Alcoholism is a mental health condition as well as a physical condition. Alcoholism is an addiction to drinking alcohol. A person who is addicted to alcohol experiences physical and psychological issues. Physical problems related to alcoholism include liver damage, malnutrition, high blood pressure, and can increase the risk of getting certain cancers. Physical dependency on alcohol creates a need to drink alcohol. On the flip side, there is a behavioral component to alcoholism, which does produce conditions related to mental health.
Many alcoholics are unaware of their mental health as the need to drink alcohol overshadows other needs. Mental health is a matter of psychological and emotional well being. In answering the question is alcoholism a mental health condition, the short answer is yes. Not only is an alcoholic physically addicted to drinking alcohol, they also experience behavioral and emotional problems.
Behavioral problems relate to how a person behaves in regards to alcohol. A person who spends a great deal of time thinking how to get alcohol, use alcohol, and recover from the effects of alcohol, are experiencing behavior problems. These behaviors are problematic and consume the alcoholic’s life. Many alcoholics spend countless hours figuring out how to buy alcohol and once purchased, where to drink. If there are family members at home, the alcoholic will tend to sneak alcohol use. They may also steal, borrow, or perform illegal activities to get alcohol. The alcoholic will go to great lengths to hide their alcohol use.
The alcoholic can also experience problems with fulfilling obligations at work, school, or home. Alcoholics frequently report missing days and even weeks from work and lying to co-workers about their absence. Many alcoholics give up social and personal responsibilities in order to drink. These problems can result in the alcoholic not participating in family and social events, leading to isolation, which can lead to depression.
If the alcoholic decides to quit drinking, there can be corresponding behavioral and emotional problems. A few of these problems include depression, anxiety, relationship problems, family dysfunction, financial issues, and withdrawal symptoms. Each of these clearly articulate that alcoholism is a mental health disorder and when the alcoholic decides to quit drinking, they will need to address not only the physical symptoms of their alcoholism but also their mental health issues.
Alcoholism is a critical mental health issue which needs an integrative approach for full recovery. Cottonwood Tucson is an international leader for the treatment of co-occurring disorders.
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