on the chemistry of the brain. People addicted to alcohol may also suffer from panic attacks during the withdrawal stage. Anxiety can lead people to pick up the bottle, but alcohol only offers temporary relief from anxiety. Because of alcohol, anxiety will return manifold like a vengeful beast. Like depression, anxiety also seems to share a relationship with alcohol. Alcohol addiction can result in alcohol-induced anxiety disorder.
Memory and Reasoning Impairment: A British study spanning years has shown that alcohol consumption, even in moderation, can result in significant cognitive decline over time. Alcohol is associated with actual shrinkage in some areas of the brain. Korsakoff syndrome, a memory disorder, is also associated with alcohol addiction. It causes damage to the nerves, brain, and spinal cord. Symptoms of this syndrome include amnesia and disorientation. Further damage can be avoided by ceasing the consumption of alcohol. Heavy drinking increases the risk of dementia.
Alcohol consumption leads to hormonal imbalances, mood swings, and emotional upheavals. Alcohol lowers inhibitions, increases impulsive behaviour, and therefore may lead to an increase in suicidal or self-harm tendencies. Temporary relief from negative feelings is not worth the multitude of negative consequences.
Recovering from Alcohol Addiction
Here’s some good news: The brain can recover from alcohol-induced loss after cessation of alcohol consumption.
But a caveat is necessary here: Abrupt cessation of alcohol consumption can lead to life-threatening symptoms. If someone drinks heavily or regularly, it is not advisable to cease abruptly without medical supervision and adequate support.
Depending upon the severity of the alcohol addiction, treatment programs may vary. Some people do well with an outpatient program. Others, with a more severe problem, may need to be admitted to a residential alcohol rehab program. It is a good idea to get more knowledge about treatment programs and suitable clinics from centres like Rehab Guide. Alcohol addiction is a medical condition and needs to be treated similarly. Delayed action can increase the severity of the problem and its consequences.
If you know someone who is struggling with alcohol addiction, support them on their road to recovery. Proper support can accelerate the journey of recovery from alcohol addiction.