Alcoholism, or more commonly referred to as alcohol use disorder, is the inability to manage drinking habits. When alcohol use reaches the point to where an individual cannot function without it, the individual has become addicted. Between mild, moderate and sever alcoholism there are a variety of harmful side effects and symptoms that indicate an individual is suffering from alcohol use disorder.
From damaging relationships to affecting careers to endangering health, alcohol abuse is not something to be taken lightly. However, it is important to recognize that addiction can be treated.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is a brain disease involving the inability to control the consumption of alcohol and the subsequent reliance on it. Over time, those who abuse alcohol will train their bodies to become dependent on the stimulant resulting in negative side effects when not ingesting it.
Alcohol use disorder has many warning signs to look out for in order to prevent reliance.
Common indicators are craving alcohol constantly, and when alcohol is acquired, the inability to stop ingesting it. Additionally, if the individual cannot stop drinking in the midst of situations where they should not be under the influence (i.e. driving, going to work, etc.), they should be monitored immediately — especially if drinking causes them to give up on common daily activities.
If you notice a loved one is expressing any of these signs or any more disturbing, out-of-the-ordinary behavior having to do with alcohol, it is important to begin looking for alcohol addiction treatment options immediately.
What Causes Alcoholism?
Casual drinking is embedded in nearly every culture, but what leads people to over-consume? Initially, individuals turn to drinking for one reason or another, but what was meant to be a glass of wine once a day may become something much more serious.
After a long, draining week, one might feel the need to “take the edge off” by having a drink or two. The most common uses of alcohol are simply to relieve stress and feel better — alcohol gives users a small break from reality for a few hours if used responsibly. However, if the user does not have any other methods to cope with stress or bring joy to their lives, they may slowly become dependent on alcohol to give them these positive sensations.
The same goes for those in situations of grieving, loneliness, or anxiety. Drinking in these instances, as said before, offers a temporary release from reality. Whether suffering the loss of a loved one or finding yourself in an emotional rut, one may look to a drink to find some relief. Again, if there is no other form of relief, it is likely the individual will eventually find themselves abusing what once was a small, temporary lapse in their day.
Additionally, there are other factors that make certain individuals more susceptible to alcoholism than others. One of these factors is genetics. If you have one or more family members that have suffered from addiction, you may be more at risk of alcohol use disorder.
Growing up in a hostile, unstable environment with few resources and abundant access to alcohol will also increase ones chances of developing an addiction. Early use, childhood trauma and other risk factors present in one’s background can act as potential warning signs.
Treating Alcohol Addiction
As soon as one or more warning signs become increasingly apparent in the users drinking habits, it is time either they themselves or a loved one seek treatment. Treatment is a highly individualized process, and every form or rehabilitation is tailored to each patient. Those suffering from alcohol use disorder, depending on the severity of their addiction, will likely be put either in a residential treatment center, a partial hospitalization program or an intensive outpatient program.
The first step to treating alcoholism for most is detoxification. It is extremely important that one withdraws from using alcohol in a safe environment, as the side effects of stopping drinking after developing a reliance on it can be dangerous. While detoxification can be done at home, it is most safely administered under the guise of medical professionals trained to oversee withdrawal in a facility.
Once the alcohol has departed the body, treatment shifts to a variety of behavioral therapies to get to the root of the alcohol use itself. A mix of cognitive therapy, group therapy, and family therapy will help the individual really take a look at the behaviors they have developed that cause them to feel the need to binge drink and how to combat those behaviors outside of treatment.
After intensive care, it is important the individual continue to take good care of their health, both mentally and physically. It is recommended that former patients continue to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or private therapy sessions to prevent relapse. Building a supportive environment after discharge is extremely important, and meeting with others who have recovered is an automatic social network.
Alcoholism is a battle countless individuals have fought and are still fighting every single day. At Desert Rose Recovery, we understand the struggles that come along with alcohol addiction. If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism, we are here to help. Call us today to learn more.