Over the years, the use and consumption of alcohol have been very common in many societies and among different categories of people. This is because alcohol is socially accepted in virtually all the countries. Its acceptance has therefore made it one of the most frequently abused substances.
It is; however, very important to know that alcohol is a depressant that depresses the activities of humans’ Central Nervous System. When your central nervous system is thus affected, your judgment and perception of issues are seriously impeded and your reaction to things is also altered. The dangerous dimension to the consumption of alcohol is that generally, alcoholics develop a yearning or a strong push for more drinks even though they are aware that problems are being created because of the habit. Furthermore, alcoholics suffer from impaired control, and become physically reliant on alcohol.
Ironically, even when an alcoholic stops alcohol consumption after a period of heavy use, several unpleasant consequences (withdrawal symptoms) are experienced. These include: nausea, sweating, shakiness and anxiety. Alcoholics further build up a bigger tolerance for alcohol and they realize that they need to consume greater amounts of it to get satisfaction. It is also not uncommon for alcoholics to seek out by all means opportunities to consume alcoholic beverages; most times, neglecting other activities and taking solace in alcohol consumption when there are issues and challenges in their homes or workplace. When this stage has been reached, it can be described as ‘addiction’.
Addiction And How It Sets In
Being addicted to alcohol or any other substance has a lot to do with the brain. Addiction can be described as a very intricate disorder which is characterized by uncontrollable use of substances. It is true that each substance a person uses has different effects on the brain and continual use of such substances has the capacity to change the way the human brain functions. Now let’s take a look at some of the ways alcohol sends messages to the brain, causing addiction to set in:
- When you take alcohol or any other recreational substance, there is a degree of pleasure which is triggered by the surge in the levels of a chemical substance occurring in the brain (dopamine). Each time your brain remembers these feelings, it wants it repeated and you follow it with a physical action. Your brain remembers these feelings and wants them repeated.
- When you continue the use of alcohol and other substance, it takes on a very important part of your survival activities such as eating and drinking and you can’t seems to avoid it.
- The moment these changes are stored in your brain, your ability to think clearly, provide sound judgment, control how you behave and act normally without the influence of the substance is negatively affected.
- Addiction gives you a craving that becomes greater than every other thing else such as your career, spouse, family, health and what have you.
- You mind begins to deny or provide explanation why you must continue to use the drugs and why it is ‘good’ for you.
- Due to the addiction, you may end up underestimating the quantity of drugs you use and its impact on your health.
Determinants of Addiction in Individuals
Peradventure you have observed that some people use alcohol and they seems not to be ‘negatively affected’ or addicted unlike some others. This is because just like many other conditions, people’s level of vulnerability to this habit differs. The interplay of several factors determines how susceptible you are to it. As we continue in this article, we are going to examine some of the risk factors that increase your susceptibility? They include:
- History of this challenge in one’s family;
- Previous experience of sexual abuse, trauma or negative experiences;
- Physical and mental disorders;
- Drug and alcohol usage from a tender age
- Proximity to alcohol or other substances
The Process of Addiction Development
Since no one develops it overnight, it is very important to examine how it develops. This is very necessary so that you can do an appropriate self examination because very many individuals who use alcohol continue in the act because they claim it makes them feel good. In several cases however, quite a number of addicted folks do not even know they have crossed that line and getting to know how the process develops will open your eyes. The following are some of the ways:
- Gradual increase of alcohol use ‘unconsciously’. Due to the fact that you move with a certain group of people who are fond of taking few bottles of alcoholic beverages every day after work, you may gradually be getting used to it and you are becoming addicted..
- Reliance on alcohol to fulfill a void. You may realize that each time you have an hot argument with a colleague or your spouse, taking some bottles of alcoholic beverage ‘helps’ you or you discover that before you go for a presentation or any social event, you have to take some shots of alcohol to enhance your performance or make you confident, you are gradually becoming addicted and will need to work on your social skills and other necessary things to avoid this.
- Deterioration in performance. This habit may be setting in when you realize that at work or in school, your performance level is dropping due to the fact that you now spend your productive time on alcohol consumption rather than dealing with productive issues in your job or family.
- You seem not to have control over your use of alcohol and other substances. When, over time, you see the need to stop using alcohol and you attempt to but each time you have an issue, you find solace in alcohol consumption, and it seems you are powerless in confronting it. When what you started as a voluntary choice has turned into a physical and psychological need, addiction has set in.
There is Hope
Probably, you have observed any of the things mentioned above; all hope is not lost as you can overcome. There are programmes and activities designed to get you out. There are quite a number of rehabilitation centres and de-addiction centres that you can benefit from. Safe house wellness retreat is a good example of places you can get all the help you need to break that habit!