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6 Ways in which alcohol dependency can harm your mental health.

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Just like any other substance, alcohol affects people differently. While some people may find a glass or two overwhelming, some find drinking a bottle of alcohol daily necessary. In our everyday social setting, having two or fewer drinks per day is considered moderate drinking. However, consuming too much alcohol too often and being in a position where you no longer have control over your alcohol consumption can signify a big problem.

Alcohol dependency, a situation where a person needs alcohol to get through their day, is a growing concern across the globe. According to a recent report on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in the United States, about 18 million people struggle with alcohol dependency. This situation can be financially and mentally disruptive but also life-threatening. Therefore programs like baton rouge detox are essential to lead a healthy and dependency-free life.

What is alcohol dependency:

Alcohol dependency is a condition wherein a person craves alcohol. This person is no longer in a position to control this urge to drink, and in addition, they also suffer from the need to drink more significant amounts of alcohol. Alcohol dependency can have various consequences and can affect a person both physically and mentally. A person suffering from a condition of alcohol dependency can exhibit some of the below-mentioned symptoms:

• Greater alcohol tolerance:

Sometimes, when you are dependent on alcohol, your body and mind need more alcohol to get the desired effect. For example, if a person used to drink two glasses of alcohol every day, they will need 5-6 glasses to experience the same feeling they are looking for.

• Withdrawal symptoms:

Alcohol dependency may manifest in some physical symptoms as well. A person suffering from a condition like alcohol dependency may experience symptoms like insomnia, shivering, and frequent mood swings when they do not get enough alcohol, even for a short period.

• Curing a hangover:

When withdrawal symptoms manifest in a person, they try to avoid it by shaking away a hangover. Therefore, people with alcohol dependency issues often start consuming alcohol to prevent withdrawal symptoms.

• Unsuccessful efforts to cut down:

When a person continuously makes latent or patent efforts to avoid drinking but remains unsuccessful in their efforts, it is a sign that the body has become dependent on alcohol.

Alcohol dependency is a severe health condition and may even worsen to something more dangerous. And since alcohol affects various organs, it can weaken the human heart, nervous system, and blood sugar levels.

How alcohol dependency can harm your mental health:

Aggression:

According to the latest report by the World Health Organization, alcohol dependency and consumption are closely associated with aggressive behavior. While there can be many neurological factors associated with greater aggression, alcohol consumption can further aggravate it. In addition, alcohol has the power to provoke different emotional responses from different people. So, if you tend to be short-tempered, alcohol dependency may further aggravate it. Therefore, if you are dependent on alcohol, you are likely to get more aggressive and dangerous when no alcohol is available.

Depression:

We often hear that people drink to drown their sorrows, as alcohol helps them sleep well. Additionally, a few glasses of alcohol can also help in relaxing anxiety. While having a drink once in a while when you are feeling stressed or anxious is one thing, drinking alcohol every time a problem crops up is a sign of dependency. With around 1/3 of people suffering from depression may start alcohol consumption, drinking will only make depression worse. Since alcohol is considered a depressant, drinking can make a person more likely to lead to depression.

Impaired cognition:

One study found that brain damage is the most common consequence of chronic alcohol use. Mental activities like acquiring information, storing, retrieving, and using it are adversely affected by alcohol dependency. Too much alcohol can impair cognitive function and make activities like problem-solving, processing information, and making reasoned decisions difficult. Additionally, too much alcohol can slow down the function in the prefrontal cortex, leading to problems with impulse control. Persistent cognitive impairment leads to poor performance and contributes to chronic heavy drinking. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a condition where a patient cannot remember new information for more than a few seconds, is an example of how alcohol dependency can cause devastating and irreversible brain damage. Additionally, cognitive impairment also may impede recovery from alcoholism.

Risky behavior:

With alcohol dependence and persistent cognitive impairment, a person is likely to have a tough time performing their jobs well. A significant proportion of alcohol-dependent people develop disorders in which the patient is incapable of gathering and processing information, which contributes to them making reckless choices leading to risky behavior. Since alcohol gives rise to disinhibition, people cannot suppress or change their actions according to the situation. Furthermore, people who tend to consume more alcohol every day are more likely to display risky behavioral patterns. This tendency is further heightened when they are under intoxication. Thus due to impaired cognition and poor decisions, a person with alcohol dependency is likely to indulge in activities and patterns that are risky.

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Psychosis:

Psychosis is a condition where disruption to a person’s thoughts and perceptions cannot differentiate between what is real and what is not. Psychosis is characterized as a sense of a break from reality. The cognitive and perceptual changes associated with specific psychotic conditions can give rise to tendencies where a person starts seeing, hearing and feeling things that aren’t real or present there. This further contributes to unwarranted thoughts and beliefs. Although the reasons behind the condition of psychosis are not fully known, it is likely due to a combination of multiple factors, including heavy alcohol dependency. Additionally, studies suggest that people with psychotic disorders are more likely to abuse alcohol than those who do not.

Way ahead:

Many people with alcohol dependency continue to indulge in drinking despite developing health problems associated with heavy drinking. So, if an alcohol-dependent person decides to change their lives and quit drinking, it is crucial to acknowledge their problem and seek quality treatment. However, the success of the treatment will depend on the person seeking it and how motivated they are to fight the evil. Alcohol dependency can have many short-term and long-term effects. Therefore it is essential to address it as quickly as possible

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