Alcohol abuse and, ultimately, alcohol addiction does not discriminate. Its effects are felt on a global scale, with all ages and social groups vulnerable to its damaging influence. The road to recovery starts with the alteration of existing behaviors, but it’s important to recognize that the necessary changes will not be easy.
What starts with alcohol abuse treatment reaches far beyond the initial rehabilitation period. Recovery is an important, lifelong process that one must work for long after treatment ends. Educating yourself about the process of recovery from alcohol abuse is an important first step towards achieving sobriety, or in helping a loved one in need. Call for free at today to discuss treatment options.
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About Alcohol Addiction
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) states that alcohol addiction grows out of an initial period of alcohol abuse. The individual abusing alcohol may initially be in control of their drinking behavior and able to set limits on themselves for when and how much they consume.
Despite these self-imposed limits, the behavior still may be quite harmful to the person and their relationship with their environment (family, friends, work, etc.).
Not all abusers of alcohol will progress to a state of alcoholism, but there are some definitive signs and symptoms to look for that may indicate that the line has been crossed:
- A tolerance develops to the effects of alcohol, requiring the drinker to consume more and more to achieve the desired intoxicating results.
- A set of physical withdrawal symptoms appears when the effects of alcohol have worn off, or if the drinker initiates a period of abstinence.
- A loss of the control of the self-imposed limits to drinking behavior mentioned previously occurs.
- The drinker recognises that they need to cut down, or quit altogether, but their efforts to do so prove ineffective.
- Obtaining alcohol becomes a driving force in the drinker’s life, frequently distracting them from other activities that used to be central to their lives (relationships, recreation, etc.).
- The person uses persistently despite an awareness of the profound negative influence that alcohol has on the drinker’s life.
Withdrawal and Detox
We’ve mentioned withdrawal from alcohol as one of the defining symptoms of alcohol or drug dependency. For anyone physically dependent on alcohol, the withdrawal process is inevitable. The array of symptoms experienced might include:
- Pronounced anxiety.
- Autonomic instability.
- Irritated mood.
- Muscle tremors.
- Hyperhidrosis (sweating).
- Acute hallucination.
- Profound confusion.
An alcoholic may initiate drinking behavior at the first sign of these undesirable symptoms, prolonging the cycle of maladaptive drinking behavior. To be sure, a person in acute alcohol withdrawal may feel terrible but, in some situations, the actual withdrawal effects themselves can be quite serious—even life threatening, such as in the case of seizures. Furthermore, the time period over which these dangerous effects may occur is quite prolonged—acute withdrawal symptoms can last for one to three days from the day the last drink was consumed. For these reasons, during this dangerous period, a physician or other trained medical professional should be on hand to closely monitor the person in the midst of acute alcohol withdrawal.
As one might guess, the daunting prospect of weathering these symptoms until they subside is one of the many factors that prevent people from quitting. But, as withdrawal from alcohol is something that needs to occur prior to recovery, many treatment centers provide medically supervised detox programs to help usher a patient through this time span as comfortably and safely as possible.
For help finding alcohol treatment programs that provide medically assisted detox, call our toll-free helpline at .
Alcohol Treatment Options
The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) states that, of the estimated 23 million individuals needing treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol addiction problem, a mere fraction of that number ultimately received the help they needed.
It’s quite a shame, because there are thousands of drug and alcohol rehab centers around the country, each offering a variety of treatment options to help someone struggling with alcoholism. Treatment can be provided on either an outpatient or inpatient basis and is carried out over varying treatment lengths.
Many inpatient or residential treatment centers offer 28- or 30-day, 60- or 90-day alcohol rehab programs, with length of stay tailored to the severity of the problem that needs to be addressed. Additionally, treatment methods may vary from center to center. 12-Step alcohol programs are a well-known, time-tested approach to recovery from alcohol dependency employed by many treatment centers.
Outpatient treatment centers offer many of the features offered in a residential program but with the freedom to live at home. These programs are preferred by many who find it impossible to spend an extended stay in a residential program; however, they are best suited to those who have a supportive environment at home which enhances their recovery efforts.
If the spiritual or faith-based approach associated with a 12-Step alcohol program does not match your specifications, there are also a number of non-12 Step alcohol rehab centers that can effectively address substance misuse issues. If you or a loved one needs treatment and you want information about existing rehabilitation options and how to help an alcoholic, call our confidential alcohol abuse helpline free at . Phone lines are staffed around-the-clock, so there will always be someone there to help.
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