Signs of Alcoholism in Washington State

For many years, alcoholism was thought to be a nothing more than a character flaw or lack of willpower, but the perspective has changed with modern research methods. Alcoholism is now classified as a disease that physically alters one’s brain. Once this disease has fully developed, alcoholism is characterized by ongoing episodes of heavy use and an inability for the individual to control their drinking. Common causes are one’s genetics, a past trauma, psychological problems, and societal pressure. While the path to sobriety may be difficult, Free by the Sea, an alcohol treatment facility in the State of Washington, utilizes cutting-edge methods to create permanent changes in one’s life. 

Serving the Pacific Northwest, including Washington (Vancouver), Oregon (Portland), and Alaska.

What Is Alcoholism?

No single factor determines who will become an alcoholic. Many people develop this disease because of the genetics they have inherited from their family as a result of a biochemical defect. Others will develop alcoholism with no other alcoholics in their family.

Most experts agree that alcoholism is a progressive condition that will continue to get worse until it is treated. Many people will consume heavy amounts of alcohol for a decade or longer without ever realizing that they are actually an alcoholic and what their disease is doing to their body. Others will go for 20 years or longer and not realize anything is wrong until a major medical issue takes place. Some of the most common physical effects of alcoholism and alcohol abuse include damage to one’s gastrointestinal, nervous, and cardiovascular systems. Over time, this damage will almost always be fatal.

The physical signs of alcohol consumption and intoxication are easily recognizable by most adults:

  • Problems with one’s balance and motor control
  • Slurring words and incoherent speech
  • Delayed motor reflexes
  • Redness in the face when taking alcohol or after the event
  • Pain in the stomach, vomiting, and general nausea
  • Loss of consciousness (blacking out)

In addition to all these signs of intoxication, everyone should realize that alcohol poisoning is extremely common as well as potentially fatal. Alcohol poisoning takes place when the amount of alcohol consumed severely depresses the respiratory system. Eventually, the person will stop breathing and die if left untreated.

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Some alcoholics have the ability to cover up their use for a limited period of time while others will begin to show signs of alcohol abuse immediately. Most alcoholics display some key signs of the disease. Primarily, an alcoholic will make the consumption of alcohol a central part of their life, often to the point that they neglect all other personal responsibilities. Others will begin to recognize situations in which they are likely to consume too much and carefully plan when and how they will drink. Some of the most common signs of alcohol abuse are as follows:

  • Not being attentive to one’s family, friends, or professional obligations
  • The inability to control how much one drinks after they have had their first drink
  • Showing erratic or unwarranted emotions such as anger and agitation, especially in unusual settings such as a public area
  • Periods of insomnia followed by heavy sleep
  • Persistent indulgence in actions that lead to major financial, health, or legal problems for the alcoholic and their loved ones

Signs of Alcoholism (Alcohol Dependence)

The regular abuse of alcohol will generally evolve into a full addiction when it is not treated within a short period of time. The physical dependency means that the alcoholic cannot break free from their addiction even though they recognize the negative consequences. After the first drink is taken, they will often have no control over how much they consume and how they act after becoming intoxicated. The individual will eventually focus on nothing else but obtaining and consuming alcohol. This condition is now classified as a serious medical illness and will typically include side effects such as the following:

  • Withdrawal symptoms when not consuming alcoholic
  • Repeatedly and unsuccessfully attempting to reduce the amount of alcohol that is consumed
  • Acknowledging the side effects of alcoholism without changing one’s habits
  • A diminished capacity to focus on professional or personal obligations
  • Requiring more and more alcohol to produce the same effects due to an increase in tolerance
  • Severe hangovers that often take days to recover fully from

Withdrawal Symptoms of Alcoholism

Anyone who is struggling with alcoholism must realize that they should never attempt to go “cold turkey” without professional supervision. The side effects of withdrawal can be very serious and result in medical complications. The withdrawal symptoms are often a clear indicator that the addiction is severe and has progressed quite far. Some of the symptoms of withdrawing from alcohol are the following:

  • Tremors, uncontrolled shaking of hands or the body, and convulsions
  • Extreme agitation and anxiety
  • Profuse sweating even when the weather is cold
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Persistent insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

The Effects of Alcohol Abuse Addiction

Abusing alcohol for a long period of time will produce a wide range of unwelcome side effects. Alcohol abuse will severely and negatively impact one’s emotional, mental, social, physical, and spiritual well-being without proper treatment. Along with creating a rift between family, friends, and loved ones, alcohol abuse will also damage vital organs and bodily functions including the following:

  • The liver
  • Nervous system
  • Heart
  • Brain
  • Gastrointestinal tract

Another common trait found in alcoholics is denial about serious medical problems. Many will attribute their health issues to other areas of their life such as stress or their family’s genes. Alcoholism will increase one’s risk for the following conditions:

  • Stomach problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Sexual problems
  • Osteoporosis (weakening of the bones), especially in women

In addition to these dangerous and potentially life-threatening medical problems, untreated alcoholism will almost always affect an individual socially and professionally. Showing up to work drunk or hungover will eventually become apparent to employers and often results in termination. The problem is further exacerbated as financial issues come into play. Alcoholism may also cause marital problems or result in domestic violence within one’s family.

Alcohol Effects on the Body

After consuming alcohol, an individual will eventually become drunk due to the presence of ethanol. This chemical acts as a depressant and will affect the brain and central nervous system. These ethanol molecules will begin to bind themselves to the GABA receptors in one’s brain where they will cause the brain to release chief inhibitory neurotransmitters. The chemical processing of becoming intoxicated is actually one of the primary reasons why detoxification can be dangerous. The liver is the body’s only option for filtering the alcohol, turning it into less toxic chemicals, and then expelling it through the kidneys and lungs. Long-term alcoholism will almost always cause irreversible damage to the liver.

Even though the negative consequences of alcohol abuse is apparent to most people, it is still extremely common throughout the world. Modern studies show that alcohol abuse is responsible for around 100,000 deaths every year in the United States and Canada. Some alcoholics will consume alcohol every day while others may find themselves binge drinking when stressed out, on the weekends, or during special occasions.

What Causes Alcoholism?

Scientists have not been able to pinpoint a precise cause of alcoholism, but they have been able to isolate some of the most common contributing factors. Genetics, mental health, and a person’s environment are generally considered to be the three biggest factors. That being said, two people can grow up in nearly identical families and still respond to alcohol differently.

Why Choose Free by the Sea

  • Only dual diagnosis treatment in the State of Washington
  • Psychologist and psychiatrist on staff
  • Long-term transitory living
  • 30-, 60-, and 90-day programs
  • Men and women in separate buildings
  • Eating, activities, and classes are all gender-specific

Don’t Wait. Call Today.

No one should ever put off alcohol abuse treatment for another time. This serious disease will almost always begin to impact every aspect of one’s life, as well as hurt those closest to them. In the end, alcohol will take everything from you and leave you with nothing but regrets. Call us today at 800-272-9199 for more information on how Free by the Sea can help you win the battle against alcohol addiction.

Contact Free by the Sea

Attempting to beat an addiction to either drugs or alcohol on one’s own is not likely to be successful. Those who are struggling with any addiction need to have access to a variety of services and specialists that can offer them the support they need to make lifelong changes. If you or a loved one is ready to finally move past your addiction and enjoy a healthy and fulfilling life, then please contact Free by the Sea, located in the State of Washington, today.