Functioning alcoholics can only function for so long before eventually something has to give. Does that chime with you? Perhaps you are a reformed problem drinker who wisely sought help by going to Rehab, and you look back now and shudder sometimes at just how close you came to paying the ultimate price for your addiction. Maybe you lost your job, home, family and friends (through abusing alcohol), and it was only when you hit rock-bottom that the penny finally dropped: you realised that unless you did something about your addiction, you’d be looking at spending the rest of your life in the gutter.
When you reflect upon those difficult years, do you ever wonder why on earth you let your alcoholism spiral in the way that it did, without reining yourself in a little earlier (or even much earlier)? When you knew that you were gradually losing it all, and damaging both your mental and physical health to such a dangerous extent, why did you simply keep on drinking, and drinking, and drinking? Why did you ignore the warning signs? Warning signs like these:
- Sluggishness, lethargy, exhaustion
- Anxiety, depression, panic attacks, frequent bad temperedness
- Weight gain and a greying of skin colouring (particularly about the face and neck)
- Continually lying to family, friends and workmates about how much you drink
- Hiding your alcohol abuse (drinkers can become masters at this)
- Being unable to relax, or to even face the day, without having had an alcohol ‘fix’
- Impaired sexual function (who wants that?!)
Those are just some of the problems that beset people who regularly drink to an excessive level. Yet still they drink more and more.
But the life-threatening damage that alcohol is doing may not actually be evident (not yet)…
Underlying problems that can kill
Every year across the UK, thousands of people die due to alcohol-related diseases / health conditions. Heart disease, liver cirrhosis, different types of cancer… all can be alcohol-caused but for several years no actual symptoms of illness may be apparent. The drinker simply carries on drinking to excessive levels each week, every week of the year. It is as if alcoholism becomes a way of life.
Alcoholism: a way of life, and a way of death
According to the Office of National Statistics:
- Males aged 30 and over are significantly more likely than females to die of alcohol-related causes. (Over 66 per cent of all alcohol-related deaths in the UK in 2012 were among males)
- Age-specific alcohol-related death rates were highest for those aged 55 to 59 and lowest for those younger than 30
In 2012 there were over 9000 alcohol-related deaths in the UK