Alcohol Addiction: Signs And Treatment Options That Can Help

Alcohol addiction is a condition that can be heartbreaking to see, especially if it’s a family member or friend going through it. Most often wonder what they can do to help a person struggling with alcoholism.

Over the years, people from different walks of life have succumbed to alcohol addiction or alcoholism. Various factors may come into play that can put an individual at higher risk for developing the condition. However, there’s no specific cause for it, even today. Generally, different factors such as genetic, behavioral, and even psychological can contribute to the development of the condition in some individuals.

Knowing the early signs and timely management with detoxification and other modes of treatment will help an individual maintain sobriety and continue with normal living. If you want to know about the treatment options, you might want to check out online and other similar sources to ensure a head start.

A Close Look At Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction or alcoholism can manifest in various ways. In most cases, the severity of the condition, the amount an individual consumes, and the frequency of the drinking episodes tend to vary from one person to another. A person can ingest substantial amounts of alcohol in a day, while others tend to go on binge drinking for several straight days but can maintain a sober state, but it’s usually a short one.

Regardless of how the condition manifests, it’s alcohol addiction if a person solely depends on drinking and cannot maintain a sober state for a long time.

When an individual solely relies on alcohol, the urge to consume the substance will come first above other daily routines or obligations, including family and work. In the long run, physical dependence on alcohol develops in which one consumes more to achieve the intoxicating effect, and the undesirable withdrawal symptoms will manifest if drinking is stopped.

Sadly, the continuous and substantial intake of alcohol regularly can be detrimental physically, emotionally, and mentally. If unaddressed, it may result in the deterioration of both health and mind. In one study, the condition can be a risk factor for various health conditions like liver cirrhosis and cancer.

What Are The Indications Of Alcohol Addiction?

Although a serious case of alcohol addiction is easy to distinguish, the initial symptoms might be difficult to pinpoint. The difference between alcohol and other commonly abused substances is that it’s readily available, and consumption is accepted in many cultures. You can find beer or any alcoholic beverage in a grocery store nowadays. Besides, alcohol is typically present in the majority of social functions and different types of celebrations.

For many individuals, drinking is already a part of life. Nowadays, a person is likely to enjoy a drink or two during social gatherings or when hanging out with family. Unfortunately, drinking alcoholic beverages is a norm in society, so it’s difficult to know if an individual is already struggling with alcoholism.

If you’re having doubts about a family member or friend struggling or having a hard time controlling the intake of alcohol, here are some of the telltale symptoms of alcohol addiction you need to watch out for:

  • Significant increase in the frequency or amount of alcohol consumption
  • Drinking alcohol during inappropriate times of the day, such as upon waking up in the morning or while at work, the need to have alcohol readily accessible, and avoidance of scenarios where alcohol isn’t available
  • Tendency to hide alcoholic beverages or sneak out to take a gulp
  • Develop a high level of tolerance despite the large intake of alcohol
  • Steady or abrupt changes or declines in relationships or socialization (e.g., when a person becomes withdrawn from their usual circle of friends)
  • Tendency to withdraw or avoid communication or contact with family or loved ones
  • Urge to consume alcohol to be able to go through daily routine or handle tasks
  • Increased lethargy, depression, or the development of emotional issues
  • Involvement in legal or work-related matters, such as being fired from a job or even getting arrested for drinking-related offenses like assault or driving under the influence

Remember that if alcohol addiction gets worse over time and reaches an uncontrolled state, it can be hard to manage, especially when depression sets in. With this in mind, it’s crucial to be vigilant for the early warning signs, especially if it’s likely that a family member or friend is struggling. When the condition is identified and treated during its early stages, it may be possible to prevent the development of other health conditions.

In most scenarios, the doctor will likely diagnose a person with alcohol dependence if two or more of these symptoms are present on an ongoing basis. It’s usually based on the person’s behavior over 12 months or longer. However, dependence is likely if there’s continuous daily consumption for at least three months.

If the life of a loved one or friend is on the line and at risk of progressing to alcoholism, it may be best to approach the situation in a supportive manner. Avoid making the person feel guilty or humiliating them because doing so will only push them away, and they’ll no longer accept help from others.

