What Is Alcoholism

Alcoholism, previously referred to as alcohol dependence or alcohol addiction, is a severe alcohol disorder.  The disease involves the habitual intake of alcohol.  Alcoholism is considered a disease as opposed to bad behavior and is very common.  What distinguishes alcoholism from alcohol abuse is that alcoholism leads to withdrawal, destructive patterns, and a higher tolerance, which leads to more alcohol consumption.  Alcoholism affects about 4% of women and 10% of males, and a total of 14 million Americans have alcoholism.  Too much alcohol negatively affects the liver, pancreas, heart, brain, and immune system, and it can lead to an irregular heartbeat, liver failure, and an increased risk of getting cancer. 


Signs Of Alcoholism

Identifying the signs and symptoms of alcoholism is not necessarily easy until later in the disease.  Common signs are job loss or drinking related arrests, both caused by alcohol impaired judgment.  One of the main signs of alcoholism is the inability to function without alcohol, as well as an increased tolerance to the effects.  Physical dependence, meaning that the person gets shaky, sweaty, anxious, or nauseous without consuming alcohol, is another sign of alcoholism.  More signs and symptoms are as follows.

  • Growing Interest in Alcohol Consumption
  • Denial of Having an Addiction to Alcohol
  • Built Up Tolerance to Alcohol
  • Drinking Alone
  • Drinking Before and Activity
  • Desire to Avoid Family or Friends
  • Difficulty Performing On-the-Job Duties
What Causes Alcoholism

The cause of alcoholism is still unknown.  When one develops an alcohol dependency, meaning he/she relies on alcohol to function, chemical changes in the brain take place.  When these changes happen they increase the pleasurable feeling one gets when alcohol is consumed.  Alcoholism is something that develops over time and it has been known to run in families.  Certain factors can increase the risk of developing alcoholism.  See the list below.

  • A Mental Health Problem (anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia)
  • Binge Drinking
  • A Parent who has Alcoholism (Similarly, one can develop alcoholism if a family member has it)
  • Experience High Levels of Stress
  • Excessive Drinking (more than 15 drinks a week for males, and 12 drinks a week for females)
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • A Young Adult Experiencing Peer Pressure

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • One of the best things people who have alcoholism can do is attend AA or Al-Anon meetings.  These meetings, which are designed for alcoholics or people who have an alcoholic family member, are available in most cities. Attending these meetings will educate the alcoholic or family members about the severity of the disease.  They are often a place of solace and help many alcoholics find sobriety.  In certain circumstances, therapy can also be a great remedy for alcoholics.  
  • Exercising can also help relieve the body of stress and help take the mind off consuming alcohol.  When you’re exercising, your focus is not on drinking, rather, you concentrate on the way you feel.  Exercise helps to boost the body's production of endorphins, which improve one's mood and decrease the desire and need for alcohol.  Acupuncture also helps release endorphins by using certain pressure points.  It also helps relieve anxiety and increase overall wellness. 
  • Taking a biochemical approach to repair the body is a great natural remedy that can aid one's path to sobriety. First one must detox, repair the damage, and then care for the body.  Remove alcohol or mind altering substances, caffeine, sugar, and nicotine from your diet.  Stick to raw foods that provide the nutrients you need for recovery because a poor diet can lead to alcohol cravings.  Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is commonly found in alcoholics and needs to be treated, otherwise relapse can occur.  Refrain from hanging around people who consume alcohol.  Finally, keep yourself busy to avoid boredom, as this is the first step on the road to relapse. 
  • Consuming foods or natural, herbal supplements that are high in vitamin B12, vitamin C, glutamine, and amino acids (spirulina is a great source of these) helps repair the damage caused by alcohol.  Getting healthy doses of magnesium, essential fatty acids, and calcium can also help combat alcoholism. 
  • There has to be a will to stop the consumption of alcohol.  The individual needs to commit to stop drinking and use the natural remedies in this list to avoid relapsing. 
Things you should eat
  • Bell Peppers
  • Guavas
  • Dark Leafy Greens (Kale, Spinach, Swiss Chard)
  • Kiwis
  • Beets (preferably juiced)
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Avocado
  • Plant-based Protein sources (helps improve blood circulation)
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