Alcohol Addiction

How old were you when you had your first taste of alcohol? For many of us, it was somewhere in our teenage years. In the years that followed, we were able to control our alcohol consumption so it did not get out of hand. However, not everyone can do that. Some eventually progress to alcohol abuse and eventual addiction.alcohol-affects-body

If you are struggling with alcohol to any extent, we urge you to get in touch with us. Unchecked alcohol abuse often leads to alcohol addiction (alcoholism), a condition that destroys both the alcoholic and everyone around him or her.

We can help you right now if you are in the midst of an alcohol abuse problem. When you call our addiction helpline, one of our caring and trained counsellors will help determine the extent of your problem. Then we will advise you as to the best place to seek treatment in Essex or England as a whole.

Three Different Problems of Alcohol Addiction

It is important to note that alcohol issues are not all clinically classified as addiction. In fact, three levels of alcohol use warrant getting help:

  1. Recreational Use – The recreational use of alcohol involves consuming moderate amounts on a regular basis as part of some other recreational activity. For example, you may be a football fan who attends local games every weekend. If you drink along with it, you are probably a recreational user. Recreational use is not necessarily a problem, but it can become one if you are not careful to moderate your behaviour.

  1. Alcohol Abuse – A diagnosis of alcohol abuse is tricky due to its definition. Clinically speaking, abuse is a scenario in which a person drinks in excess more often than he or she should. A good example would be a binge drinker who spends several days getting drunk, on multiple occasions in a given month. If you are spending every weekend in a drunken stupor, you may be an alcohol abuser.

  1. Alcohol Addiction – If you are an alcohol addict (alcoholic), the daily consumption of alcohol virtually controls your life. Everything you do is centred on drinking or ensuring you have enough alcohol to last you throughout the day. It is a condition that can lead to very serious physical, psychological, and financial problems.

Alcohol Addiction: Signs and Symptoms

We urge anyone who thinks he or she might have an alcohol problem to contact professional help right away. If you are not sure, we can help by providing you a list of signs and symptoms you can look for in your own life. Please understand these signs and symptoms do not provide a concrete diagnosis. They are merely a starting point that might suggest you need help.

The signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse include:

  • frequent binge drinking

  • drinking to escape one’s problems

  • drinking to make social interaction easier

  • ignoring daily responsibilities in order to drink

  • drinking purposely to become intoxicated.

The signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction include:

  • drinking first thing in the morning and as the last thing at night

  • constantly worrying about having enough alcohol in the house

  • planning your daily routine and social activities around drinking

  • frequent warnings from friends and family about your drinking habits

  • lying to others about how often you drink

  • experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you have gone too long without alcohol.

As we mentioned previously, alcohol abuse often leads to addiction if it is not properly treated. If you believe you might be an abuser, it is nothing to ignore. You could eventually develop an addiction without even knowing it is happening to you.

If you notice any of the symptoms of alcoholism in your own life, it is cause for serious concern. Do not assume that your drinking habits are just a phase destined to pass away on their own. If you are addicted, it is unlikely you will recover without professional help.

Treatment for Alcohol Addiction and Abuse

woman-suffering-from-alcohol-addictionThe treatment options available for alcohol addiction differ slightly depending on the diagnosis. We will begin with an abusive scenario.

Alcohol abusers rarely need detox or residential treatment. Instead, they can see a GP to receive prescription medication that will help reduce alcohol cravings. In the meantime, they can also access support services through groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. These support services can assist them in overcoming the urge to drink.

Be advised that if you are an abuser who chooses this strategy, you cannot continue drinking while taking prescription medication. If you do, you will render it useless. The medication will no longer work to reduce your cravings, now or in the future.

For someone diagnosed as an alcohol addict, the treatment can take one of two forms: outpatient or inpatient. Outpatient treatment includes medicated detox and community-based services similar to what we described above. The combination of medicated detox and support is a good option for those who have not been alcoholics for a long time.

The chronic alcoholic is likely to require inpatient treatment at a private clinic. Inpatient treatment includes medicated detox along with 4 to 12 weeks of rehabilitative therapy. We always recommend residential treatment as the best option for people who have an alcohol problem for quite a while. Residential treatment provides the best chances of long-term success.

Here is what you need to know about residential treatment:

  • Detox – In order to fully recover you must abstain from drinking so your body can cleanse itself. This is known as detox. Most of the clinics we work with offer medicated detox that is medically supervised at all times.

  • Rehab – In the weeks following detox, the recovery alcoholic undergoes numerous psychotherapeutic treatments classified as rehab. These treatments are designed to teach him or her what triggers their behaviour, how to deal with those triggers, and how to live a life free from alcohol.

  • Aftercare – In order to avoid relapse, a series of aftercare and ongoing support services is utilised. Statistics show that recovering alcoholics who receive proper aftercare are significantly less likely to relapse. Aftercare includes group support, counselling, etc.

Do you need help? If so, call us.