Understanding Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

458892257Small lapses of judgment can snowball into life-altering problems. Alcoholism and drug addiction are perfect examples of this stealth dynamic in action, and the subtle nature of the decline they precipitate makes it hard for people with substance abuse disorders to accurately perceive what is happening.

Choosing to drink or take drugs will not automatically lead to addiction. But addiction almost always leads to denial and rationalization, and that is as much a part of this disease as the physical dependency that defines it.

Your willingness to consider the possibility you might have a substance abuse disorder is a positive sign. But unless you understand how addiction distorts your perception you may never be able to face the truth about your plight.

The natural tendency of drug addicts and alcoholics who reflect on their substance abuse is to avoid a full and honest self-appraisal, leading them to underestimate how far down the rabbit hole of dependency they’ve actually fallen.

The best way to ensure your process of self-analysis stays on track is to educate yourself about the symptoms of alcoholism and drug addiction. Not just the physical symptoms but the emotional and psychological mind tricks substance abuse problems play, which can make it difficult to detect addiction from a first-person perspective.

Here are some common warning signs that might indicate your drug or alcohol habit has gotten out of control:

  • You need to drink more or take larger quantities of drugs to get the same effects.
  • You drink or take drugs every day, or always return to alcohol or drugs again after brief periods of sobriety.
  • You’ve started telling “little white lies” to the people you love, most of which revolve around your drinking or drugging.
  • Guilt and shame have become your constant companions, even though you’re not always sure what you’re feeling guilty or ashamed about.
  • In conversations about your behavior you frequently find yourself on the defensive (even in instances where your substance abuse isn’t brought up during the discussion).
  • You’ve gotten into the habit of using drugs or alcohol for mood alteration or enhancement (you can’t relax, have fun or feel comfortable in social situations without it, to give some examples).
  • You’re experiencing more of the troubling mood swings that helped push you toward drugs or alcohol in the first place.
  • Your physical health has started to decline.
  • Your family and friends are worried and they’ve been telling you about it.
  • The real-life consequences of your drinking and drug use have become impossible to ignore (financial troubles, relationship problems, declining performance on the job, etc.).
  • Your internal dialogues are loaded with rationalizations, as you’ve begun making just as many excuses to yourself as you’ve been making to others.

Generally speaking, the more of these symptoms you manifest the worse your substance abuse problem is likely to be.

With Eyes Wide Open, There is Hope

Alcoholism and drug abuse affect the mind, body and spirit. They sneak up on you and catch you by surprise, changing your entire life day-by-day until their ravages are undeniable. You have to notice what drugs or alcohol are doing to your life before you can do anything about them, and that means learning to recognize the warning signs of addiction while there is still time to make a change.

Follow our blog at A Calming Tide for more valuable information about substance abuse and strategies to overcome it.

The Link Between Alcohol, Insomnia, And Suicide

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Insomnia, Depression, Suicide and Alcohol: The links

Recent studies in alcohol consumption and ensuing behavioral disorders reveal that excessive alcohol consumption or alcohol addiction may result in insomnia and other sleeping disorders and these, in turn, can cause acute depression in the affected individuals. The alarming fact is that studies and surveys show that these depression bouts often lead to suicide and suicide attempts.

Alcohol and Insomnia: What is the Relationship?

Alcohol and insomnia share a sort of two-way relationship. People who suffer from insomnia are often known to revert to alcohol as a sort of curative. Since alcohol slows down the functions of our central nervous system, it acts as a kind of sedative. However, this does not mean that this leads to peaceful sleep. The tranquilizing effects of alcohol are known to last only during the first cycles of sleep but gradually wear away when we plunge into deeper sleep. As a result, alcohol-induced sleep may cause repeated waking in the last hours of sleep and this often results in fatigue, anxiety and depression.

On the other hand, people who are already alcohol addicts have high chances of suffering from insomnia and other sleep disturbances when they go off alcohol. This is one of the common withdrawal symptoms noted in alcohol addicts and it is common for many to start drinking again in an effort to escape these afflictions.

A figure shows that 1/5th of all Americans who die when drunk are suicides. Moreover, a large number of suicide attempt survivors are diagnosed with alcohol abuse-related disorders. According to researchers, young adults and teenagers form the greatest number of these suicide victims.

Researchers have found a causal link between alcohol consumption to suicidal action. Since sleeping patterns are impacted negatively by alcohol consumption and since this often leads to disturbing nightmares and hallucinatory or paranoiac vision and images, the affected individual often falls victim to acute forms of depression. And this in turn increases the suicide risk related to alcohol.

For more articles on drugs, alcohol, behavioral topics and more, follow our blog A Calming Tide: Drug, Alcohol and Behavioral Resource…