A diagnosis of alcoholism involves answering “yes” to at least two of 12 diagnostic questions. The questions aren’t about how much or how often someone drinks, but what consequences stem from their drinking. Alcoholics may maintain their responsibilities in the short-run, but eventually, the drinking will catch up with them.
The first stage of liver damage is inflammation, but most people that experience liver damage from drinking do not show any early signs. In fact, liver damage can progress through several stages before they or their doctor notices anything is wrong. Most people do not realize they have a problem until they reach the point where built-up scar tissue is impeding proper liver function. When the symptoms do become noticeable, they usually include:
- A general sense of being unwell
- Having a lower tolerance for alcohol
- Nausea and vomiting
- Experiencing severe hangovers
- A lack of appetite
- Abdominal pain in the upper right quadrant
- Abdominal protrusion
Wet brain is a form of brain damage that results from repeat and heavy drinking. Also known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, wet brain stems from thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency. Alcohol hinders the absorption, activation and storage of thiamine. The brain needs thiamine to function.
Wet brain has a sudden onset and does not happen gradually. Lesions form on the brain causing obvious mental confusion and physical coordination issues.
Alcohol is interesting in that it does have certain stimulating effects, but it is not classified as a stimulant. These effects include increased heart rate, a sense of energy, and lowered inhibitions. However, these are only seen during the initial stages of intoxication, after which sedative effects begin to set in. As a result, alcohol cannot be classified as a stimulant.Why is alcohol not a stimulant?
The correct classification of a drug is based on the dominant effects. With alcohol, depressant effects are dominant, so it is considered a depressant.
When determining if a substance is a stimulant or a depressant, doctors look at how it impacts the central nervous system. Stimulants, also known as uppers, will speed up the processes of the central nervous system. Depressants, also known as downers, slow these processes down. Alcohol is interesting because it does both, speeding up and slowing down the CNS at different stages of intoxication. The myth that alcohol is a stimulant began because of its ability to loosen people up and reduce social inhibitions.
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That said, people usually come in after:
- Searching on websites like Google, AddictionCenter.com or PsychologyToday
- Calling the number on the back of their insurance card
- Getting a referral from a doctor or therapist
- Going to an AA meeting and asking for a recommendation
- Getting a referral from a friend, co-worker or neighbor