Alcohol addiction or alcoholism is one the most powerful addictions that exists. It is pervasive because it is legal and socially acceptable to drink, unlike most other drugs. Because of this, many people tend to view alcohol as safe. However, alcoholism is the number one addiction problem in the entire country.
Because alcohol is such a huge part of mainstream society, it’s easy to get lulled into thinking that it is safe and free of any risk. Few people who drink regularly realize that there are health risks to even moderate drinking.
Alcohol is considered a drug. It is a mind-altering substance that affects coordination, decision-making, mood, inhibitions, judgment, causes visual disturbances, affects speech and movement, slows reaction time and can cause loss of consciousness. Most people, however, don’t think of alcohol as a drug.
Alcohol can produce both physical and psychological dependence. When a person is physically dependent on alcohol they will suffer from withdrawal symptoms. In extreme cases, withdrawing from alcohol can be dangerous — more dangerous than withdrawing from heroin.
In the United States, the legal drinking age is 21 years old. While many people begin drinking alcohol before this time, most consider your 21st birthday as a rite of passage. People drink alcohol to celebrate a variety of occasions, including birthdays, weddings, promotions, sporting events, recognition and awards, etc. Alternately, people also use alcohol as consolation when things are not going well. In other words, alcohol is a pervasive part of everyday American life, as it is in many other countries.
Alcohol abuse isn’t always easy to identify. While most people feel confident that they can spot a problem drinker, the reality is that many people abuse alcohol without even knowing it. When a person drinks to the point of intoxication, vomiting or passing out, that is alcohol abuse. When a person operates a vehicle or other machinery when intoxicated, even mildly, that is alcohol abuse. When alcohol consumption negatively affects your life, then it can be considered “problem drinking.”
As far as alcohol addiction, it also isn’t always easy to identify. This is partly because when people think of an alcoholic, they often envision someone who is homeless, derelict, has lost their job, can’t stop getting DUI’s or is experiencing other major problems as a result of their drinking. The reality is that most alcoholics manage to function at a fairly high level. This means that while they drink addictively, they may not show any major outward signs of alcoholism. They may still go to work everyday, pay their bills and manage their lives.
However, if you dig under the surface of the “functioning alcoholic” you will often see that alcohol abuse is taking a toll. Usually, the effects are seen by those closest to the person addicted to alcohol. They may note that their family member/partner/friend is constantly drinking. Some people who abuse alcohol may struggle with anger issues and may even become physically or verbally abusive. The other end of the spectrum is unavailability. The alcohol addicted person may push away family and friends, may become moody or distant, and may spend most of their time drinking, either at home or out of the home.
During their stay at the detox program for addiction, their withdrawal from alcohol, benzos, opiates, methamphetamine, etc. Patients may experience any or all of the following:
It may take some time before the person who has a problem with alcohol realizes it. They may try to quit on their own and find they can’t. It’s often family members who first voice concerns. If you are wondering whether you have a problem with alcohol, there are signs that can help you identify alcohol addiction.
It takes more alcohol than it used to in order to feel buzzed. This is tolerance. Tolerance develops over time, and leads to drinking larger quantities of alcohol more often. When you have developed a tolerance, you are at a greater risk for dependence.
You may find that all or some of these apply to you, or just a couple of them do. If any of these red flags describe you, then there is reason to explore the situation further. You can talk to your health care provider, contact a treatment center, seek counseling or call a twelve step hotline. There are numerous resources available to you when you are ready to reach out.
No one has to go to rehab, but it is often the best choice for someone who is struggling with alcohol addiction. Inpatient alcohol addiction treatment allows you to fully immerse yourself in the solution. It’s all too easy to relapse after a few days or weeks when you are trying to quit on your own. In an alcohol treatment center, you have a team of supporters and professionals at your disposal, as well as the support of peers who are trying to do the same thing. You are also in a safe, secure environment free from outside stressors or triggers that may lead you back to drinking.
Alcohol addiction treatment is the best way to break the cycle of alcoholism. Alcohol rehab for the first time in many alcoholic’s lives is an actual solution. Alcohol rehab does more than put a band-aid on a very severe and potentially deadly disease. Alcohol rehab can help identify underlying problems that have led to problem drinking, and help you develop new, healthy coping skills so that you meet challenges without resorting to alcohol.
Alcohol addiction rehab treatment program dedicated to helping alcoholics overcome the physical and psychological effects of their alcohol addiction. During the process of alcohol rehab the individual will go through different stages. The first stage usually includes alcohol detox, which withdraws an alcoholic from their physical alcohol addiction. Then they will move onto things such as individual counseling, holistic treatments, and group counseling. Each of these is meant to help treat the various elements of alcoholism, helping with not only the physical but also the mental and even social parts of the disease.
An alcohol addiction treatment center is a place for healing, healthier living, emotional support, and therapeutic support. The alcohol rehabs that have had the most success in helping their patients begin to live a healthy life again are those that incorporate many different modes of evidence based treatments that not only heal the mind and body but also the spirit.
While everyone’s experience at alcohol rehab is different and every alcohol rehab offers different therapies, philosophies, and standards of care, the general and primary elements of alcohol rehab don’t vary immensely. In fact, there is a general standard of care according to the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, and there are certain things that those with an alcohol addiction need in order to be successful. These things include correct and thorough diagnosis and evaluation, detox, therapy, and ongoing aftercare which can include things like outpatient programs and even halfway houses.
Choosing an alcohol rehab doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are many rehabs out there, but it’s fairly easy to narrow your choices. Your choice may already be limited to the rehab that your health insurance coverage will pay for. If your insurance does not cover treatment, there are many programs that take payments or have low or no cost services.
Ideally, you will be able to commit to an inpatient treatment center, but if you are unable to because of cost, or because of family or employment responsibilities, then you can get help from an outpatient alcohol addiction rehab. Outpatient care provides most of the same services as residential rehab, but you go home after each session. Outpatient rehab is best for people who are highly motivated to recover and who have a lot of support at home.