How Alcoholism Affects Your Entire Life
For many people, alcohol is simply something used to unwind or further enjoy a night out on the town. Unfortunately, there are others who rely more and more heavily on alcohol until it turns into an addiction. This dependency is dangerous to all aspects of life, from your wallet to your physical health. Understanding the impact this can have on you or a loved one is the first step to identifying the problem and seeking help. Learn more about how alcoholism affects your entire life with this overview.
Alcoholism, like any addiction, takes over your life and causes you to ignore the people in it—even those that mean the most to you. There are many reasons why drinking might place strain on your various relationships, and the problems only get worse the longer someone suffers from alcohol abuse. Fortunately, family therapy, rehabilitation, or other forms of treatment can help both you and your loved ones get help and work through these problems to reach a healthier, happier lifestyle.
One of the most well-known symptoms of alcoholism is marital problems. An alcohol dependency can cause poor communication, increased stress, arguments, and even physical altercations in a relationship. Around 60 to 70 percent of domestic violence situations are caused by a partner who abuses alcohol. Even if physical violence doesn’t occur, the behavioral and financial issues caused by alcoholism can still cause strain in a marriage or other romantic relationship.
Children or other close family members—such as a parent or cousin—are also impacted by alcoholism. These relationships can also turn codependent, especially in the case of children and parents. Children who grew up with an alcoholic family member are also more likely to abuse alcohol themselves as adults. There are more immediate issues as well. Alcohol addiction causes people to neglect their responsibilities. This impairs your ability to help around the house, keep appointments or other promises, and generally care for the people around you.
Alcoholism affects everyone in your life, even those outside your household. Grabbing a drink and hanging out with friends becomes a lot more serious when you can’t control your alcohol intake. While a solid support group is a huge help in the recovery process, it’s still important for your friends to take care of themselves. Unfortunately, this can cause extra stress and distance in a friendship. Additionally, the health problems caused by alcohol abuse—from physical symptoms such as hangovers to emotional ones such as mood disorders—might also prevent you from enjoying time with your loved ones.
Financial troubles go hand-in-hand with any substance use disorder. Your career may be disrupted or even ended by health issues, which in turn can cost you a lot of money in medical expenses. Add in the actual price of buying drinks and the impact alcoholism has on your professional life, and it’s evident that alcohol abuse can take a serious toll on your bank account.
Alcohol abuse can lead to a decrease in performance and productivity at work or school. Individuals suffering from alcoholism are more likely to call in sick or simply not show up to class or work, either due to health issues or just a lack of motivation and priorities. If you’re a student, this can lead to lower grades, suspension or dismissal from teams or clubs, and fewer opportunities throughout and after your academic career. For employees, underperforming harms your reputation and potential. Promotions and raises become less likely, while losing your job becomes more likely. If you’re convicted of a crime due to alcohol, getting a new job might be difficult due to criminal record background checks.
Even if your income isn’t affected, your spending will be. Alcohol isn’t cheap, and addiction makes you want to buy it frequently and in large quantities. If you’re having a night on the town with friends, alcoholism can make one or two drinks turn into many more. The impaired judgment that comes with drinking can also lead to increased spending. Perhaps you forget about your budget and buy a round for everyone at the table. If you’re drinking at home and browsing the internet, you might end up buying something tempting but ultimately unnecessary. Even relatively small monetary amounts—such as the price of a six-pack of beer—can add up quickly once they become a regular purchase.
When you’re drunk, you have impaired judgment and reason. Because of this, an individual suffering from alcohol abuse is more likely to do something that will get them into legal trouble.
Alcohol negatively impacts your coordination, concentration, vision, and reaction time. This means that getting behind the wheel while drunk can be a fatal mistake. In the United States, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent or higher, and the consequences can follow you for years. If you’re convicted of a DUI, you may have to pay court fees, attend an alcohol treatment program, or obtain SR22 insurance to reinstate your license. If the latter is true, you’ll have to find a policy with an insurance company that offers SR22 insurance and maintain that policy throughout its duration in order to avoid extra fees and consequences.
Alcohol can increase aggression and lead to a higher chance of getting into fights or other types of disorderly conduct. While these minor offenses might not have serious consequences at first, they can quickly turn into regular, more serious issues. They can also lead to some of the issues mentioned above, such as financial troubles, as you’d have to pay fines or court fees.
Excessive drinking can have a serious impact on both your short-term and long-term health. Symptoms such as mood swings or a bad hangover might not seem like a big deal initially, but alcohol has lasting effects on the body and mind that can be disastrous if left untreated. By recognizing these signs, you can step in and get the help you need to get back to a healthier life.
Alcohol can have terrible effects on your organs. Individuals with alcohol addiction can suffer from liver damage, heart disease, ulcers, and certain kinds of cancer. While these are often the result of long-term abuse, many issues can come up with any amount of substance abuse. For example, the impaired judgment that comes with being drunk can also cause harm to yourself and others if you end up in a fight or get behind the wheel while intoxicated.
Addiction is a mental disorder, and it can cause many other mental health issues. Mood disorders, such as depression, are common among alcoholics. Because alcohol becomes an addict’s number one priority, you might find yourself no longer doing things you enjoy with the important people in your life. This loss has a serious impact on your well-being, even if you don’t notice it at first. While the mental health issues that stem from alcoholism aren’t as visible as the physical damage, they are just as serious.
There are many ways that alcoholism affects your entire life, and they all link back to addiction and prioritizing alcohol over the other aspects of your life. However, if you notice these things happening in your life, there is always a way to get help. Know the signs and don’t be afraid to seek the treatment you need.