Alcohol Addiction Treatment

When it comes to alcohol addiction, the terms alcohol use disorder and alcoholism are often usually used interchangeably. But these terms do not refer to the same things.

Someone with an alcohol use disorder is abusing alcohol, with either a developing or moderate addiction to it.

Alcoholism, on the other hand, is a type of alcohol use disorder and is considered the most severe. It means that a person cannot stop drinking even though it is causing issues with their physical, personal, and professional lives. You do not have to be an alcoholic to have an alcohol use disorder – or to experience the negative effects of alcohol abuse.

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Understanding Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction is considered a chronic disease because of the way that alcohol abuse changes your brain. When you drink alcohol, it makes your brain release a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for making you feel happy and relaxed, and it is released in small amounts when you do things like spend time with loved ones, exercise, or do other things you enjoy. Alcohol makes your brain release dopamine faster and in larger quantities than usual. The more you drink, the more dopamine your brain releases. If you continue to abuse alcohol, your brain will become dependent on alcohol to release dopamine at all. You will notice that you no longer enjoy doing things that once made you feel happy.

 

What are the Signs of Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction can be hard to recognize. Some people are particularly good at hiding their addiction, and some people are reluctant to admit that they have a problem. But there are questions that you can ask yourself to try and gauge if you are addicted to alcohol. These include:

  • Do you end up drinking more than you meant to, or for a longer period?
  • Have you tried to stop drinking before, but could not?
  • Do you spend a lot of your time drinking or recovering from hangovers?
  • Does your urge to drink make it difficult for you to concentrate on anything else?
  • Does your drinking make you miss days at work or school, or is it causing problems in your relationships?
  • Have you given up things you used to enjoy doing so that you can drink instead?
  • Have you ever driven while under the influence?
  • Do you keep drinking even though it makes you feel depressed?
  • Is your drinking causing problems with your physical health?
  • Do you have withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking? This can include shakiness, anxiety, depression, nausea, sweating, or insomnia,
  • Do you have to drink more alcohol than you used to feel intoxicated?

If you answered yes to more than just one or two of these questions, there is a good chance that you are suffering from an alcohol addiction.

Understanding the Types of Alcoholic Abusers

Alcohol addiction is prevalent amongst all races, classes, ages, and other demographics. People that are addicted to alcohol have been divided into five distinct groups:

  • Young adult subtype

This subtype begins showing impulsive behaviors when they are around 20 years old. They typically do not drink every day, and instead binge drink two or more times per week. For many people, this behavior begins in college. This is the most common type of alcohol abuser in the United States today.

  • Young antisocial subtype

This subtype begins drinking at young age, usually at around 15 years old. They have antisocial personality disorder, and this makes them impulsive and uncaring about the physical dangers of alcohol.

  • Functional subtype

The functional subtype is usually educated with higher income levels. They tend to have more stable personal relationships than other types of alcoholics. Functional alcoholics are binge drinkers who consume alcohol at least every other day. Most functional subtypes begin drinking to cope with the stress of their demanding jobs.

  • Intermediate familial subtype

This subtype typically has at least one close family member who either had or has a drinking issue. Intermediate familial subtypes usually begin drinking when they are about 17 years old to cope with family stress that arises from their family member’s alcohol addiction.

  • Chronic severe subtype

This subtype has the most severe symptoms and issues. Most chronic severe alcoholics are men, and have a high rate of divorce because of their alcohol abuse. They also have a high rate of abusing other drugs, most commonly cocaine or marijuana, along with alcohol.

How Alcohol Addiction is Treated

Alcohol addiction treatment involves more than the well-documented 12-step programs or 28 days of inpatient rehab. Thanks to many advancements in addiction treatment made over the last few decades, there are many different treatment options available. Some of the most common are detoxification, counseling, behavioral therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and mutual support groups. Ultimately, there is no one-method-fits-all treatment for an alcohol addiction. What works for one person may not work for another, so it is important to find a facility that offers a range of treatment options so that your individual needs can be assessed and met in the most effective way.

What to Expect During Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Initially, patients will undergo a complete diagnostic assessment that will result in a personalized treatment plan. The results will be used to decide the type, level, as well as intensity of services the patient will receive. For the most serious addictions, the first step is detox, the process of ridding the alcohol out of your system. Because you can experience withdrawal symptoms, many facilities offer a medical detox program. This combination of emotional and medical support helps to make withdrawal symptoms less noticeable so that you are more comfortable.

Once you are finished detoxing, you will move on to a therapy program. There are three main therapy options that work best for alcohol rehab: cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, and family counseling.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps you understand and acknowledge the thoughts and behaviors that lead to your drinking. It also teaches you healthy ways to manage stress and to avoid or deal with things that trigger you to drink.

Motivational enhancement therapy helps you build positive motivations that help you avoid alcohol.

Family counseling focuses on helping to repair any family relationships that have been damaged by your alcoholism.

These sessions take place with your family members and can include your spouse, children, parents, or other family members. Being able to build a stronger family system helps both your family heal from any emotional damage as well as increase your chances of staying sober.

Why is it Important to Detox in a Medically-Supervised Facility?

Detoxing from alcohol can be a long and unpleasant experience, especially if your addiction is severe as some withdrawal symptoms can lead to hallucinations, seizures, and other life-threatening issues. At a medically supervised facility, you can get treatment immediately if there is an emergency.

The biggest reason to not try quitting alcohol on your own is that it does not address the core issues of your drinking problem. You will not receive the specialized care needed to help you learn why you have a drinking problem or the tools you need to help you stay sober. The best way to detox from alcohol is at a facility that can address all of the issues that contribute to your addiction so that you can stop drinking for good and get on the path to a happy, healthy life.

When you’re ready, call Find Addiction Rehabs. We’re here to ensure that you can enter recovery the moment you’re ready. We work with the top alcohol rehab centers to get you placed as soon as today! Don’t delay your recovery. Call now and we’ll get you started on the road to recovery.

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