Understanding Alcohol Addiction
Before discussing Alcoholism treatment, it is important to understand what it is, the causes, signs & symptoms and associated withdrawal symptoms. For clarification should also be noted that alcohol abuse and alcoholism are different issues, although they can both require alcohol treatment. Alcohol abusers are often not addicted to alcohol, although they may drink heavily with negative consequences. Usually, this heavy consumption occurs on a weekly basis rather than a daily basis, but many times abusers find them dealing with issues such as alcohol poisoning. Social drinking that becomes dangerous and those with alcohol addiction take increasingly unsafe risks, such as driving under the influence, need alcohol abuse interventions and treatment options.
Alcoholism refers to a dependence on alcohol, both physically and psychologically, that controls an individual’s drinking behaviors. These cravings for alcohol make it difficult, if not impossible, for people to stop drinking. This uncontrolled drinking may remain a problem even when physical harm or social alienation occurs. Most individuals addicted to alcohol feel they cannot function without it and often need to drink more as their tolerance increases. These individuals have an alcohol addiction and should be encouraged to seek treatment.
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Signs of Alcohol Addiction
It can be difficult to remain objective when dealing with personal or loved one’s alcohol addiction issues. Denial can play a big role when attempting to confront and address problem drinking. The fact that there is a very fine line between alcohol abuse and alcoholism can make it even more confusing. There are five important signs to watch for when trying to self-diagnose alcohol addiction. These symptoms often are the hallmark to alcoholism and while not every addict can be identified using these signs, they can be used to clarify the need for treatment.
Increased Relationship Strain and Trouble
Alcohol consumption that causes issues within the network of your family and friendship circles can be markers of serious alcohol issues. Often the defining indicator of addiction is the individuals shift of priorities. When a user chooses to involve themselves in activities with other problem drinkers, and leaves their current social network, it is often a sign that intervention should be taken.
Ignoring Basic Adult Responsibilities
For some, the negative impact of drinking will begin to surface professionally, academically, or personally as drinking impairs day-to-day coping abilities. Once consumption crosses the line from social drinking to dangerous drinking, it will begin to negatively impact many aspects of a user’s life.
Greatly Increased Tolerance to Alcohol
Another indicator of alcohol addiction is the individuals need to consume more alcohol to feel its intoxicating properties. When an addicts body becomes accustomed to having alcohol present, it begins to rely on it to feel ‘normal’.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Some of the common withdrawal symptoms alcohol addicts experience when they haven’t had a drink are similar to what non-addicts might feel a morning after overindulging. Headache, irritability, fatigue, anxiety and nausea are a few of the most reported symptoms of withdrawal.
Greatly Increased Tolerance to Alcohol
For those suffering with AUD, any attempt to get sober that fails can be a motivation for seeking help. Most alcoholics are very aware of their disease and its effects on their family and friends. The realization that treatment options may be their only option can be an open door for family members hoping to help their loved ones get into a detox and rehab program.
Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
- Relationship Strain and Trouble
- Ignoring Basic Adult Responsibilities
- Increased Tolerance to Alcohol
- Inability to Stop Drinking
- Physical Effects of Alcohol Withdrawal
Most have heard and understood the term high-functioning alcoholic. For those individuals who have not been directly affected by alcoholism, the ability to recognize the symptoms can be difficult. Many times, people that work with high-functioning alcoholics have no idea about the severity of the problem. Their ability to keep up the appearance that their personal and professional lives are not suffering is the main reason they go without treatment.
It may be even more surprising to note that some evidence exists giving credibility to the idea that a high percentage of alcoholics are high-functioning. Often these individuals are well-educated lawyers, doctors, and executives who frequent wine bars and take advantage of automated wine dispensers meaning there is no “human-check” on their consumption. Only when alcohol-related situations and accompanying consequences happen are many forced to seek help for their addiction.
How Alcohol Impacts Americans
In the United States, alcohol is a controlled substance, available legally for adults over the age of 21. It is considered an addictive substance, although not all individuals will experience its addictive qualities. As with illicit drug use, and prescription drug abuse, alcoholism often has contributing risk factors in certain people. Common alcoholic beverages are wine, beer, and hard liquor.
According to recent surveys, there are more Americans who regularly consume alcohol than those who do not. It is reported that 52% of all Americans over the age of 12 reports drinking alcohol during the 30 days before completing the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) in 2015. Alcohol addiction is often a topic that remains behind closed doors in our society, and as a result, many people are not aware of the negative impact alcohol has had on families. It is important for individuals seeking inpatient rehab and support for alcohol addiction to contact professional rehab centers, like Coastline Behavioral Health.
The costs associated with alcohol addiction in the United States are shocking. In 2010, it was reported by the NSDUH that over $240 billion was spent fighting alcohol addiction. In 2015, the data showed that over 19 million struggled with alcohol addiction and that more than 25% of the general population were classified as binge drinkers. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) more than 87,000 people die annually as a direct result of alcohol addiction and abuse. This is a sobering statistic and should cause families to reconsider seeking help for their loved ones struggling with alcohol addiction.