Alcoholism is another term for alcohol addiction. Drinking alcohol develops into an addiction when a person experiences intense craving and develops a dependence on alcohol in order to function properly and carry out daily tasks or cope with difficult situations in life, such as stress.
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In today’s society, alcoholism and alcohol addiction are treated like other mental health conditions and illnesses. Like any health condition, alcohol addiction can affect anyone from any background regardless of their financial or living circumstances.
It is hard to determine a sole reason for alcohol addiction and why it develops in some people and not in others, although research has pointed to a combination of genetic, behavioural and social environment factors that play contributing roles. Alcohol addiction affects hundreds of thousands of people around the world, and you are not alone if you think that you or a loved one may be suffering from it. Being addicted to alcohol can become a long-term issue with long-standing health consequences for the brain and organs such as the liver.
If a person suffering from alcohol addiction also tries to quit, it is likely that they will experience potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms due to chemical alterations in the brain caused by alcohol. To feel better, they may need to consume alcohol, which could be incorrectly stigmatised in society as irresponsible. This cycle of behaviour makes it very difficult for a person struggling with alcohol addiction to break the habit for good.
What Are The Symptoms Of Alcohol Addiction?
It is difficult to pinpoint the signs of alcohol addiction, as every person is different and can be affected differently. Those afflicted by alcohol addiction also behave in different ways in their drinking – some may binge drink, while others may not. All sufferers will however struggle to stay sober for more than a few days at any given time, and will likely experience withdrawal symptoms when they do not consume alcohol and try to either quit or detox.
Alcohol addiction is largely misunderstood and has a negative social stigma. It is also difficult to identify those who are ‘problem drinkers’ and those who are struggling with alcoholism.
A person struggling with alcohol addiction may struggle with the following and may exhibit the behaviours below:
- Difficulty in staying sober for more than a few days or even one day
- High tolerance to alcohol and heavy consumption of units
- Remaining drunk for long periods of time and experiencing frequent handovers
- Drinking at all times of the day, even when it’s considered inappropriate
- Drinking even when it is dangerous
- Changes in behaviour and social groups/friends
- Secrecy/lying about the amount of alcohol consumed
- Mental health issues that have been caused by drinking, i.e. anxiety or depression. These conditions are highlighted especially when alcohol isn’t consumed
- Financial and employment issues
How Does Alcohol Addiction Impact On My Health?
Alcohol addiction can impact on a person’s health in a variety of ways. In extreme cases, an addition to alcohol can prove fatal, with a sufferer dying from liver disease, heart failure, bleeding, and aspiration. Excessive consumption of alcohol can raise the risk of developing cancer, eye problems, birth issues and defects (in pregnant women), cirrhosis (liver scarring), diabetes, heart disease, liver disease and ulcers.
Other risks associated with alcohol addiction are linked to the lack of control a person has over their body when under the influence. Those who drink heavily are likely to become disorientated and feel that it is still okay to undertake activities such as driving, which can be dangerous for both them and others around them. If you feel that you or someone you love is drinking heavily and undertaking such activity, get in touch with us at Action Rehab for help with rehab referral and support.
Treatment For Alcohol Addiction
It is important to understand that any form of rehabilitation can be challenging and difficult. Those thinking of undertaking a rehab programme must take it seriously and be dedicated to it in order to succeed in sobriety. Recovering from alcohol addiction can also prove to be a lengthy process for some people, with some taking months and even years to feel fully in control of your addiction. When you enter rehab and become sober, you will remember the date when you first did so, and it is important to use this as motivation.
It is important to remember that an alcohol addict can relapse at any time, which is why it is crucial to stay on track. No alcoholic is ever fully recovered – they just learn how to manage their cravings and control their impulse to drink heavily.
Residential Rehab For Alcohol Addiction
When you attend residential rehab, you attend on an in-patient basis, staying in accommodation at the facility to remove yourself from your typical everyday environment and possible temptations that could be aiding the deterioration of your addiction. This is a positive thing, as it makes your chances of success more likely in comparison to outpatient treatment, in which you still remain in your usual home environment, making it easier to give in to temptation. The duration of a residential rehab programme varies depending on a patient’s needs.
Many clinics create bespoke treatment programmes following an assessment. Typically, you will undergo detox therapy to remove alcohol from your system, alongside cognitive behavioural therapy, 12-step work and personal counselling sessions with a therapist. Such sessions are designed to help prevent relapse and create coping strategies for withdrawal symptoms. Many clinics also have a strong focus on nutrition and healthy eating to get your body back on track, as many alcoholics have poor diets as a result of their drinking habits.
At Action Rehab we can offer help, advice and support while referring you to a suitable rehab clinic that can assist you with alcohol addiction. Our team of specialists are waiting to hear from you, and have first-hand experience of the recovery process, so feel free to ask us as many questions as you’d like. Get in touch with us today and make that first step in your recovery journey.