While some people can use alcohol in a way that isn’t harmful to them or the people around them, it has the potential to be a dangerous drug. Over 15 million Americans in the United States are struggling with an alcohol use disorder, and only 10% of them are seeking treatment.
Alcoholism is a progressive disease that often starts as a tendency towards using drink to relax or ease anxiety in social scenarios. Needing alcohol consumption to unwind or feel confident is an early warning sign that many people dismiss.
As the disease takes hold, your body starts to rely on alcohol for normal functioning, which is known as physical dependence. Ideally, you should seek treatment before it gets to this stage so you can minimize the risk of long-term damage to your health, including liver disease. The good news is that alcohol use disorder is treatable at any stage. There is always hope for recovery, but first, you need to understand the nature of disordered drinking and accept that it’s time to change.