Millions of Americans and thousands of Washington residents struggle with Alcoholism annually. However, some question whether Alcoholism is a disease or a lifestyle choice.
How alcoholism affects you
Alcoholism is known as alcohol use disorder (AUD) and considered a disease due to the way it affects the brain. When a person has an alcohol addiction, the substance changes their brain chemistry, increasing their tolerance. As such, achieving the same effects, such as a high feeling or pain reduction, leads to more consumption of any available alcohol. Alcoholism takes full control of the person’s life and affects them in various ways.
A person who’s addicted to alcohol is unable to stop cold turkey. It’s easy for them to quickly lose control over how much they drink due to the change in their brain chemistry.
Alcoholism changes the brain’s structure and causes cognitive issues such as poor judgment, slower reaction time, impaired decision-making and difficulty learning. Alcohol can also cause physical damage and high blood pressure, stroke, diseased liver and more. Alcoholism greatly increases the risk of driving under the influence (DUI).
Why alcoholism is a disease
In addition to alcohol’s effects on the brain’s chemistry, other factors show it’s a disease and not simply a lifestyle. For example, Alcoholism can appear in family medical histories. So if a person has a close relative, such as a parent or grandparent, who suffers from alcohol addiction, the occurrence increases the chances that they or another immediate family member will imbibe and become an alcoholic.
Factors like environmental influences, behaviors, and successful treatments indicate that Alcoholism is a disease process.
Many people with mental health conditions turn to alcohol to numb their symptoms. But, unfortunately, they also have a higher risk of Alcoholism.
Alcoholism can take over your entire life; get help to save yourself.