The NHS recommends drinking no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. If somebody persistently feels the desire to have an alcoholic beverage and cannot go without, this is characterised as alcohol dependency or alcoholism. A number of health risks are significantly elevated in those who drink alcohol on a regular basis. Some hazards are temporary, while others can leave a lasting effect on your physical condition.
Some individuals can develop a physical attachment to alcohol; reducing intake can therefore trigger withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, hallucinations and cold sweats. If you recognise that you suffer from alcohol dependency, seek help from a professional.
There are various paths that can lead to successful recovery, with detoxification, counselling and medication being the main ones. Start by visiting your doctor—based on your circumstances they will be able to suggest an appropriate course of action.
Prescribed medicines can alleviate alcohol cravings and lessen withdrawal symptoms.
Depending on the severity of your condition, your medical practitioner will judge if these are necessary for you. The most common medications for treating alcoholism are chlordiazepoxide, acamprosate and naltrexone.
Various rehabilitation centres across the country offer medical detox programmes that assess your dependency level and offer appropriate medications if necessary. Most detox courses last between seven to 10 days but may be longer depending on your progress.
Counselling can be hugely beneficial to finding the root of a drinking problem. Methods like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are used as a way of identifying destructive behaviour. Other helpful resources include Alcohol Concern’s national drink helpline (0300 123 1110) and Alcoholics Anonymous’ helpline (0845 769 7555).
Short-term risks of alcohol misuse:
- Accident or injury such as head trauma
- Loss of memory or personal possessions
- Vomiting or in more serious circumstances can lead to alcohol poisoning
- Dehydration and headaches
- Loss of motor skills and stability
- Asphyxiation from vomiting
- Violent behaviour
- Vulnerability to violent attacks
Long-term risks of alcohol misuse
- Onset of stroke
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Liver cancer
- Bowel cancer
- Domestic abuse
- Depression and anxiety