Seeking Alcohol Addiction Treatment for You or a Loved One
Addiction to alcohol is a fairly widespread problem. Those suffering from alcoholism experience a wide variety of symptoms, the most prominent of which is their inability to stop drinking even when it affects their personal and professional lives. Alcoholism is a disease, and one so widespread that about 18 million Americans meet the criteria of alcohol use disorders. If you or a loved one is experiencing some of the signs of alcohol addiction, there are people to talk to and resources to help you through this challenging time.
Differences Between Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
Alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction are very similar. In fact, the difference between the two is a matter of degrees. Alcohol abuse is when a person uses alcohol in excess too often. But alcohol addiction is a pattern of using alcohol to excess in which the abuser can’t stop.
Here are a few other ways that alcohol addiction is different than alcohol abuse:
- The person can’t stop drinking.
- An addict has withdrawal symptoms when they don’t consume more alcohol.
- They lose positive things in their life, such as their job, relationships, and favorite activities.
- They suffer from kidney or liver disease.
- They have a tolerance to alcohol that has been built up by excessive use, thereby needing significant amounts of alcohol to get a buzz and stave off withdrawal symptoms.
Alcohol: Legal but Dangerous for Some People
While it’s entirely legal for people ages 21 and older to buy, possess, and consume alcohol in the United States, some people will develop alcohol addiction. On the other hand, many people drink regularly but don’t have an addiction. In fact, there are even some health benefits to having small amounts of certain alcoholic beverages on a semi-regular basis. But when people drink in excess and binge drinking turns into addiction, all health benefits are lost.
Common Misconceptions About Alcohol Addiction
Most people have misconceptions about how much alcohol consumption is reasonable and what constitutes alcohol addiction.
Some of the false ideas include:
- Alcoholics are morally deficient. Alcoholics are no more or less moral than anyone else; instead, they have a medical condition that affects the body and mind.
- Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol has no effects on the body. Even moderate alcohol consumption will cause the liver to work harder to detoxify the blood. Only small amounts of alcohol may have some benefits.
- Alcoholism only affects the drinker. This is also a misconception. The behavior of people who abuse alcohol regularly affects loved ones, colleagues and society, as well.
- Only adults have alcoholism. This statement is not true. For many teenagers, alcohol is the drug of choice.
Hazards of Alcohol Addiction
Many adverse consequences are associated with alcohol addiction, including compromised health and damaged relationships. People with addiction often have difficulties maintaining relationships at home and work. Also, they usually have self-esteem problems when they can’t hold a job and no longer have an interest in other activities that they used to enjoy.
Alcoholism, Genetics, and Environment
Most people who drink alcohol will never develop a dependence on alcohol. Studies have found that genetics plays a significant role in the rate with which people develop addictions to alcohol and other drugs. Other factors, such as environment, also play a role in the likelihood that a person will develop an addiction to alcohol. For instance, the child of an alcoholic parent might model the behavior of the parent.
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Signs of Alcohol Addiction
There are many indicators that someone is struggling with alcohol addiction. While no one indicator necessarily means that a person is addicted to the substance, several of these signs might mean that they need treatment. For instance, financial problems, run-ins with the police, and relationship problems could all mean that someone is struggling with their alcohol use. Other signs to watch for include secretive behavior, lying about the amount of alcohol consumed, stealing to fund their habit, and failing health. All of these symptoms may indicate an alcohol problem.
Why You Should Take Action Early
When alcohol addiction is identified early, the person can receive detox treatment and counseling to help them cope with the disease more quickly. Also, withdrawal symptoms might be easier to withstand than they would be for a person who has consumed alcohol for years without intervention.
Prolonged alcohol abuse or alcoholism can lead to life-threatening health issues. Many of these physical problems cannot be reversed. Conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, memory loss, liver and kidney damage, and more can remain even after alcohol is eliminated from the person’s life. The sooner a person stops the alcohol abuse, the fewer health issues they will experience, and the less likely they are to suffer long-term effects.
How to Get Treatment
If you or a loved one needs treatment for alcohol abuse, we can help start the healing process. Our program options include intervention, detox, alcohol addiction treatment, outpatient support, and more. Make the call today so that we can help you or a loved one receive the necessary treatment.