Drinking is considered by many as part of social life. Hence, it is not unusual for friends, colleagues and family to offer alcohol during a social activity.
There is nothing wrong with social drinking. Moreover, alcohol is a legal drug. The problem is when alcohol is consumed to tackle depression. Some people drink due to boredom or to forget a tragic event.
This can result in alcohol addiction, and the person may not even realize they are addicted until it becomes worse. If you have a loved one in such a situation, you may want to consider alcohol intervention.
Alcohol intervention is a carefully planned process by an addict’s friends and family to help overcome the addiction. It involves discussing with the person and helping them realize they have a problem and need to make changes before it worsens.
Common symptoms of alcohol addiction
Not all alcohol drinkers are addicts. Meanwhile, alcohol misuse ranges from mild to severe.
Below are some symptoms of alcohol addiction;
- Drunk driving.
- Inability to limit the amount consumed.
- Strong craving or urge to drink.
- Unsuccessful attempts to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms like nausea, sweating and shaking.
- Unable to stop drinking even when you notice it is the cause of your physical, social, work or relationship problems.
- Investing more energy and time in drinking than working or taking care of your family.
- Overspending on alcohol even when you can barely afford it.
Five reasons to quit drinking
A 2019 survey by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) revealed that 85.9 percent of people at least 18 years have drank alcohol at least once in their lifetime.
Meanwhile. more than 28 million people aged 12 and older had an alcohol use disorder in 2020.
Excessive consumption of alcohol is not good for your health. Below are some of the harmful effects of alcohol on the body’s organs and systems;
Alcohol has been discovered could interfere with the brain’s communication pathways to alter how it works. This is why someone drunk can see something different from reality.
Drinking cannot cure depression; it will only make it worse. Alcohol has also been linked with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a brain disorder caused by a lack of vitamin B1 that affects brain functioning and vision.
Whether consumed lightly or heavily, alcohol has effects on the heart. Excessive drinking can cause irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and stroke.
It has also been linked to cardiomyopathy, a disorder that affects the heart muscle.
Alcohol can hinder the activity of the immune system, which is responsible for helping the body fight infections and diseases. Chronic drinkers, for instance, are more prone to contracting pneumonia and tuberculosis.
Liver, Pancreas and stomach
Frequent drinking of alcohol can cause inflammation and liver diseases. Also, it can make the pancreas produce toxic substances that can cause pancreatitis, a condition that impairs digestion.
Consumption of alcohol has also been linked to stomach bleeding.
Chromic drinking of alcohol can harm many organs and systems in the body.
The organs most at risk of cancer due to alcohol consumption include:
- Mouth and throat
- Esophagus and voice box
- Colon and rectum
Expert tips to quit drinking
1. Note your why
Drinking is a habit, and it is sometimes not easy to break, especially if you have been doing it for a long time.
Therefore, it will not be easy to stop drinking but to make the journey easier, write out why you wish to quit. This might be to improve relationships with your family, better health or weight loss.
Irrespective of the reason, write it out and always take it with you everywhere to keep reminding yourself.
2. Map out a plan
There are different ways to quit drinking. They are best effective if planned based on how long you have been drinking and your personality and lifestyle.
Create a plan that best suits you, a licensed professional can help. You may start by deciding how much you will drink.
The recommendation guideline stipulates no more than two standard drinks for men under 65. However, this may be too high for people with certain health issues.
3. Seek supports
Inform people around you about your decision to stop drinking. This will motivate you to stick with your plan.
They may also help remind you of your choice whenever you want to grab a drink.
Rehearse ways to politely reject drinks when offered. You do not have to drink because others are doing the same. Remember, there is a reason you want to quit drinking, and you are doing this for yourself and your loved ones, not people encouraging you to drink. If possible, stay away from them.
You may also join a community of people who have also chosen to avoid alcohol.
4. Change your circle and environment
Avoid friends that are likely to pressure you to try a drink. A quick one bottle can turn into two, three and more.
During the early days of your alcohol abstinence, do not try to test your resolve by hanging out with friends for the usual happy hour. Hang out with people that drink less or not at all.
If you miss visiting the bar, there are other places you can visit to socialize without alcohol.
5. Keep yourself busy and be persistent
If boredom is one of the major reason you take alcohol, explore activities that keeps you busy such as sports or visiting a cinema to watch a movie.
Be persistent and consistent in abstaining from alcohol to rebuild a healthy habit.