About alcohol addiction
Alcohol addiction, more commonly known as alcoholism, is often known as a compulsive and overwhelming urge to drink. This imbibing comes at the expense of relationships, employment and academia. Alcoholism has been declared a disease by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and is recognized as such among the medical and psychiatric communities.
Alcoholism is a progressive disease that affects 10 percent of Americans, according to the National Institute of Health. It hurts millions of people every day, either directly or indirectly. While many recognize they have a problem, some don’t fully realize the power this substance has over their mind and life. It can often be a very hard pill to swallow because millions still choose to stand by their right to have a drink. This leads to many who refuse to get help for their problem, not recognizing the damage it does to them and everyone in their life.
Recognizing alcohol addiction
Alcoholism is a serious problem that should be addressed as soon as possible. To find help, addicts must first be able to recognize there is a problem. There are many signs that indicate if an addict is going through something difficult to control:
- Frequent intoxication
- Drinking excessively and/or drinking alone
- Consistently “blacking out”
- Getting aggressive when approached about their drinking behavior
- Showing aggressiveness and hostility while drinking
- Neglect of responsibilities
- Drinking as a method of self-medication
- Lack of physical hygiene
- Losing jobs because of alcoholic behavior
- Losing friends and significant others because of problems caused by drinking
- Developing a tolerance to increasing amounts of alcohol
- Withdrawal symptoms such as tremors or the “shakes” or seeming ill whenever an addict are unable to drink
In extreme cases of alcoholism, patients can experience severely painful withdrawal symptoms. This extreme withdrawal can be life-threatening if not brought to the attention of a health professional. Some of these withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Shaky hands
- Profuse sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
In extreme cases alcoholics may experience delirium tremens, a symptom best treated immediately upon recognition. They can be life-threatening and usually occur between 48 and 72 hours after the last drink. Delirium tremens is characterized by symptoms including hallucinations, high blood pressure, severe tremors, disorientation, anxiety, irregular heartbeat, seizures and a low fever.
Addressing alcohol addiction
Approaching an individual with an alcohol addiction can be tricky business. The most important strategy is approaching the addict with love and acceptance, as many get defensive when approached about their problem. Millions of Americans struggle with alcoholism and never get the treatment they need. Sometimes denial occurs because others only look away when confronted with a problem to address. Letting the addict know there is hope and that others have been through what they have and survived can be key for breaking through their fear. Getting through to the addict is just the start of the battle, however.
Alcoholism is serious condition that could necessitate intervention, medically assisted detox and further treatment. Detoxing from alcohol can threaten an individual’s physical and mental livelihood, so supervision from trained professionals is highly recommended. Medically assisted detox facilities often implement the use of medications to ease the pain of alcohol withdrawal symptoms and prevent seizures from occurring. Addiction treatment specialists know the possible pain of withdrawal, so they can make it as painless as possible.
Once finished with detox, the patient should attend an inpatient alcohol treatment program in which patients have access to recovery groups, therapy sessions and 12-step based recovery support groups. Residential treatment programs are good for patients that need both one-on-one treatment and group therapies. Premier facilities offer a comprehensive experience to contribute to a well-rounded recovery, which can include recreation, equine, yoga and other adjunct therapies in addition to traditional psychotherapies and detoxes. Finding the right addiction treatment provider can help one avoid the possibility of an unpleasant time.
Fortunately, we’re here to make rehabilitation an experience worth remembering instead of dreading. The Texas Alcohol Addiction Helpline is a great resource for learning about alcoholism, awareness and treatment for this difficult disease. Our team members are here to help those in need learn about the issue of alcohol addiction and how to find treatment. To learn more about how we can help you or your loved one feel free to talk to a member of our team through online chat or over the phone to get started today.