The Link Between Alcoholism and Mood Swings
Alcoholism is a problem that millions of people around the world suffer from. It not only changes the physical and mental state of a person, it also affects his relationship with others, potentially causing problems with his friends, family, social groups and even career. It can, for example, lead to frequent mood swings, something that many patients are not that well-equipped or informed to handle.
Alcoholism, in its simplest terms, is addiction to a substance – in this case, alcohol. It is a kind of condition characterized by continued intake of alcohol and alcoholic beverages. Even after a person suffers the physical, mental, emotional and mental repercussions of this type of addiction, they still find it difficult to overcome or at least, control it.
How alcoholism leads to mood swings
The effect of alcohol varies from one individual to the next. This explains why some people get drunk easily while others can ‘carry’ their drink rather well. Other than the physiology of the person drinking, his or her predisposition to addiction, along with certain environmental factors, will affect the degree of addiction of a patient.
The problem with alcoholism is that once alcohol enters the system, it is quickly absorbed by the stomach and the intestines. The substance then reaches the bloodstream which carries it throughout the body. The alcohol then affects the tissues and the nerves, limiting how the central nervous system functions. As a result, the alcohol also influences the brain.
In persons who do not suffer from alcoholism, the effect of the alcohol is temporary at best. However, with alcoholism, there is greater physical impairment because there is continued ingestion of alcohol. The body needs about 6 to 8 hours in order to remove alcohol from its system.
If a person suffers from alcoholism, his body is not given sufficient time and opportunity to eliminate the toxic substance. As a result, it doesn’t have enough time to recover completely. Thought processes are inhibited, which can then lead to a variety of emotions, ranging from the positive such as happiness, giddiness and boosted self-confidence to the negatives such as guilt, anxiety and extreme sadness.
It’s also not uncommon for people suffering from alcoholism to experience depression. Physical control also deteriorates severely, causing stupor and loss of consciousness.
The intoxicating effects of the alcohol can already result to mood swings, lasting even hours after the patient has taken his last drink.
Alcohol withdrawal and mood swings
Probably the worst problem about alcoholism is that in case a person decides to undergo withdrawal, the intensity of mood swings worsen. Alcoholics very often have high levels of epinephrine in the blood. This, along with the deficiency in magnesium that many alcoholics suffer from, can often lead to cases of delirium (delirium tremens or DTs).
The symptoms of DTs are the extreme form of mood swings caused by alcoholism. Delirium manifests itself in an individual as bouts of insomnia, depression and confusion. In many cases, it can even lead to difficult and dreadful hallucinations. These hallucinations can seem very real to the patient, which makes it even harder for them to deal with their condition directly.
Dealing with mood swings associated with alcoholism can be problematic. The physical symptoms themselves are already very challenging for an alcoholic to handle. To treat alcoholism, it’s important that professional help is sought. Therapy – whether on his own or with a group – along with medical help and support, should be considered the soonest time possible. Alcoholism destroys the body and the mind gradually. The earlier it is treated, the better it will be for the patient.