Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Alcohol addiction is one of the most profound forms of substance abuse. The 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 15.1 million people over the age of 18 have an alcohol use disorder. Of them, 6.7 percent receive treatment each year. And yet, 88,000 men and women die from alcohol-related causes annually.
At FHE Health, we have over 15 years of experience in treating alcoholism. Individuals who have an alcohol addiction need to seek treatment as beating it on your own is very difficult even for the most dedicated of those hoping to quit. The statistics of what can occur are alarming. For example, 10 percent of children in the United States have a parent who has an alcohol abuse disorder. And three-quarters of those who misuse alcohol are binge drinking, a very high-risk type of abuse that can lead to sudden death.
Understanding that you or your loved one needs alcohol addiction treatment is the first step in moving forward. At FHE Health, we work closely with you to ensure you have every opportunity possible to achieve these goals.
When Is It Alcoholism?
Many people mistakenly believe they aren’t suffering alcoholism because they have a stereotyped image of an alcoholic. While some people do live their day-to-day lives drunk and stumbling around, the vast majority of men and women with alcoholism live high-functioning lives. They go to work. They maintain their roles as parents. They drive and may not get pulled over for driving under the influence. A few drinks after work may be all it takes, though.
Alcoholism occurs when a person has developed a dependency on alcohol. That means the individual has a physical and/or a psychological compulsion to drink alcohol. In most situations, the amount of alcohol is excessive, but that may not always be the case. Individuals who continue to drink alcohol even though they recognize the negative consequences it can cause are facing addiction.
Signs of Alcohol Abuse in a Loved One
Alcohol abuse can occur over a long period of time, making it hard to pinpoint dramatic changes in behavior. However, alcohol addiction help is needed when your loved one displays any of the following signs of alcoholism or alcohol abuse.
- They neglect their other responsibilities. Individuals may be unable to perform on the job. In a college setting, where binge drinking is common, individuals may have poor grades. They skip commitments in order to drink or because they have a hangover.
- They drink to reduce stress, calm nerves or fight depression. Individuals turning to alcohol as a treatment for underlying health concerns or worries tend to develop an addiction.
- They take risks. They understand the risks of getting behind the wheel with alcohol in their systems but do it anyway. Some people seek out alcohol so they can engage in reckless behavior.
- Relationships are difficult. The sole focus of each day is when the next drink will come, rather than on spending time with family and friends.
- Many struggle with painful addiction withdrawal if they stop using. This is quite common in individuals who have a serious drinking problem. It can be life-threatening to simply stop, requiring alcohol addiction rehab to detox.
Alcoholism is moving beyond casual drinks with friends. In many situations, the addiction occurs when tolerance develops. When a loved one needs to drink more or a higher proof of alcohol in order to get the same level of drunk, this indicates the body has formed an addiction to the substance. There are also more signs and symptoms of abuse of addiction.
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When It Crosses the Line
When you notice the signs of alcohol addiction, you may be unsure what to do. You don’t want to make the wrong decision for your loved one. Yet alcoholics often believe they can stop whenever they want to. They may promise to do so numerous times and yet fail to quit. This is because a physical change has occurred in the body, making it require the substance in order to function normally and causing alcohol withdrawal symptoms when it is not there.
If you find your loved one is in this condition or approaching it, it’s essential to recognize that enough is enough. The difficult decision to confront an addiction and seek alcohol addiction treatment may save their life.
Short-Term and Long-Term Dangers of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol is absolutely not a safe substance to use in large amounts or in high frequency. Take a closer look at some of the impacts it can have on the lives of the alcoholic as well as his or her family.
Short-term effects of alcohol abuse may include:
- Inability to communicate; slurred speech
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Drowsiness, falling asleep at the wheel
- Stomach pain
- Trouble breathing
- Decreased perception and ability to walk
- Headaches, migraines
- Inability to make wise decisions, impaired judgment
- Unconsciousness or blacking out
- Sudden death
While these are dangerous in themselves, especially when a person is working or driving, the long-term impact is even worse. Those symptoms include:
- Increased aggression, domestic violence, firearm injuries and sexual assault
- High blood pressure, putting a person at risk for stroke and heart disease
- Alcohol poisoning
- On-the-job injuries
- Nerve damage
- Liver damage
- Inability to perform sexually
- Deficiencies in vitamin B
- Brain damage
Without a safe environment, alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening. Individuals who have long been exposed to alcohol have significant changes in their bodies that now require the drug’s presence. Without this, they can experience intense pain, seizures and potentially fatal spells of consciousness. They may suffer a heart attack or simply stop breathing, simply from not getting access to alcohol over a short period of time.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Significant anxiety and nervousness
- Inability to eat
- Depression, suicidal thoughts
- Mood swings
- Changes in blood pressure
- Inability to breath steadily
Because it can create such an intense amount of physical change, individuals should seek out a professional to help with the detox process.
Quitting on Your Own May Be Impossible
Perhaps one of the most difficult things for anyone addicted to alcohol to hear is that they really cannot stop on their own. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can develop in the first few hours of having a last drink, creating a high-risk situation. Some individuals may experience only a few minimal side effects initially, but most will struggle with pain that is debilitating and severe enough to end up in the emergency room.
For others, the onset of seizures can begin within the first six hours, with risks for them remaining for several days after the last use of alcohol. Further, individuals may suffer from severe hallucinations, creating very frightening situations. Many people can experience a mental break from these hallucinations, creating a life-threatening situation.
However, detoxing in a safe environment minimizes the risks and the complications from those risks. Doctors are on hand to provide immediate medical assistance as necessary. They may also be able to offer treatment to minimize the physical pain. Detox in a formal program is the best way to minimize risks but also helps promote long-term sobriety through a comprehensive alcohol abuse treatment program.
Addiction Is a Disease, and There Is Help Available for It
The facts are clear. Alcohol addiction is a disease and requires medical help in order for you to move beyond it. Treatment for it can be highly effective for many people if help is sought soon enough. Through alcohol addiction rehab, it may be possible to minimize risks and improve the outcome as well as the chance for long-term sobriety.
Speak to a FHE Health Counselor Today
When you speak to one of FHE Health admissions counselors, you’ll learn just how supportive our program can be to help you or your loved one move beyond addiction. We encourage you to give one of our counselors a call today. They all know what addiction is and will speak to you about getting the right type and amount of help for your situation.