What is Alcohol Addiction Treatment?
Alcohol addiction treatment is the process of going through physical and psychological rehab treatment to overcome an alcohol addiction. Since alcoholism is one of the more common addictions in the United States, there are many Americans who aren’t getting the help they need. Some don’t realize they have a problem, some are firmly in denial, but regardless of circumstances, these individuals need treatment. Any addiction can be extremely harmful not only to the user’s health, but also to their friends, families, and their happiness.
Since alcohol is legal, it can be hard to convince a loved one that they have a problem. In these cases, an intervention is often needed in order for the user’s friends and family to speak their minds and urge their loved one towards rehab treatment.
Signs of Alcoholism
Since alcohol is legal for adults to obtain and consume all over the world, but especially in the United States, casual alcohol usage is common. For the responsible drinker, there’s usually very little concern even if they have a drink or two fairly often. However, it can be difficult to determine who is drinking appropriately versus drinking in a risky manner, especially in a social setting. There are many signs that indicate at-risk alcohol use behaviors and other alcohol abuse patterns you should look out for.
Binge drinking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, involves alcohol consumption with the intent of getting drunk. This averages out to five or more drinks in a two hour period for men and four or more drinks in a two hour period for women. It’s also one of the easiest warning signs for friends and family to pick up on, because there’s a conscious choice being made by the drinker that’s hard to disguise. You can’t just sit down next to a friend at a bar and down four or five drinks in the time they consume one or two without your consumption being noticed.
There are a multitude of other behaviors and habits that may also indicate an alcohol abuse problem. People who likely abuse alcohol may:
- Drink copious amounts of alcohol in social situations (get togethers, parties, etc.)
- Drink alcohol daily or throughout the day
- Drink and drive
- Start fights or get into legal trouble when under the influence
- Seem to become a completely different person when they drink
People who exhibit these drinking patterns have all started to lose control over their consumption habits, meaning alcohol has started influencing their behavior on a bigger scale. Sometimes it’s a very small change, but it’s important nonetheless. Risky drinking habits like these can be the precursors to alcoholism. When alcohol use changes from an elective activity to a compulsion, an alcohol addiction may be forming or already set in place.
Some of the signs and symptoms of alcoholism include:
- Consistently using alcohol to cope with stress or other difficulties
- Problems with family and relationships as a result of drinking
- Drinking frequently and/or alone
- Loss of interest in hobbies and previously enjoyable activities
- Hiding or covering up the extent of one’s drinking habits
- Alcohol usage has started to affect work, school, and other obligations
- Putting self and/or others in danger due to alcohol consumption (i.e. drunk driving)
- Legal issues stemming from drinking (i.e. DUIs, getting arrested for offenses related to public intoxication, etc.)
- Blacking out while drinking, unable to remember events that happened while drunk
- Willpower alone is not sufficient to stop drinking, even when he or she knows the dangerous consequences of drinking
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms (not just hangovers) and having to drink to function in daily life
What Causes Alcoholism?
Addiction is a disease. No one gets heart disease on purpose and no one really intends to become an addict or alcoholic either. Alcoholism, unlike some other addictions, can be slow and subtle as it takes over a person’s life. Sometimes it begins with peer pressure in social settings to have just one more. Sometimes alcohol is used as a way to self-medicate anxiety or depression, only to worsen as their tolerance grows.
There is also research that suggests alcoholism can stem from genes. While the specific “alcoholism gene” hasn’t yet been identified, there are known genes that can make the effects of alcohol stronger for some people and reduce the symptoms of a hangover. People with these gene combinations may have more intense experiences with alcohol usage and they may not feel ill or sick after larger volumes of alcohol are consumed. Their bodies are primed for alcohol abuse, and that can make them more likely to develop alcoholism since there are fewer negative side effects to discourage the development of negative drinking habits.
Family members can also influence children in ways that make them more likely to become alcoholics as adults, especially if they also practice bad drinking habits. Children who are raised around alcohol abusers may consider alcohol abuse as a normal part of adult life, or if their parents use alcohol as a coping mechanism, they may also reach for alcohol in times of high stress. In these situations, genetic predisposition isn’t the issue so much as behavioral modeling from parents and family members setting an unhealthy example.
When to Seek Help
One of the major warning signs when it comes to addiction is the inability or unwillingness to stop drinking when it has started to negatively impact a person’s life, relationships, finances, and freedom. This includes those who want to change, but don’t know where to start or feel like they’re not strong enough. Some have even reached a point of feeling hopeless, as if they’re trapped and sobriety is out of their reach.
Staging an intervention is often the first step for families and friends trying to help a loved one take their life back. The goal of an intervention is to enlighten the alcohol abuser to their problem and motivate them to do whatever it takes to overcome their alcohol addiction.
Some scenarios that might prompt staging an intervention include:
- The alcohol abuser getting arrested
- Hospitalization and medical concerns surrounding alcohol abuse
- Marital and domestic disputes over alcohol consumption
- The abuser losing their job over their alcohol abuse
- Childcare and custody concerns
At the end of a successful intervention, the next step for the alcohol abuser is admission into some kind of addiction treatment program. There different types of rehab treatment options available all over the country, so it’s important to find a rehab center capable of giving your loved one the care and treatments they need. For example, some rehab facilities specialize in inpatient rehab treatment, while others are only outpatient treatment centers.
Depending on your situation, different styles of rehab treatment may be more beneficial to your recovery. Inpatient treatment allows patients to remove themselves from all potential environmental triggers that could stunt their recovery. But for some, namely those who do not have the ability to remove themselves from their daily lives for the duration of rehab, outpatient treatment options may be better suited for their treatment needs.