What Is Alcohol Addiction?
Alcoholism is an addiction that can affect anyone at any age. As defined by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), alcoholism is defined as more of an uncontrollable need to consume alcohol and lack of control around the substance and has less to do with how much alcohol a person consumes or how long they have been drinking.
There are over 17 million people in the U.S. who struggle with alcoholism, and millions more who teeter on the brink of alcohol dependency by engaging in frequent bouts of binge drinking that could lead to addiction.
The Risk Factors of Alcohol Abuse
There are almost as many risk factors to becoming an alcoholic as there are as a result of abusing alcohol.
Unlike many street drugs — such as heroin, cocaine, and meth — alcohol can be purchased legally – and in some states, even in grocery stores. This easy access can be an impediment to the willpower of someone who is addicted to alcohol. It’s widely considered a “social lubricant” and deemed acceptable at social gatherings. Many people with alcohol dependency issues grew up in households where there was a family history of alcoholism.
According to the Monitoring the Future Survey, conducted annually by the University of Michigan and funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 26.8% of high school seniors reported they have been intoxicated through the abuse of alcohol. Over half of U.S. children over the age of 11 years old have used alcohol in the month that preceded the survey, and about half of those had binged, or consumed more than five drinks, in a two-hour period.
For adults, the numbers are just as alarming. The Centers for Disease Control reports that more than 24,000 deaths occur annually, not including alcohol-related driving, or other accidents and homicides, as a direct result of alcohol.
In addition to these statistics, excessive drinking and alcoholism have also been linked to several other disorders, such as dementia, stroke, cardiovascular issues, and depression. Beyond the damage alcoholism can do to a person’s health, it can also be damaging to their overall well-being, bearing a negative impact on a person’s home, family, and career.
How Do You Know if Someone You Love Is Suffering From Alcoholism?
Does your friend or loved one often miss work or school for no apparent reason? Is the reason they miss school or work often because of a strange or consistent emergency situation that seems like unusually bad luck? Does this person often smell of alcohol, experience mood changes, or changes in behavior or attitude for unexplained reasons? Are they frequently using breath mints or chewing gum?
Diagnosing alcoholism is a job for trained medical or psychological professionals, but there are some signals you can look for to help you decide whether a visit to a professional is warranted.
According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the following behaviors are indicators that could mean an individual has a problem with alcohol. They are only some of the behaviors for which supervisors are trained to look when dealing with alcoholism in the workplace.
One of the main indicators of addiction, according to an article on alcohol withdrawal published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, is that the individual will experience withdrawal symptoms once the drug of choice, in this case alcohol, is no longer administered to the body.
Initially, the symptoms can begin in as few as five hours after taking the last drink, but they can remain at bay for days. Once they’ve started, they can last for days or even weeks. The symptoms themselves can range from irritability and mood swings to clammy skin and trembling. Sometimes, this detox period can include a loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting.
What Alcohol Rehab Options Are Available?
Alcoholism is an addiction disease and like any addiction disease, there are specific steps in the treatment process. In the case of alcoholism, the first step of the alcoholism treatment program will be the detoxification process.
If you choose to go through your alcohol detox treatment in a rehab program, you will have the added benefit of professional assistance during this time, to help you refrain from drinking simply to relieve the symptoms.
After you’ve finished the detox period, you will begin the alcohol treatment program in earnest. The elements of effective alcohol addiction treatment vary for each person and might include such elements as:
- Individual and group therapy
- Participation in self-help meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous
- Art, music, or natural complementary therapies, such as yoga
- Cognitive behavioral therapy to help adjust thought patterns and reactive behaviors
- Nutritional counseling to rebuild physical health
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there is no one, foolproof and guaranteed alcoholism treatment program for everyone. Rather, the most effective alcohol abuse treatment programs will tailor their approach to the individual needs of each person seeking help. Some alcohol rehab programs may be longer than others, and still others may find they need more than one attempt at recovery before they ultimately find a place in the world of recovering alcoholics.
Contact Futures Today to Get the Help You Need for Alcoholism
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse, or you think you might suffer from alcohol addiction, it is never too late to call for help. Futures of Palm Beach offers evidence-based therapies and treatment programs that can lead you back to a healthy, productive lifestyle. We offer help for alcoholics to recover in a calm, tranquil environment, allowing you to focus on sobriety and the skills you’ll need to lead an alcohol-free life. Call today to find out how we can help you.