Alcoholism is a very common disease in the U.S. with nearly one in twelve adults suffering alcohol abuse or dependence. Unfortunately there are also many adults who are engaging in risky, binge drinking patterns who may not be aware that they are developing an addiction. Because alcohol and even binge drinking is considered socially acceptable for most young adults, the line between recreational alcohol use and dependency can be hard to define. If you or a loved one have been drinking excessively and you are feeling concerned then it is helpful to learn the signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction so that you can determine if professional treatment is necessary.
Alcohol can be a very addictive substance and some people are more prone to developing habits of addiction than others because of certain genetic or personal factors. When you begin to realize that you might have an addiction because you are exhibiting a number of the symptoms of alcoholism then it is important to enter a treatment center and get professional care for your problem. Quitting drinking in a safe environment can be a positive, life-changing experience for people and it will help eliminate the symptoms of addiction over time.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse
Recognizing alcohol abuse can be tricky because some addicts can become very adept at hiding their symptoms or may be deep enough in denial to believe they have control over their drinking. However, one of the most common signs of abuse or addiction is the tendency for alcohol use to interfere with normal daily life. Someone who abuses alcohol may miss a lot of work or school or not perform as well in these areas because of frequent hangovers and sickness. Another characteristic of addiction is that in spite of the growing number of negative consequences caused by drinking the person will not be able quit their consumption. They will continue to drink even after problems come up such as having accidents or injuries related to drinking, physical or mental health issues, loss of relationships or run-ins with the law. Alcohol abusers will either disregard the consequences or will attempt to moderate their drinking without much success.
Progressing Signs of Alcohol Addiction
When alcohol abuse evolves into a full-fledged addiction, it may become clearer to the people around them that something is going on. They will often have a very high tolerance, needing to drink more and more over time to get the same buzz. They might also experience withdrawal symptoms any time they are not able to drink or are trying to minimize their consumption. Addicts also become less involved in some of their old hobbies or favorite pastimes because so much of their time is spent drinking or recovering from drinking. Most of their social activities will include drinking and they will always make sure that there is alcohol on hand for any gathering. In other cases they might instead drink alone or hide how much they actually drink so they don’t arouse suspicion among loved ones about their addiction. If you notice any of these signs in yourself or someone you know then it could mean that you are dealing with an alcohol addiction.
What to Do About the Symptoms of an Alcoholic
When you start to see the signs of alcohol addiction, the next step is think about how to approach the subject if it is someone you care about. Talking to loved ones about their drinking issues can be a difficult subject and you don’t want to offend them or send them further into isolation. However, it is important not to ignore the problem and hope it will get better because they may continue to cause a lot of damage to their health and personal life if you don’t step in and say something. Sometimes the best option is to consult with a group of the alcoholic’s family members and friends to come up with a plan on how to address their issues. You should never talk to an alcoholic when they have been drinking or are experiencing high stress. Waiting for the right moment and talking them in a calm, non-accusing way is the best approach. Expressing concern and compassion rather than anger or frustration will be more productive at convincing them to enter treatment which is your ultimate goal.
Is it Hard to Stop Drinking?
If you are worried about your loved one or your own issues with alcohol abuse then you might wonder how difficult it really is to stop drinking. The truth is that quitting an alcohol addiction can be very challenging and requires a lot of hard work and commitment. However, giving up an addiction is also one of the most rewarding and transformative experiences that a person can go through. There are plenty of ups and downs that go along with sobriety because it is such a major change and the body has become so adjusted to alcohol. Drinking releases chemicals in the brain associated with pleasure and the longer you drink the more you rely on alcohol to physically and mentally feel good. Your brain eventually becomes wired to need alcohol to function and feel normal every day. Treatment is a way to retrain your brain and body to stop relying on alcohol and find other ways to relieve stress or experience pleasure.
How to Quit Drinking Alcohol
For people that have been drinking heavily for many years, the idea of completely quitting alcohol can seem intimidating and nearly impossible. However, it is possible for anyone to quit drinking as long as they have enough support and the resources that will help them stay sober. Giving up drinking starts with entering a detox center as the first and most important step in the beginning phases. Detoxification inside a licensed facility allows people the chance to rid their body of any alcohol or toxins that are causing dependency and keeping them addicted. After detox, it is necessary to enter a rehab treatment center that caters to your specific needs and will allow you to recover completely. The only way to completely quit drinking alcohol is to spend a month or more in an intensive treatment program that includes detox, therapy, twelve step meetings and aftercare. Following these steps will ensure that you have given yourself the chance to be successful in recovering from an addiction.