Management Of Alcohol Addiction

Today, there are various treatment options for managing alcohol addiction or alcoholism. In one study, there have been significant improvements and advancements in managing alcoholism with proven results. Most of these evidence-based treatment options are readily offered in rehab facilities.

1. Detoxification

Getting rid of alcohol from the body is the initial phase of recovery from alcohol addiction. A person may be at risk of experiencing intense withdrawal symptoms if the addiction is severe. Detoxification involves various interventions to help an individual withdraw from alcohol safely and comfortably.

Before moving into a detoxification center, a thorough assessment is important to determine the person’s experience with alcoholism, withdrawal experiences, and medical or psychiatric history. All the information will serve as a basis for determining the withdrawal risk. In some facilities, the assessment may include blood tests and screening for any co-occurring physical or mental health issues.

During the detoxification program, the person will receive medications to help them withdraw safely from alcohol. Some commonly used detox medications may include benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and anticonvulsants.

Normally, a supervised detoxification program is necessary to prevent potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms such as seizures. In such scenarios, it’s crucial to undergo detoxification in an inpatient facility. After completing the detoxification program, the person may undergo residential or outpatient treatment for further withdrawal management.

2. Residential Rehab Services

Residential Rehab Services

An inpatient or residential treatment will require a person to reside in a rehabilitation facility for a given period. A program will vary in duration and may involve brief admissions that range from three to six weeks, followed by an outpatient program. In some cases, the stay can be longer, usually 6–12 months, under a structured program accompanied by guidance with reintegration into the community.

An advantage of residential rehab is providing an individual with an environment free of distractions where they can focus on recovery while developing the necessary coping skills to lead a sober life. Typically, the person also receives round-the-clock care and monitoring to address possible withdrawal symptoms and receive the necessary support.

3. Outpatient Rehab Services

An outpatient treatment program for alcoholism normally comprises three support levels. Generally, an individual will transition from an inpatient or residential to an outpatient program.

A partial hospitalization program is a highly intensive form of outpatient care. The individual is required to attend treatment for up to 10 hours daily on most days of the week. It’s a structured and supportive program suitable for those who cannot commit to residential care but require intensive management.

There are also outpatient programs where an individual undergoes treatment for up to a minimum of three hours a day, usually five days a week, with a decreasing frequency depending on the individual’s condition.

Standard outpatient treatment is likely to vary in duration and intensity depending on the specific needs of the individual. It usually involves scheduled treatment sessions on certain days or only once a week.

4. Medications

Some medications can manage alcoholism. In most programs, these medications will help a person stop drinking and minimize the withdrawal symptoms to lower the risk of relapse. The medications also produce a negative physical reaction to alcohol that helps control the urge to drink when it arises.

Some commonly used medications a person can receive in an inpatient or outpatient care program include acamprosate, disulfiram, or naltrexone. These medications have specific actions that help lessen the withdrawal symptoms and cravings for alcohol.

5. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Over the years, CBT may be part of a treatment program for alcoholism. It generally involves changing negative thought patterns predisposing an individual to drink.

The therapy involves replacing negative thoughts and behaviors with positive ones. The therapy utilizes an approach that encourages an individual to take constructive actions such as facing fears, challenging detrimental beliefs, creating strategies to put a stop to drinking, and role-playing to improve social interactions.

6. Alcohol Support Groups

There are different alcohol support groups nowadays, and you might have heard about Alcoholics Anonymous. The groups may be beneficial in managing alcoholism due to the network of support the individual gains. Being part of a support group is crucial for those in the recovery phase.

In general, it may be beneficial for a person to be part of a support system while getting sober. Being part of a group can help someone with difficulties with alcohol addiction cope with the challenges of maintaining a sober state in daily life. During the sessions, participants readily share experiences and offer the opportunity to form healthy friendships. Additionally, the support groups make an individual accountable and provide a place to go if a relapse occurs.

Final Thoughts

Alcohol addiction will always be a concern. As millions of individuals around the globe are struggling with the condition, it’s comforting to know that it’s possible to deal with the addiction. By knowing the early signs, you can make a timely move if you suspect a family or friend is struggling with addiction. Although it takes time and effort, various treatment options can help an individual overcome alcohol addiction and eventually lead a sober and normal life.

Leave a Comment