Psychological Effects of Alcoholism

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As individuals progress through the degenerative progress of alcoholism, they experience a number of psychological effects.

Known as the psychological effects of alcoholism, some of these effects start early in the disease and get progressively worse as the person approaches longer term, chronic alcoholism.

It is important to point out that the social and the psychological effects of alcoholism can be just as, if not more painful and problematic as the physical effects of alcoholism.

Some Basic Psychological Effects of Alcoholism

When the topic of the "effects of alcoholism" is discussed, many people focus on the physical consequences of alcoholism and exclude or downplay many of the other effects of alcoholism such as the psychological effects of the disease.

As pointed out above, however, some of the other consequences of alcoholism such as the psychological effects of alcoholism are just as "real" and can be as difficult or more difficult to cope with compared with the physical effects of alcoholism.

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There are four progressive stages of alcoholism.

At each stage of the disease, the alcoholic manifests increasingly worse consequences than the previous stage.

Without delving into the different psychological effects of alcohol addiction that are typical for each stage of the disease, however, the following list will be presented as a combination or a "collective" of the different psychological effects of alcoholism that are common to the disease, regardless of the stage at which they usually occur:

  • Self-centeredness

  • Cloudy thinking

  • Self-pity

  • Boasting and a "big shot" complex

  • Stress

  • Discontentment

  • An increase in failed promises and resolutions to one's self and to others

  • Anxiety

  • Moral deterioration

  • Dysthymia (mild chronic depression)

  • Lack of recognition by the person that he or she has a progressive illness

  • Obsession with drinking

  • Restlessness

  • Fear

  • Loss of interests

  • Unreasonable resentments

  • Loss of willpower

  • Irritability

  • Aggression

  • Sleep problems

  • Poor concentration

  • Feeling useless

  • The development and the later collapse of an alibi system

  • Depression

  • Loss of control

  • Resentment

  • Denial of the effects of alcohol

Social Effects of Alcoholism

There are also social effects of alcoholism that are very much related to the psychological effects of alcoholism.

The following represents some of the social effects of alcoholism:

  • Blaming problems on others and on things external to themselves

  • Withdrawal from social activities

  • Devaluation of personal relationships

  • Legal problems

  • Withdrawal from family and friends

  • Difficulties performing at work or home

  • Difficulties and arguments with family or friends

  • Financial insecurity

  • Serious relationship and work-related problems

  • Unemployment

Conclusion: Psychological Effects of Alcoholism

As the alcoholic progresses through the four stages of alcoholism, he or she manifests physical, social, and psychological effects of alcoholism that usually are increasingly worse than those he or she experienced in the earlier stage or stages of the disease.

Even though many individuals seem to focus primarily on the physical consequences of alcohol addiction, the social and the psychological effects of alcoholism can be as debilitating, devastating, and as painful, if not more so, than the physical consequences of the disease.

So what is the solution? Like many things in life, the solution is relatively easy to articulate but difficult to implement.

Not unlike other addictions, the "solution" to alcoholism and the negative, unhealthy, and damaging consequences of the disease is this: seek professional alcohol treatment that you can "buy into" and follow so that you can stop drinking, stay sober, and start on the road to alcohol recovery.

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This "solution" may seem unsympathetic, inconsiderate, or blunt, but given the social, physical, and psychological effects of alcohol dependency, such a "strong" solution is usually necessary.

If this describes you, then you need to be honest with yourself and admit that you have a drinking problem.

Once you have taken this step, you need to make it a priority to talk with an alcohol abuse and alcoholism professional about getting alcohol treatment for you as soon as possible.

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