What Alcohol Can Do to Your Family

alcoholicAlcoholism is the term used for an addition to alcohol. Alcoholism is classified as a disease, and it is diagnosed when the individual who drinks has signs of physical dependence on alcohol and who continues to drink, despite problems with physical health, mental health, and social, family or job responsibilities. There is no known cause of alcoholism, although some research indicates that some people have a genetic predisposition to alcoholism or other addictions. Alcohol is also more common in those with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia.

Those who have alcoholism tend to display a number of classic symptoms that can indicate a dependence on alcohol. These symptoms include drinking even though it has caused problems with their health, work or family, drinking alone, becoming violent whilst drinking, becoming hostile when asked about their drinking, being unable to stop or reduce their alcohol intake, needing to use alcohol to get through the day, trying to hide alcohol use, shaking in the morning after alcohol use, having memory lapses after periods of heavy drinking, needing more and more alcohol to be drink, becoming abusive and irritable towards family members and having alcohol withdrawal symptoms if they don’t drink for a day.

Medical advice for treating alcohol abuse tends to lean towards the family of the alcoholic supporting them through their withdrawal. The alcoholic may also be put on medication to make them sick if they do drink alcohol as well as medication that prevents the alcohol cravings. After the alcoholic has been medicated, it is then down to them to remove the alcohol from their life. Rehab facilities may also be used and are often very successful providing the alcoholic sticks to the programme.

Many of us also think that just having a blow-out on alcohol once or twice a week is okay. But that sort of behaviour can easily slip into needing a drink after dinner to needing a drink with your lunch and then for your breakfast. Alcohol abuse is on the rise and has been for the last ten years, because supermarket bargains have driven the price down and alcohol is now available for pence, compared to what it used to be available for.

The prevalence of cheap alcohol is, I believe, what caused my family to break down. My father is an alcoholic and we were advised to try and support him so that he could quit the drink. But if you’ve never experienced living with an alcoholic, you’ll have no idea how difficult it is to support an alcoholic. My father was a classic example of an alcoholic – secretive with his drinking, having a drink before he took us to school, becoming violent and aggressive for no reason, becoming violent and aggressive when alcohol or money was withdrawn and taking no care in his appearance.

Alcoholism caused him to have severe seizures as the alcohol had caused various neurons to fire incorrectly, triggering fitting. After the fits began, he was told he had one year to live. That didn’t change any of his habits and soon after that, he developed stomach cancer. Once again, that was cured, but it did not change any of his habits. Eventually, my mother asked him to leave and since that time, I haven’t seen him. I’ve heard through the grapevine that he has lost his mind – he is referred to as ‘weirdo alcoholic bloke’ in the area that he lives in and regularly causes scenes in shops. His voice is slurred, unintelligible and he looks thirty years older than his age.

A man is willing to lose his family, his dignity, his health and his life all because of one drink –  despite the fact that that very drink gave him cancer and epilepsy. But – alcoholism can be treated, and that’s why I wrote this article. If you or any of your family members is displaying any symptoms of alcoholism, seek medical help. All of the symptoms arising from alcoholism are 100% preventable – so keep your life, sanity and family intact and quit drinking before it is too late.