Alcohol dependence, which is also known as alcoholism, is a disorder where a person is physically and psychologically dependent on alcohol. Alcoholism is an extremely common disorder. In fact, it is estimated that eight percent of women and 17 percent of men will develop alcoholism at some point in their life.
Causes and Risk Factors
There are many factors that can contribute to alcohol dependence. Some people are at a much greater risk for developing alcoholism because it runs in their family. In fact, people whose parents drink alcohol are four times more likely to develop alcoholism themselves. Genetics play a role in alcoholism. The environment that a person grew up in can also contribute to alcoholism.
- It is important to note that alcohol abuse is not the same as alcoholism. It is possible for a person to abuse alcohol and not have an addiction to it. However, alcohol abuse is a risk factor for alcohol dependence. Studies have shown that people who have more than 12 drinks per week are at a greater risk for developing alcoholism.
Young adults who experience peer pressure are at a greater risk for developing alcoholism. A young person may not really want to drink, but he or she feels compelled to in order to fit in with the crowd. Other risk factors for alcoholism include low self-esteem, stress and mental illness.
Symptoms of Alcoholism
There are several signs that a person may exhibit if he or she has alcoholism. Some of those symptoms include:
- drinking alone
- increasing one’s drinking habits
- neglecting personal hygiene
- eating poorly
- missing days at school or work
Physical symptoms of alcohol dependence include blackouts, tremors and intense craving for alcohol. People may also experience intense withdrawal symptoms if they attempt to stop drinking.
Health Effects of Alcoholism
Alcoholism can have serious health consequences. The liver is the organ that filters out the alcohol. However, repeated alcohol abuse can cause serious damage to the liver. It can lead to a condition called cirrhosis. Cirrhosis occurs when scar tissue develops in the liver. Alcoholism can also lead to liver failure.
There are many other health risks associated with alcoholism. Some of those health risks include high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. It is estimated that alcohol use disorder causes around 88,000 deaths per year.
Why People With Alcohol Dependence Need Inpatient Rehab
It can be scary to look at all of the grim alcohol dependence statistics. However, many people have been able to turn their life around thanks to inpatient rehab. Inpatient rehab gives people all of the resources they need to break free of their addiction. It also teaches people how they can remain sober for life.