Alcohol use disorder Symptoms and causes

Even at social events or in public, this person will not make attempts to drink a controlled amount of alcohol. Instead, they will continue to drink well past the point of becoming drunk. Your doctor can see how well your liver is functioning by testing the levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine
aminotransferase (ALT).

  • This is usually a sign of dependency, in which they have a constant physical and psychological urge to drink.
  • My denial was deeply rooted and was reinforced not only by my loved ones but by society as a whole.
  • More than a quarter have sought help for their drinking at some point through self-help groups, treatment programs, alcohol detox programs and health care providers.

Greek and Roman mythology attributes the characteristics of contemplation, intellect, artistic creativity, and self-restraint to the god Apollo. As suggested in the subtypes grouped under this designation, when alcohol dependence develops in such an individual, typically after years of socially approved heavy drinking, it presents in a more benign form. Consequently, Apollonian subtypes include alcoholics who are characterized by later onset, a slower disease course, fewer complications, less physical characteristics of alcoholics psychological impairment, and a better prognosis. In contrast, the god Dionysius was known for his drunken revelry, sexual abandonment, and physical aggression. When alcohol dependence develops in this type of personality, it can be identified by the subtype characteristics of pathological drinking and drunken comportment. Thus, Dionysian subtypes of alcoholics are characterized by early onset, more severe symptomatology, greater psychological vulnerability, and more personality disturbance.

What Does Alcoholism Look Like?

The young adult alcoholic may not seek help for their problematic drinking, as drinking to excess at this age is often considered “normal” and part of a phase of life. Family members and adults may assume that the young adult will then “grow out of it” and do not see the drinking as a potential ongoing or long-lasting issue. Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive, and lifelong disease that needs to be treated, whether the alcoholic is a lawyer or a homeless person. The face of the alcoholic needs to be changed and the walls of denial must be broken down in order that alcoholics everywhere can receive proper diagnosis and treatment.

physical characteristics of alcoholics

Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion. Severe abdominal pain and persistent diarrhea, as a result, is not fixable. Blacking out from drinking too much is a warning sign of this stage, along with lying about drinking, drinking excessively, and thinking obsessively about drinking. To learn more about alcohol treatment options and search for quality care near you, please visit the NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator. ‘Alcoholic face’ or ‘puffy face’ is a result of the dehydrating effects of alcohol.

Finding Detox and Treatment

People experiencing
this phenomenon might even switch up their drink of choice — moving from beer or wine to hard liquor, for example, to
accommodate their need for more alcohol. Many individuals with alcoholism are in denial or unaware that they have a problem. Others may realize something is wrong
but go to great lengths to hide their problem out of fear or shame. Sarah Allen Benton, M.S., LMHC., LPC, is a licensed mental health counselor and author of Understanding the High-Functioning Alcoholic. “If you can have programs that get people into treatment at an earlier stage in their addictioin, you can prevent a lot of really serious problems later on,” Volpicelli said. Nonprofits like SMART Recovery are free and expert-endorsed routes to sobriety, and organizations like Sunnyside and Alcohol Change UK support people in simply reducing their drinking.

Alcohol use disorder is a pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol or continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems. This disorder also involves having to drink more to get the same effect or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking. Alcohol use disorder includes a level of drinking that’s sometimes called alcoholism. Not only that, but for someone with an alcoholic personality, it will be immensely difficult to stop drinking once they start. For example, if an alcoholic goes to a party, they might initially say they’re only going to have a couple of drinks and then end up having several. In some instances, a loved one might confide in you about uncontrolled drinking, in which case you should take their cry for help seriously and support them in getting addiction treatment.

10 Myths About Addiction

Overcoming shame and silence is crucial in seeking help and supporting others. To overcome the challenges of addiction, patients must have the lifelong commitment it takes to achieve total sobriety and overall wellness. The specific treatment plan that is developed always includes a plan for after the rehabilitative process is over. But it’s also important to know that many people fail to remain sober after drug and alcohol rehab. In most cases, these relapses occur because proper support wasn’t maintained for triggers. Because each person’s experience is different, that means there are unique factors that affect the risk of addiction per person.

myths about addiction and recovery

Depression, anxiety, and psychosis can all develop as a result of misuse, and substances like alcohol are responsible for more deaths in the United States than almost anything else. Many people make assumptions about a person’s character or morality when they have an addiction. While it is true in some cases that a person may choose to experiment with a substance, it does not mean that they actively chose to struggle with addiction.