The Best Ways to Quit Drinking
While you are involved in a treatment program you will learn the skills and best tools that allow you to stay sober. Quitting drinking means developing other coping mechanisms that help you deal with stress, depression treatment and anxiety that do not involve any kind of substance abuse. There are plenty of natural, healthy and safe ways to deal with daily life that do not have the kind of negative consequences that drinking tends to have. People with addictions need to learn to communicate better with other people and create a support system so that they have people to talk to when they are struggling. When you have cravings you can teach yourself to do something else instead of drink like call a friend for help, meditate, exercise, go to a meeting or hang out with a group of sober friends. The best way to quit drinking is to have other activities that can help you cope with triggers so that alcohol is not your solution for emotional stress.
Finding Treatment Centers for Alcoholism
The only real solution for an addiction is getting professional treatment from a qualified program that will provide you with your recovery needs. When you are looking into local treatment centers you should find out what type of services they offer such as whether they include a detox program or if you have the option of choosing inpatient or outpatient treatment. It is also important to find a facility that incorporates mental health treatment if you have a co-occurring disorder such as bipolar disorder, major depression, anxiety treatment or other issues. Treatment for alcoholism is not a one-size-fits-all situation because each person has unique needs and will feel comfortable in different types of environments. It is a good idea to visit the facility first and talk with a consultant
about what the program is like, what activities and amenities are included and what they offer in terms of aftercare as well.
Treatment Options for Alcoholic Rehab
There are many types of rehab options to choose when you are looking for a place to go for recovery. There are rehab facilities specifically for men or women, some designed for professionals and executives, luxury facilities for people who want a relaxing environment, sober living treatment, and some with options for residential or outpatient care. They type of rehab that you choose will depend on severity of your addiction, your work status, your ability to take time away from family or other responsibilities and your own personal preferences as far as the facility where you feel most at ease. Living in the facility for a few months can be the best choice for someone with a very serious addiction but attending outpatient treatment while living at home may be ideal for someone who can’t take the time off work or needs to care for young children. Any treatment option can be effective as long as the patient takes the program seriously and follows all the necessary steps for recovery.
What to Expect in Alcoholic Rehabilitation
When entering rehab, it is helpful to be prepared by knowing in advance what type of program you are signing up for and what a typical day will look like in the treatment center. Most rehabs include regular meal times, therapy sessions, group or twelve step meetings, and recreational activities. Some programs may offer additional holistic treatment options such as a nutritional consultant, acupuncture, meditation or other therapeutic opportunities. Schedules might include some time for reflection or journaling but generally patients are not given too much time to themselves to be left to their own devices. Being bored or isolated in recovery can cause problems so a busy schedule incorporating group activities is usually to be expected in rehabilitation. It is important to keep in mind that although rehab can be very cathartic you will definitely experience a lot of ups and downs throughout your treatment. Over time however, it will get easier as you get accustomed to being sober and feel more confident about your new lifestyle.
Therapy in Rehab Treatment for Alcoholics
Every day in a alcoholics rehab center is different and there are a variety of activities that patients will be involved in throughout their stay but the core of every treatment program is therapy. Every person must attend individual therapy sessions that will allow them to talk one-on-one with a professional counselor that can help them deal with personal issues. Speaking with a therapist for the first time can be hard because it requires trusting them and talking about things you may have never told anyone before. Once you become more comfortable with your therapist you will develop a relationship with them and they can give you valuable insight into some of your problems and the issues that led to your addiction. It can be healing to finally talk about past traumas or pain from your childhood that could be holding you back from your full potential to be happy. Therapy is also the place where alcoholics learn the coping skills that will help them stay sober after they leave treatment.
What Happens After Alcoholic Rehabilitation?
If you choose the right facility, you will most likely have the option to continue some aspects of treatment after you have completed your rehab program. Aftercare is the final step in recovery because it allows you to transition from being in a supportive sober environment to living back at home and dealing with daily triggers on your own. Continuing care helps you receive support in times of need so that you are not overwhelmed by your new situation. Former patients can benefit greatly from going to twelve step or other group meetings either as a part of aftercare or on their own after they leave treatment. Many people keep going to meetings for years after they have left rehab. As long as you find what works for you to stay sober then you can avoid relapse and remain successful in recovery.