I’ve talked before about how a close friend went through a difficult drug addiction. It broke not only her family, but everyone close to her.
This is what makes alcoholism and drug addiction such a center issue in my life… I’ve seen my best friend fall into the pits of despair of alcoholism at only 17 years old.
The beginning was fun – ‘innocent’ partying and peer pressure, looking for that fun feeling caused by drinking. But within 2 years she was a changed person, completely enslaved to alcohol.
The truth is that many young people fall into alcoholism without realizing it – and many parents are only aware when it’s too late… so today, I wanted to discuss this in more depth.
What causes alcoholism?
There are a lot of factors that bring about alcoholism and alcohol abuse.
Based on a study in 2007, 30% of US adults have experienced alcoholism or have abused alcohol. This does not only concern adults, since based on studies done in 2013, teens ages 12 to 20 consume 11% of alcohol.
This is quite alarming to know and parents should be vigilant in observing if their child has an addiction to alcohol or not.
Here are some of the signs you might observe and see if your teenager has an addiction to alcohol:
- Change in physical appearance and grooming (bloodshot eyes, body smell, and body weight)
- Behavior changes (erratic behavior, lethargy, depression, declines personal engagement with family and other activities, a decline in study habits, belligerent behavior towards parents or persons with authority)
- Seizures without a history of epilepsy
It’s best to always be vigilant with our children especially those in their teens. The earlier they are detected and intervened the better their chances in life.
However, these are two slightly different things:
- An alcoholic has the tendency to neglect responsibility or miss work to drink
- Alcoholism means you can only function when you drink and you depend on it to avoid withdrawal symptoms. They also have a high tolerance for alcohol which means they need to drink more to be able to feel the effect.
What are the factors that push into alcoholism?
If you wonder what causes alcoholism and abuse in alcohol, these are the main factors:
- Genetics – this may be because of what we see growing up and whether we see relatives suffering from this. It causes us to view excessive drinking of alcohol as a norm.
- Early drinking – experimenting at a young age can lead to alcoholism or alcohol abuse in the long run for teenagers.
- Peer pressure – to fit into a group, peers encourage others to experience drinking and thus lead them to binge drinking. Eventually, if not controlled or stopped, this could lead to abuse and alcoholism.
- Psychological – using binge drinking as a means to escape current problems or issues will not help solve them. It will, in fact, cause more issues to a person’s health in the long run.
- Stress – due to high-level stress which causes an individual to binge drink just to relax is not a reason at all, problems won’t be solved, they will still exist even after you binge drink. This might cause more problems in the long run as they might use stress as a reason to drink.
How can you tell if a loved one is an alcoholic or just abuses alcohol?
Here is a rundown of both and the slight difference that we can check to help a loved one.
Let us start with alcohol abuse, there are factors which you need to observe:
- Neglect responsibility to get a drink
- Absence from work is frequent due to hangovers
- Shirk family responsibility to go out drinking with friends
- Drinking and driving
- Drinking while taking medications
- Drinking out of loneliness, depression or stress
Studies have shown that alcoholism nowadays is considered a mental disease. However, there are factors that you need to look into in order to determine if a person is an alcoholic or abuses alcohol.
- Dependency on alcohol to a point of being non-functional without it
- Losing control and can’t stop drinking no matter how much they try
- Alcohol dominates their way of thinking over responsibilities and other activities
- Blackouts are a common occurrence
- Hurting themselves and others due to drunkenness
- No control over alcohol intake
- Feelings of guilt about drinking but can’t seem to stop
- Often suffer from withdrawal symptoms if not intoxicated
- Drinking at any stage of the day including mornings or as soon as waking up
- Physical signs of alcoholism are prevalent (stomach ulcers, weight loss, etc.)
What can you do to help?
If you have a loved one who is doing this it’s time to reach out and try to help them. They are not yet alcoholics but in time this could lead down that path.
We know for a fact that a person’s well being and desire to be helped comes from within each individual and not anyone else.
But the best way is to start communicating with your loved one and ask if you can help them. The choice is theirs to decide whether they want to be helped or not.
However, early intervention could still prevent them from leading to alcoholism.
Activities to help overcome alcohol abuse
Here are some activities that you can help or guide them to try to overcome their alcohol abuse.
- Start a new hobby or learn something new that would interest you
- Read books
- Meet friends over coffee
How to treat alcoholism
So how do we treat alcoholism. Do you need alcohol rehab?
If you have a loved one who needs alcohol rehabilitation, there are rehabilitation centers that help treat addictions.
However, the first big step has to come from the person with an addiction. No one can force an alcoholic to go through treatment unless they are willing and determined to get better.
It will be a long arduous journey for you and your loved ones but well worth the outcome of being hearty and healthy.
The first step is the individual’s commitment to the treatment or if they want to be treated. Treatments, of course, vary depending on each individual’s needs.
The next step would be choosing the right detoxification program. Lastly, the rehabilitation program that is tailored fit for you and to maintain your state of recovery.
There is no actual data based on studies to prove the success rate of reach rehabilitation.
What is important is consistency in reaching their goal to fight for alcohol rehabilitation.