Do you want to learn about the psychology of an alcoholic to better related to what your loved one is going through?
There’s nothing more painful than seeing your loved one is going through drowning their sorrows with alcohol constantly. About 14.1 million adults experienced getting alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the US. What’s worse is that these people have their reasons to turn to alcohol.
You need to know the psychological effects of alcoholism to understand them better. If you want to understand the risks, reasons, and results of alcoholism and what your loved one is going through, read on. Here is the psychology of alcoholism.
Table of Contents
Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism
Alcoholism is often referred to as an alcohol use disorder. It’s a problematic drinking alcohol pattern, leading to distress or impairment. Some common symptoms of this disorder that your loved one is going through include:
- Failing to avoid alcohol
- Intense cravings to drink alcohol
- Lacking motivation to work or study
- Disengaged from activities and relationships
- Developing withdrawals
People with addictions often develop routines evolving around alcohol or other drugs. If their schedule changes, they may blame their frustration and stress on others. Alcoholism has the power to affect their emotions, leading to constant mood swings.
Risk Factors and Causes of Alcoholism
Alcoholism disorder is somewhat linked to a mix of social, biological, and psychological factors. Some people may develop alcoholism due to one’s genetic makeup. If you have a family history of people with alcohol problems, you have a higher chance of getting it as well.
It could also be that your family has a history of anxiety, depression, risk-taker, or an impulsive thinker. Others rely on alcohol to cope with trauma or other problems. A culture of drinking or family dysfunction can lead to alcoholism in a social factor.
Many factors can motivate one to start drinking alcohol, from home and family to friends and work. You may want to drink for fun, or you want to escape social anxiety and stress.
Psychological Effects of Drinking Alcohol
Although you may know the short-term effects of drinking, do you know the psychological effects of alcohol? Being dependent on alcohol can lead to long-term brain damage. Depending on alcohol for every minute of your life will change your mental being.
Let’s start with the short term effects that change your focus and coordination. Getting intoxicated depends on how much you drink, your weight, and your bodily makeup. You’ll start to get physical and mild cognitive impairment.
Drinking too fast or too much will lead to impaired coordination, confusion, and declined decision-making. Overdosing on alcohol will cause alcohol poisoning, causing vomiting, seizures, and so on. Alcohol poisoning happens when you drink more than your body can handle.
The feeling of drinking can be addicting to many, which leads to alcoholism. The long-term effect of chronic alcohol use will lead to your immune system weakening. It will affect your heart, digestion, cancer, and liver.
Drinking alcohol for long periods will raise your risks of poor nutrition. This will lead to Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS) development or wet brain. You feel constant mental confusion, memory problems, and eye movement issues.
Psychological Effects of Quitting Alcohol
Alcoholics who suddenly stop drink will experience withdrawals. This is when your brain starts to react to the sudden change in your body’s chemicals. Alcohol is a depressant, which means your brain gives more stimulating chemicals to balance it out.
Overproduction of stimulating chemicals becomes your brain’s new normal. When you stop drinking, your brain continues to overproduce. It will start to cause alcohol withdrawal symptoms that tell you that you have to drink to make it stop.
Here are common effects that happen when you stop drinking:
Six Hours to Two Weeks
The first 72 hours after you quit drinking is the most painful. Your body will flush out all the alcohol in your body, causing unpleasant acute withdrawals. You’ll get stressed from the lack of alcohol, causing shaking, headaches, and anxiety.
The more you were dependent on alcohol, the more you’ll experience a painful and intense withdrawal. It’s possible to develop delirium tremens after the first week. This is when you get confused continuously and hallucinate about certain things.
After Two Weeks
Full detoxification of your body can usually take up to two weeks after quitting. The symptoms of the weeks after won’t be as intense as the first days. However, your mental health takes a hit, making you feel depressed and unmotivated.
Mood swings are a common symptom that can last a few months after quitting. It will also be hard to fall asleep, especially if you slept right after drinking alcohol. Weeks after you quit drinking, it will get easier to recognize issues and what you lack.
After One Month
One month without drinking is a huge accomplishment, and most negative withdrawals will start to fade. You’ll start to see the decline of liver fat, reducing chronic liver issues. Your blood sugar and risk of type 2 diabetes will decrease.
Quitting alcohol after one month will allow your sleep quality to increase. It also improves your concentration and focuses when you work or study. However, alcohol relapse is common after a few months after quitting.
To avoid this, you need to stay by their side during the recovery period.
How Should You Help?
You’ve already started helping by learning more about alcoholism. The more you know about the problem, the easier it’ll be to access it. Once you’ve learned enough, it’s time to practice what you’re going to tell them.
Stay calm and assure the recovering alcoholic that they have your support and respect. Find the right time and place them to tell them about their problem. Make sure that they’re sober and have their full attention on you.
Give them your support throughout the entire rehab, from start to finish. Ensure you intervene when you see them going back to their usual routine.
Learn About the Psychology of Alcoholism
Make sure you stick by your loved one’s side while they recover. With the help of the guide above, you’ll have a better understanding of what your loved one is going through and what you can do to help.
If you want to understand the psychology of alcoholism further, check out our other posts. You may find something that allows you to be even better at helping your friends.