There is no doubting the fact that alcohol addiction is an illness that can destroy the lives of those affected. It leads to poor health and, in many cases, premature death, as well as impacting on quality of life and the ability to earn an income. But did you know that it is not just the individual who will pay the price for their addiction to alcohol? If you are close to someone with alcoholism, you may already know how alcohol addiction affects families. Nonetheless, if you are experiencing this illness for the first time, the following article will provide more information on the devastating effects it can have.
How Does Alcohol Addiction Affect the Individual?
Substance abuse is quite common here in the UK, particularly when it comes to alcohol. The biggest issue is that most people are unaware that their level of alcohol consumption constitutes abuse. The UK Government has recommended that adults drink no more than fourteen units of alcohol per week, spread across the entire week and with a few days kept alcohol-free.
Unfortunately, there are many who do not realise the impact that drinking more than this can have on their health. There are some who drink every day and others who would regularly drink more than fourteen units per week. In fact, some studies have shown that there are many individuals who drink more than their full week’s allowance in one drinking session, thus putting their health at risk.
The most obvious effect of alcohol addiction occurs in the individual who will undoubtedly begin to notice health problems after a sustained period of alcohol abuse. The reality is that nobody chooses to become an addict but those who regularly abuse alcohol are risking a physical dependence and subsequent addiction.
Once addiction takes hold, the individual may put alcohol above everything, including family members, friends, and their responsibilities. The things once enjoyed will no longer have any importance. The affected person will neglect their duties both at home and at work and will probably stop taking part in any activities that they once found pleasure in.
Physical and mental health will begin to suffer; alcohol addiction has been linked to various health problems including high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, liver damage, and cancer. There is also a negative impact on mental health, with many alcoholics suffering with anxiety disorder and chronic depression. Prolonged alcohol abuse is also said to be connected to dementia.
The impact on the individual cannot be understated, but the impact on relationships with family members must also be noted. The longer a person continues with his or her alcohol abuse, the higher the likelihood that he or she will lose the people closest to them. Unless the individual gets help, he or she is at risk of losing everything once held dear.
How Does Alcohol Addiction Affect Families?
It is easy to say that alcohol addiction is only having a negative impact on the individual, but those who live with an alcoholic will know that this is untrue. Parents, spouses, siblings, and children will all feel the full force of their loved one’s addiction; in many cases, the effects will be deep and lasting.
The addict is never easy to live with; he or she may become verbally or physically abusive to others in the house when under the influence of alcohol. Erratic and unpredictable can cause heartache for everyone else in the home.
Being unable to work effectively because of the addiction can make many alcoholics poor providers. They may be able to present an outward appearance that everything is fine, but their inability to provide properly for loved ones means that the family may suffer financially.
The affected individuals may also be unable to provide adequate care for their dependents. Alcoholic parents are often incapable of offering proper care and attention to their children. The kids may then suffer deeply as a result, with many being bullied by their peers for not having clean clothing, etc.
Children of alcoholic parents are often profoundly affected by their parent’s addiction. They will suffer emotional scars that can frequently last a lifetime. Some will find it difficult to form healthy relationships with others while others will become isolated and withdrawn because they are afraid to let people in for fear they will find out about their parent’s problem.
The example that alcoholic parents set for their own children can also have negative consequences for the child as he or she gets older. Statistics show that children of alcoholic parents are five times more likely to go on to suffer with addiction themselves when they become adults.
Addicts may also lie to and steal from their loved ones in order to fund their addiction. This can be very upsetting for family members and friends who find it hard to believe that these are the actions of the same person they grew up with or have known for a long time. It is difficult to comprehend that someone can change so dramatically, and family members often describe the addicted loved one as unrecognisable from the person they once knew. This in itself can be deeply distressing, and many family members find it hard to deal with this side of the illness.
Who Else Does Alcoholism Affect?
You may think that you are immune from alcoholism, but the reality is that it is an illness that does not discriminate. Anyone who abuses alcohol is at risk for addiction, and those with a family history of this illness are at even more risk for developing it.
The stigma attached to illnesses such as alcoholism cause most people to look on it in an unfavourable light. The idea of developing an addiction may be something that most people who drink would never even consider. This is probably the biggest problem of all; most assume that alcoholics are a specific type of person or come from a certain background, but this is not the case.
Absolutely anyone can be affected by alcoholism if they drink it; it does not matter whether they are male or female, old or young, rich or poor.
If you are worried about your own drinking habits or those of someone you love, contact us here at Oasis Bradford today. We can provide you with advice and information on how to deal with the issue of alcohol abuse and addiction. With our detox and rehabilitation programmes for those with alcohol addiction, we can help you and your loved one to overcome this illness once and for all.