According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all Americans over the age 18 were regular drinkers in the past year. Of that 50%, nearly 18 million adults in the United States admitted to alcoholism.
Symptoms of Addiction
Over a period of heavy use, an individual may become dependent on alcohol. The risks of someone becoming addicted to alcohol are linked to several different factors. These factors include genetics, social status, the type of family a person was raised in, and the way the person was raised. Emotional health can also be a factor in the risk of alcoholism. Individuals who were exposed to alcoholism at a young age or those with a family history of alcohol abuse tend to be at a higher risk. Individuals who suffer from mental illness or depression may be at a higher risk, because they believe that alcohol helps them to relax. Individuals with mental illnesses therefore tend to use alcohol to self-medicate. Any of these conditions can put you at a higher risk of alcohol addiction.
Alcohol addiction symptoms can vary between individuals. Tolerance is usually the first sign of alcohol addiction. You require more of your normal drink in order to feel the same effects that you used to. You may also find that you can drink much more than others without feeling drunk. Another warning sign of alcoholism is having withdrawal symptoms first thing in the morning. You may feel that you need to have your first drink early in the morning in order to calm your nerves and get you through the day.
Other warning signs of alcohol addiction include:
- Making excuses for your drinking
- Lying to others about your alcohol use
- Needing to drink in order to relax
- Suffering from blackouts after you have been drinking
- Drinking more than you intend to
- Worrying about running out of alcohol
- Hiding alcohol in various places in your home or car
- Showing a lack of interest in things you once enjoyed
- Losing time from work or school due to your drinking habits
- Displaying risky behaviors, such as drinking and driving or drinking while pregnant
- Having legal problems as a result of your drinking
- Having relationship problems due to alcohol addictionv
- Developing a tolerance to alcohol
- Showing withdrawal symptoms between drinks
If you begin to display any symptoms of alcoholism, you should seek an alcohol addiction treatment program in your local area to help you overcome the addiction. With help, you can move closer to a healthy, sober life.
Dangers of Alcohol Addiction
There are many dangers that come with alcohol addiction, including:
- Increased risk of certain types of cancers
- Damage to the liver, brain and other internal organs
- Birth defects during pregnancies
- Risk of death from drunk driving
- Increased risk of homicide and suicide
If you believe that you are suffering from alcohol addiction, you should seek alcohol addiction treatment as soon as possible. One of the first stages of the treatment process is admitting that you have a problem. A treatment center can offer you the help that you need and assistance with detox.
You may choose to attend an inpatient facility or an outpatient facility. An inpatient facility will remove you from your home, job and family, and place you in a medically supervised facility. Inpatient programs are recommended for people who have relapsed or for individuals who suffer from more than one addiction. You will remain in the program 24 hours a day until you have completed detox and oftentimes the therapy portion of rehab. An outpatient program, on the other hand, allows you to return home each night. Outpatient programs are usually best for individuals with children or those suffering from less severe addictions.
Regardless of the type of program you choose, you will be required to participate in both individual and group therapy. Therapy helps you identify why you became an alcoholic and the triggers that cause you to drink. Group therapy allows you to socialize with others who are going through the same process. You may be given medication to help you get through the initial stages of detox. Medication can help relieve withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings for alcohol.
Alcohol addiction recovery is a lifelong process. Once you have completed detox you will need to remain in some type of treatment program. This can include therapy, group meetings and membership with a support group. It is extremely important to keep all your scheduled appointments and to attend group meetings in order to be successful in your fight against alcoholism.
- Education on the effects of alcoholism is one of the best ways to reduce the number of individuals who are addicted to alcohol.
- Men who have 15 or more drinks over a one-week period are at a higher risk of developing alcohol addiction.
- According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, one in six adults currently has an alcohol problem.