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Is Alcohol addiction a mental illness?

When trying to understand the relationship between alcoholism and mental health, defining the term ‘addiction’ is a helpful place to start.

Addiction is defined as a physical and psychological dependence on a particular substance or activity. With that in mind, it is clear that addiction can be classified as a mental illness. While alcoholism does involve a physical addiction, it also interferes with a person’s mental state to such an extent that they could struggle to hold down conversation and interact as they perhaps once did.

When broken down, the environmental risk factors for addiction become apparent. Family, peers, school, local community and celebrity culture can all lead to people to become addicted to alcohol and other substances. Many believe that addiction is a disease, not a choice and addiction is classified as an illness by the World Health Authority. Some people seem to have a propensity towards addiction and have an addictive personality.

There is help available, and the team at Port of Call have explained how to approach counselling for alcohol addiction. We will find the most suitable counselling for your needs by carrying out a free assessment. Please call us on 08000029010 or email us on help@portofcall.com to see how we can set you on a path away from alcohol addiction.

Alcoholism and mental health: Understanding the relationship

Individuals who have developed addictions tend to act against their own self-interests. It is this very behaviour that often sees addicts become incapable of controlling their impulses, which is a symptom of many other mental illnesses.

Not only can mental health problems occur as a result of excessive alcohol consumption, on the flipside, they can cause people to drink too much.

To put it simply, a key reason for drinking alcohol is to change our mood or mental state. Often referred to as a ‘self-medication’ by those in the mental health field, problem drinkers are known to turn to alcohol to deal with difficult feelings or symptoms of mental illness.

There is evidence to suggest that consuming high quantities of alcohol can lead to an increased risk of developing mental health problems. Not only that, alcohol consumption can be a contributing factor to some mental health problems, such as depression.

At Port of Call, we’re only too aware of the long term effects of alcohol addiction.

The dangers of alcohol abuse

The dangers of alcohol abuse are clear. In the following section, allow us to explain further the effects of alcoholism and mental health.

The below infographic shows some alarming stats on alcohol related deaths, medical conditions and doctor visits. As you can see, alcoholism is the third leading preventable cause of death in the UK.

Port of Call alcoholism infographic

On top of that, the below evidence clearly outlines the real dangers surrounding alcohol addiction and mental illness.

  • 70% of men who kill themselves have drunk before doing so
  • Almost a third of suicides amongst young people are committed while intoxicated
  • As many as 65% of suicides have been linked with excessive drinking
  • There are significant connections between reported alcohol use and depressive symptoms
  • People drink more when experiencing high levels of shyness or fear
  • There is a clear correlation between alcohol consumption and job stress

So, is alcoholism a mental illness? The evidence suggests that yes, it is. There are countless alcohol addiction stories and people throughout the UK face this very illness daily. There are many mental health retreats in the UK, and Port of Call would recommend taking a look at some of our many rehab clinics to see if any suit your requirements.

The stats above only go to show that alcoholism and mental health must not be ignored. So please, don’t suffer in silence. Get in touch today on 08000029010 and make us your Port of Call.

About the author: Martin Preston

Martin is our Founder and Chief Executive. Martin is himself in long term recovery and started Port of Call to help families navigate treatment options. In 2020 Martin will open Delamere Health Ltd, the UK’s first purpose built addiction treatment clinic.

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