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For the majority of people, having the occasional drink is harmless and a way to enjoy life. However, when people start to drink more and more frequently, it can become a problem. If people do not find alcohol addiction & rehab treatment at that point, then very serious, long term issues can occur. In fact, it can even be fatal.
Some Myths and Facts
If alcohol is something you need in order to get through your day, then you will probably have to deal with a lot of serious consequences, including a breakdown of your personal relationships, issues with work, and more. Luckily, the impact of alcohol dependency can be mitigated through alcohol rehab and counseling.
That said, a lot of myths exist about alcoholism, and this causes many people to not seek help when they need it. For instance, people often feel they are not dependent because they do not suffer from withdrawal symptoms if they don’t drink. In reality, it is possible that you already have liver failure and cirrhosis, which is particularly likely in women, which in turn means that you don’t experience withdrawal at all.
While seeking help is often frightening and overwhelming, it is necessary. Without help, people can develop serious physical illnesses. This is also true for so called “binges” or “benders”, whereby a person may only drink occasionally, but always to excess. A clear sign of dependency is not being able to control how much you drink, even if you go through long periods of abstinence.
If you have considered that you or someone you care about, may need help, then you have already taken an important step. While it is a myth that you have to admit to need help in order for it to be effective, it is certainly beneficial. What matters most is that there are therapists and experts out there who can help you.
When you decide to go to alcohol addiction & rehab, one thing to look for is that you will receive a personalized program. You should have a full assessment to start with, and the program should also have a focus on things, such as family support and aftercare. Being truly abstinent is difficult, and it will take a long time. However, with the right type of program, which may or may not be a 12 step program, and the right amount of support, treatment can be successful.
Oftentimes, people who have an alcohol addiction also have some sort of mental health issue. This is known as a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis, and requires specialized treatment. The mental health issue could be anything from anxiety to schizophrenia, all of which are known to be closely related to addiction.
The Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
Most people who are addicted to alcohol are the last to admit it. In reality, they usually know there is a problem because they have a range of physical symptoms, including possible withdrawal syndrome, as well as range of psychological symptoms. Of the latter, the following are particularly telling:
• Making alcohol a priority over everything else
• Being inflexible when it comes to an alcohol use pattern
• Becoming increasingly tolerant to alcohol
• Experiencing withdrawal symptoms after abstinence
Alcohol addiction becomes problematic when people start to rely on consuming alcohol so that they can get through the day. They also tend to experience physical symptoms, including headaches, sweating, poor teeth and skin, weight gain or weight loss, and more. Furthermore, they tend to notice that their relationships with partners, family, friends, and colleagues start to break down.
It can be difficult to determine whether or not someone really is addicted to alcohol. This is also because it is hard to tell just how much they consume, since most of it will be done behind closed doors. Hence, it is very difficult to confront alcoholics with the reality of their addiction.
Another significant issue is in understanding how much is too much. A lot of people will drink two or three units per day, the same as a large glass of wine, and wouldn’t class themselves as alcoholics. While you are not an alcoholic at this point, you are doing damage to your body, however. Signs of alcoholism include:
• When you regularly drink in order to help yourself manage stress
• When your liver function is deteriorating, which you can tell when you become increasingly tolerant to alcohol. Scientists don’t really understand how alcohol damages the liver, but it is known that it does and that it is the leading cause of liver disease in the modern world.
• Becoming tolerant to alcohol, leading you to feel the need to consume more alcohol in order to have the same effects you had when you first got drunk
• Increased feelings of anger, which is particularly common in those who self-medicate against depression, stress, or anxiety. The reality is that while drinking alcohol may make someone feel better in the short term, it usually only makes the problem worse over time.
• Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you don’t consume alcohol for a period of time. Symptoms include feeling emotionally volatile or shaky, anxiety, nausea, fatigue, and more.
• Feeling sweaty and clammy for no reason, even if you have not pushed yourself in the gym, or if it happens to be very cold outside
• Weight loss or weight gain because your appetite decreases or increases when you drink alcohol
• Dehydration headaches. This is also known as the hangover.
• Insomnia as a result of the nausea, dehydration, headaches, and so on
• Emotionally, you are likely to experience anxiety, feel irritable, depressed, feel emotionally tired and tearful.
Dealing with Early Alcoholism and alcohol rehab
There is no one sure-fire way for someone to beat an addiction to alcohol, or to any other substance for that matter. However, if you are able to follow the blueprint below, you will greatly increase your chances of becoming and remaining sober:
1. Admit that there is a problem.
2. Commit to drinking less, or even to stop altogether.
3. Write down a daily goal. For instance, agree with yourself that you are only allowed four drinks, and then you must stick to that.
4. Be realistic about setting a date on which you want to be 100% sober and write a plan on how you will achieve that, including how you will avoid temptation.