Alcohol addiction is a serious problem, with nearly 15 million people aged over 12 years old suffering from it, as reported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Although habitual drinking is different, it may still lead to addiction if an individual develops tolerance to alcohol.
The first step to treating alcohol addiction is acknowledging the problem, which may be difficult to do. However, failing to get treatment in a timely manner can result in serious consequences to one’s health like liver damage, heart disease, and nervous system problems. If you suspect you may have a drinking problem, seek professional help immediately. You can get in touch with a Fort Myers drug rehab or a similar facility near you for treatment.
Recognizing that you have a drinking problem is not easy. While you will still need a professional assessment, you can check your behavior to see if you have a drinking problem.
Signs of Alcohol Dependence
There is nothing wrong with going to the bar for some well-deserved after-work drinks, but if this becomes a regular occurrence, then you may need to take it more seriously as it may be a sign of alcohol dependence. Other signs to watch out for include:
1. Becoming secretive about your drinking habits
2. Worrying or thinking about when the next drink will be
3. Needing to consume more alcohol to feel its effects
4. Being unable to decline an opportunity to drink
5. Wanting to or consuming alcohol when you wake up in the morning
6. Staying out late more frequently to drink, even when you are alone
7. Encouraging friends to continue drinking with you, even if they don’t want to
8. Feeling and appearing tired
9. Appearing intoxicated more regularly
10. Having strained relationships with family and friends
Aside from these common signs, you may also want to ask yourself if you are using alcohol to feel relaxed, relieve anxiety, and avoid sad thoughts. In addition, you may want to ask these questions:
- Are you consuming alcohol to be more comfortable in social situations?
- Did you attempt to stop drinking or to drink less, but failed to do so?
- Do you end up forgetting what happened after you start drinking?
- Does your performance at work or home life suffer because of your drinking?
- Do you lie about the amount and frequency of your drinking?
- Have you had anyone tell you that your drinking is a problem?
If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then it may be time to talk to someone about your drinking. You can talk to a trusted friend or family member, so they can support you when you seek professional help.
Symptoms of Withdrawal
If you feel your drinking is becoming a problem, you need to be careful when you decide to stop. When you become dependent on alcohol and abruptly stop drinking, your body will react to the sudden change. Observe yourself for these physical effects as they may be symptoms of withdrawal.
- Experiencing nausea
- Having trouble sleeping or insomnia
- Feeling irritable
- Feeling restless
There are also more serious symptoms such as experiencing hallucinations for about 12 to 24 hours after the last drink or having seizures in the first couple of days since stopping drinking. If you have been a frequent heavy drinker, it is best to go to a treatment facility instead of suddenly quitting on your own as unsupervised withdrawal is a risky undertaking.
It’s not easy to accept that you may have developed a drinking problem, but it is necessary to treat it immediately to avoid serious health problems. Drug rehab facilities offer different programs to treat alcohol problems, and each one begins with a detoxification process. Detoxification or more commonly known as detox involves removing all traces of alcohol in your body. During this time, you may experience some of the previously mentioned symptoms of withdrawal.
When your detox is complete, your psychotherapy begins. Through individual and group therapy sessions, you will explore what led you to consume alcohol. Psychologists or counselors will guide you as you work on past trauma or mental health issues. They will also help you deal with stressful situations and teach you better coping mechanisms.
In severe cases of alcohol abuse, doctors may prescribe medications such as Disulfiram, Acamprosate, or Naltrexone to lessen the pleasurable effects of drinking. These medications may also help reduce cravings for alcohol. Once you complete your treatment program, you will be advised to join a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous to help you stay sober.
Although alcohol addiction is treatable, you still shouldn’t take signs of drinking problems lightly. When you start to question your drinking habits, seek help immediately. There are treatment centers in the country offering inpatient and outpatient programs, depending on what you need.