Myth #5 Relapse makes you a failure.

The wrong belief that all addiction treatment is the same ignores how different each person’s needs are. At Whispering Oaks Lodge, we focus on creating recovery programs that are made just for each person. We know everyone’s journey is different, so we use personalized assessments to understand each person’s health and strengths. One common false belief is that addiction is just a choice, making it seem like people choose to start abusing substances. This idea causes confusion and doesn’t take into account how complex addiction and alcohol abuse really are.

Treatment stresses the significance of continuous support and follow-up services to keep relapse at bay and maintain sobriety. This may include joining support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, therapy, medication management for mental health issues, and staying engaged in healthy habits. Addiction is a complex illness that affects both physical and mental health; it can’t be judged based on outward looks alone. So, to fight the stereotypes, we must address the root causes of addiction, and show compassion and support to those who need it. So, it needs evidence-based treatments made for individual needs.

Myth About Addiction: Addicts need willpower to overcome the addiction

You will also spend time learning how to take care of your body and mind through healthy eating and exercise. Developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help you heal from the effects of addiction, physically and emotionally. “Expanding support for our neighbors struggling with addiction, rather than throwing them behind bars saves lives, and improves community health more broadly,” said Murphy. But anyone who thinks we can’t afford effective drug treatment doesn’t understand the costs of addiction. Some people believe they are easy to spot as they are usually poor or homeless. However, the truth is, anyone can become an addict, and they are often hard to spot.

  • To end these misconceptions, it is necessary to debunk common myths.
  • Not everyone will choose to get help – despite our best efforts.
  • There are many common myths in society about substance use disorders born from outdated research that treated addiction as a social and moral failing.
  • Understanding relapse and changing treatment is important for better outcomes.

Prescription drugs have harmful effects, so accurate info about addiction is needed. Its unfavourable reputation means individuals are too ashamed to seek help, resulting in hidden cases. Different elements, including genetics, environment, and mental health, can lead to addiction, which cannot be cured by personal determination. Addressing mental health and addiction is vital for many reasons.

Myth #1: Those with an addiction can stop at any time.

To understand addiction as a disease, it’s important to disprove myths and misconceptions. Willpower alone can’t overcome addiction, showing the need for professional treatment. To combat stigmas and misconceptions, it’s essential to promote understanding, compassion, and support for addiction and recovery.

myths about addiction and recovery

Creating safe spaces both online and offline lets individuals share their experiences without judgment or shame. This helps break down barriers, providing much-needed support to those suffering from addiction. Dispelling shame and discussing addiction’s impact are key steps to heal society’s wounds.

A successful recovery means that your addiction won’t ever cross your mind

Common misconceptions about addiction and the character of a person can make it difficult for someone to willingly ask for help. Many would rather lie and struggle with addiction in silence than face the judgment of their friends, co-workers, family, and loved ones. It is time that we work on breaking the stigma of addiction and addiction recovery. Educating individuals about addiction’s complexity, and debunking common myths, encourages people to seek treatment.

  • Especially in recent years, there is a common misconception that only “hard” drugs are dangerous.
  • The ultimate outcome is not just attaining short-term abstinence but making permanent changes in behavior, mindset, and quality of life.
  • In this article, we have debunked some of the most common and enduring myths surrounding addiction.
  • “You mean people quit using painkillers when they no longer feel pain?

They may become unavailable to family and friends, steal for money or drugs, or make bad choices they wouldn’t have otherwise made. But, the fact is that they aren’t addicts because they lack moral fiber or because they are weak or bad people. Our whole-person approach recognizes that recovery is not just physical – it requires emotional, social, and spiritual support. If you have questions about addiction, recovery, or the myths surrounding them, our team in Portsmouth, Virginia, is here to help. It can take trying a few different forms of treatment before finding the type of treatment that helps someone based on their own unique needs, struggles, and experiences. The next of the addiction myths we’ll dive into is the idea that “experiencing a relapse is a complete failure” and it means any progress in recovery has been ruined.

Myth: If a person has a family life and holds a stable job, they cannot have a drug or alcohol addiction.

In reality, early intervention is key to successful addiction treatment. The sooner a person receives help for their addiction, the more likely they are to achieve long-term recovery. Armed with accurate information, we can better support those struggling with addiction and foster a more compassionate, informed society. So, let’s embark on a journey to challenge our preconceptions and deepen our understanding of this critical issue.