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Alcohol use is legal throughout the United States for people over the age of 21, but this hardly means that this substance is not highly addictive or that it is safe for excessive consumption. This legally controlled substance won’t cause addiction in EVERY person that drinks, but drinking definitely does increase the risk for subsequent physical and psychological dependence.
Alcohol is consumed regularly at parties, during dinner, and just to “chill out” after a long day at work—but what is it that makes some people become addiction to this substances while others can enjoy a few drinks here or there without ever experiencing any dependence at all?
Some experts say that the brain is pre-wired either for, or against, addiction. They believe that some people are already genetically predisposed to addiction. Others believe addiction is the result of self-medication in which there’s a perceived problem and the individual drinks alcohol to mask the symptoms of some other condition such as anxiety, chronic pain, or depression.
Regardless of why alcohol addiction occurs or how it occurs, the end result is usually devastating. Alcoholics suffer financial loss, broken relationships, medical illness and an array of psychological consequences as a result of their condition—but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Treatment for alcohol addiction is available at many different centers throughout the US. If you suspect that someone you care about or that you yourself are an alcoholic, call our helpline toll-free at 800-836-4134 Who Answers? to speak with a specialist. We can provide a referral to treatment that will help you take back control of your life.
Who is At Risk?
Alcohol addiction doesn’t affect everyone who drinks. Beer, wine and liquor are not so highly addictive that you become an addict after just one sip. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know what exactly causes addiction, but we do know that certain people have a higher risk factor than others.
The following groups have a higher risk of becoming addicted to alcohol:
- Individuals who consume alcoholic beverages on a daily basis or more than 3 times per week.
- Individuals who consume more than 3 alcoholic beverages in a single day.
- Individuals who consume liquor such as vodka, rum, whiskey or tequila.
- Individuals who suffer from an underlying mental or physical illness.
- Individuals who have a past history of substance abuse.
- Individuals who have a family background of substance abuse.
In AA meetings, they teach that addiction to alcohol begins with the first drink—and to some degree this is true. IF you NEVER drink a drop of alcohol, you will NEVER become addicted. However, most people aren’t addicted (in a physical and psychological state) after just a single drink. This progression, from casual drinking to full-blown alcoholic can take months or years to develop and build.
Signs of a Drinking Problem
Early warning signs of alcohol abuse may signify a need for treatment before an addiction sets in. If you suspect that someone you love is abusing alcohol, pay close attention to the following warning signs. Consider seeking professional help if you spot the following:
- Excessive drinking such as drinking more than 3 alcoholic beverages in a day and drinking more often than 3 times per week.
- Drinking more than everyone around.
- Drinking alone.
- Drinking in situations where drinking is unacceptable.
- Drinking to mask emotions such as to cover up grief or to control anxiety.
- Hiding or lying about drinking habits.
- Acting irrationally when drinking.
- Downplaying a situation that resulted while under the influence of alcohol.
All of these signs are potential in early cases where alcohol abuse is occurring and alcohol addiction may or may not have already set in. Continued use of alcohol can lead to addiction.
Alcohol Addiction Signs
While a drinking problem is definitely a concern, often times this problem can escalate into a full-blown situation of alcohol addiction. Addiction occurs when the individual’s drinking continues to spiral out of control and physical and psychological dependence on the substance sets in.
An alcoholic may show the following signs:
- Inability to control drinking. This includes drinking excessively despite a desire to quit or despite having made promises to quit.
- Increased tolerance. This includes the development of an increased urge or desire to drink as well as a need to consume more of an alcoholic beverage in order to produce the same, or similar results.
- Symptoms of withdrawal. This includes experiencing any adverse symptoms when alcohol is not consumed such as nausea, vomiting, shakes and anxiety.
- Inability to maintain responsibilities. This includes a general lack of remorse or desire to properly maintain work, home and school related responsibilities.
One of the most difficult to control factors of alcohol addiction is the subsequent symptoms of withdrawal that occur when an addict tries to cut back or quit drinking all together.
Deciding to quit may be easy (for some), but the actual process of quitting can be the ultimate challenge. Alcohol withdrawal is often the reason why an addict can’t just quit and be done with drinking once and for all.
Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal develop as early as a few hours after the last drink and can persist for days, weeks or even months in the most severe situations. These symptoms may include:
- Irritability, anxiety, depression or mood swings
- Fatigue and restlessness
- Rapid hear rate
- Loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting
The most serious cases of alcohol addiction can lead to the most serious alcohol withdrawal. Some people will suffer what is known as Delirium Tremens or the DTs during withdrawal. There’s really no way to know for sure whether an individual will experience DTs which is why it is not advisable to ever attempt to quit drinking alone. Call our helpline at 800-836-4134 Who Answers? for detox assistance.
Delirium Tremens is characterized by the following symptoms during withdrawal:
- Rapid increase in hear rate
- Extreme anger or violent outbursts
Call 911 for immediate help if you or someone you know is withdrawing from alcohol and experience the above symptoms of Delirium Tremens. These symptoms of alcohol withdrawal MUST be monitored by a medical profession or treatment team to prevent serious risks for the addict. Left untreated, possible death may occur.
Safe Alcohol Detox
If you suffer from addiction to alcohol, call out treatment helpline at 800-836-4134 Who Answers? for help. We can place you in a safe detox center where medical care, support and treatment is provided. Safe alcohol detox takes place in a controlled facility where you can rest assured that your needs are taken care of.
Detox is the first step of any professional treatment plan. During this time, the treatment professionals will work with you to help you stabilize in preparation for continued counseling and therapy. It may take just a few days to detox and fully overcome the physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, or this process may take longer.
The amount of time that is required in detox generally correlates with the amount of time that you have suffered from addiction. Long time sufferers may require more extensive detox whereas those who haven’t been addicted for very long may only require 5-7 days of detox.
Your treatment provider will work with you to ensure the proper detox length has been determined based on your individual needs. Our treatment specialists can refer you to a detox program that will help you overcome alcohol addiction and get your life back. Call 800-836-4134 Who Answers? for assistance.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Alcoholics will experience cravings that make it challenging to quit drinking despite even the best intentions. Often times, significant cravings lead to violent outburst, criminal activity and other serious measures on behalf of the addict seeking his or her next drink. Treatment can help to reduce cravings and stabilize the user so that he or she can lead a normal life once again.
After an alcoholic has completed a program of detox, he or she can begin to heal from the psychological elements associated with the alcohol addiction. This may involve cognitive behavioral therapy, psychological counseling, individual and group counseling, support groups and other forms of treatment.
If you or someone you love is addicted to alcohol, it’s important to seek professional treatment right away. Even strong willed individuals with the greatest intentions to cut back their drinking can find it difficult or downright impossible to quit without professional help. Call 800-836-4134 Who Answers? to talk with a treatment specialist who understands what you’re going through and can help you into a treatment program that will provide recovery solutions that fit your needs.
Post-detox alcohol addiction treatment will include:
- Individual assessment to define underlying problems such as health conditions or past history of trauma that may have led to the substance abuse.
- Counseling and therapy in a private setting to address past or present psychological elements of the addiction.
- Group therapy to restore social interaction in a healthy environment free from the use of drugs or alcohol.
- CBT and other forms of behavioral therapy to change attitudes and behaviors towards stress, depression, anxiety or other emotions that could otherwise derail recovery.
- Medications to treat ongoing medical problems such as chronic pain, anxiety or depression which may have been at the root of the substance abuse problem.
- Support groups such as AA or other programs to help reestablish a strong system of support for the newly recovering addict.
- Family therapy to help restore support while also addressing family issues that may have resulted from the alcohol abuse or which may have been present prior to the substance abuse.
- Relapse prevention skills training and education to encourage strong, healthy and continued recovery after treatment.
There are a number of different types of treatment available for those who are addicted to alcohol. Inpatient care is likely the most valuable first step in the treatment process if you’ve been addicted for quite some time or if you’ve already tried other means of treatment such as outpatient care. For help finding an inpatient treatment center that will provide you with quality care that meets your needs, call 800-836-4134 Who Answers? . Our 24 hour helpline is toll-free and treatment specialists are ready to assist you.
If you’re not sure whether inpatient treatment is the right choice for you or your loved one, call our helpline to speak with a specialist who can assist you. Many of our treatment helpline operators are recovering from alcoholism and fully understand what you’re going through right now. They made the call and so can you. 800-836-4134 Who Answers?