Problematic drinking can range in severity from occasionally drinking in excess (also known as binge drinking) to alcohol dependence and alcoholism. There are many shades of gray in between. For most, the occasional drink here and there does not evolve into a substance use disorder or addiction. Others have a more challenging relationship with alcohol. To have a drinking problem, it is not necessary to exhibit all of the symptoms of an alcohol use disorder as defined in the DSM. Even if you only have a few symptoms, you could still benefit from alcohol addiction recovery.
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Alcohol Abuse in the United States
An Introduction to Alcoholism
The National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimate over seventeen million American adults struggle with an alcohol use disorder to varying degrees. Another nine million adolescents and teens between ages twelve and seventeen also have an alcohol use disorder. It is essential to remember that unlike some addictive disorders such as opioid addiction, alcohol use disorders generally take time to develop. Alcoholism develops out of long-term alcohol abuse.
What Makes Someone an Alcoholic?
The terms alcoholic or alcoholism are commonly used when referring to someone struggling with alcohol. However, in clinical and medical settings, alcohol use disorders are classified according to severity as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM. Because no two people experience alcohol addiction in the same way, the DSM provides a list of eleven criteria to help mental health and medical professionals accurately diagnose the presence and severity of an alcohol use disorder. One does not need to present with all eleven symptoms to have a problem with alcohol. Generally, two or three signs identify a mild alcohol use disorder; four or five are considered moderate, and six or more are considered severe. As previously mentioned, alcoholism does not develop overnight; however, someone is generally diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder when drinking interferes with work, school, family, and other responsibilities, and they continue to consume (or crave) alcohol despite known harmful consequences.
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Signs Someone Has A Drinking Problem
The eleven factors used to analyze the presence of an alcohol use disorder address both physical and psychological elements of addiction. When someone is struggling with an alcohol use disorder or alcoholism, they will likely experience both physical and psychological effects. If left untreated, alcohol abuse can quickly devolve into something severe and life-threatening. The ability to recognize the warning signs can help ensure early access to alcohol addiction programs and essential alcohol addiction-related mental health services. Some of the most common symptoms of alcohol abuse include:
- Cognitive changes such as blackouts or difficulties with short-term memory
- Sudden changes in mood or frequent mood swings
- Choosing alcohol over essential responsibilities and obligations
- Increasing isolation and distancing from friends and family
- Changes in appearance or lack of concern about hygiene
- Drinking alone or making excuses for drinking
No matter how minor or severe, symptoms of an alcohol use disorder should not be ignored as they can quickly get worse, putting both emotional and physical health at risk. At My Recovery, we are here to help those struggling with addiction to alcohol find the best treatment centers near them.
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The Dangers of Alcohol Withdrawal
Quitting alcohol suddenly, commonly known as quitting “cold turkey,” can be dangerous and, in some cases, fatal. It is essential to receive proper medical care and support while detoxing from alcohol addiction. The symptoms each person experiences during withdrawal will differ based on the duration and severity of their addiction. During withdrawal, the body attempts to readjust to the lack of alcohol in the system. As a result, systems that have been slowed due to alcohol’s depressive actions tend to become overactive or hyperactive. This can lead to rapid heart rate, elevated body temperature, rapid breathing, and sweating, among other things. The most severe effects of withdrawal can include dangerous symptoms, including delirium tremens (DT), shaking, headache, high blood pressure, seizures, hallucinations, nausea, and confusion. These are the symptoms that, depending on the severity of the addiction can be fatal. For these reasons, detoxing in an alcohol addiction treatment is essential to ensure a safe detox and a successful transition to therapy and recovery.
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How to Find an Alcohol Rehab Near You
There are many different treatment options available for substance use disorders and alcohol addiction. Ranging from outpatient care options to inpatient residential treatment centers, no matter the severity or duration of your addiction, it is possible to find an alcohol rehab near you that can help you reach your sobriety and addiction treatment goals. Defeating alcoholism should be done with the support and guidance of medical professionals in a treatment facility with a team trained to treat alcohol abuse and addiction disorders. For some, attempting to self-treat or “cold-turkey” withdrawing from alcohol may cause more harm.
Participating in an addiction rehab program near you with a treatment team guiding you along the way will provide you the greatest chance for long-term sobriety. A team of treatment professionals can help guide you and provide support through the entire treatment process beginning with detox. After rehab ends, your treatment team will help you find support groups and counselors to help you during early and long-term recovery. This will ensure you can maintain your sobriety while providing you the opportunity to develop relationships with a group of like-minded peers who are also focused on supporting each other’s sobriety.
At My Recovery, we can help you find the best alcohol rehab near you. Across the nation, there are thousands of addiction rehabs with different treatment specialties. It can quickly become overwhelming for someone seeking addiction treatment to determine which program near them is best for their needs. The team at My Recovery has researched rehabs nationwide and can provide details about each program’s unique treatment models to help you narrow your search to the best alcohol rehab near you. When you decide to seek addiction rehab, you have the first difficult step toward sobriety and a life without addiction. Let the team at My Recovery help you find the best alcohol rehab near you.