What is Alcohol Use Disorder? CBT Kenya
For many people, drinking alcohol is nothing more than a pleasant way to relax. People with alcohol use disorders, however, drink to excess, endangering both themselves and others. Unhealthy alcohol use includes any alcohol use that puts your health, safety at risk or causes other alcohol-related problems. If your pattern of drinking results in repeated significant distress and problems functioning in your daily life, you likely have alcohol use disorder.
It occurs when you drink so much that your body eventually becomes dependent on or addicted to alcohol. When this happens, alcohol becomes the most important thing in your life. People with alcohol use disorder will continue to drink even when drinking causes negative consequences, like losing a job or destroying relationships with people they love. They may know that their alcohol use negatively affects their lives, but it’s often not enough to make them stop drinking.
The cause of alcohol use disorder is still unknown. Alcohol use disorder develops when you drink so much that chemical changes in the brain occur. These changes increase the pleasurable feelings you get when you drink alcohol. This makes you want to drink more often, even if it causes harm.
- Problem drinking has multiple causes, with genetic, physiological, psychological,and social factors all playing a role. Not every individual is equally affected by each cause. For some alcohol abusers, psychological traits such as impulsiveness, low self-esteem and a need for approval prompt inappropriate drinking. ]
- Some individuals drink to cope with or “medicate” emotional problems. Social and environmental factors such as peer pressure and the easy availability of alcohol can play key roles. Poverty and physical or sexual abuse also increase the odds of developing alcohol dependence.
- Genetics and family history of alcohol problems. Genetics play a role, with hereditability approximately 60 percent. However, like other chronic health conditions, AUD risk is influenced by the interplay between a person’s genes and their environment. Parents’ drinking patterns may also influence the likelihood that a child will one day develop AUD.
- Once people begin drinking excessively, the problem can perpetuate itself. Heavy drinking can cause physiological changes that make more drinking the only way to avoid discomfort. Individuals with alcohol dependence may drink partly to reduce or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
How do alcohol use disorders affect people?
- Alcohol problems don’t just hurt the drinker. Spouses and children of heavy drinkers may face family violence; children may suffer physical and sexual abuse, neglect and develop psychological problems.
- Women who drink during pregnancy run a serious risk of damaging their fetuses. Relatives, friends and strangers can be injured or killed in alcohol-related accidents and assaults.
- Drinking problems also have a very negative impact on mental health. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can worsen existing conditions such as depression or induce new problems such as serious memory loss, depression or anxiety.
For most people, treatment for an AUD is helpful. But overcoming an alcohol use disorder is an ongoing process, and you may relapse (start drinking again). You should look at relapse as a temporary setback, and keep trying. Many people repeatedly try to cut back or quit drinking, have a setback, then try to quit again. Having a relapse does not mean that you cannot recover. If you do relapse, it is important to return to treatment right away, so you can learn more about your relapse triggers and improve your coping skills. This may help you be more successful the next time.
Some people with drinking problems work hard to resolve them. With the support of family members or friends, these individuals are often able to recover on their own. However, those with alcohol dependence usually can’t stop drinking through willpower alone. Many need outside help. They may need medically supervised detoxification to avoid potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures. Once people are stabilized, they may need help resolving psychological issues associated with problem drinking.
Many people with AUD do recover, but setbacks are common among people in treatment. Seeking professional help early can prevent relapse to drinking. Behavioral therapies can help people develop skills to avoid and overcome triggers, such as stress, that might lead to drinking. Medications also can help deter drinking during times when individuals may be at greater risk of relapse.
CBT-Kenya (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Kenya) counseling center offers counseling and therapy sessions for persons from all walks of life. We focus on helping clients gain insight into themselves by going through a healing process. Our purpose is to help you to achieve your therapeutic and life goals, to improve the quality of your life and to help you to build strong relationships in your life. Get in touch or book an appointment on +254 739 935 333, +254 756 454 585 or firstname.lastname@example.org.