Getting Help For Addictions
Addiction is a treatable condition. Whatever the addiction, there are lots of ways you can seek help. You could see your GP for advice or contact an organisation that specialises in helping people with addictions.
You can use the following online directories to find addiction treatment services in your area:
Are You An Alcoholic 10 Warning Signs Of Addiction
Its hard to be objective when it comes to figuring out whether you or your loved one has a problem with drinking. Emotions run high, rationalizations and denials lead to confusion and it can seem hard to draw the line between whats acceptable and whats going too far. Although the boundaries are fuzzy, issues with drinking are either classed as problem drinking or alcohol dependence. Problem drinkers dont have a full-fledged addiction to alcohol, but their drinking may be starting to take its toll on their everyday lives and they are at greatly increased risk for becoming dependent later. So while some of the warning signs of alcoholism are technically signs of problem drinking, there is a lot of overlap, and identifying either one is cause for concern. Here are 10 of the most important things to look out for in yourself or your loved one:
What Does Addictive Behavior Look Like
As the above changes happen in the brain, what happens on the surface? How do you know when you, or someone you know, is developing addictive behaviors around alcohol?
Early warning signs include:
- Drinking more than you originally planned to
- Social activities that increasingly revolve around alcohol
- Using alcohol to relieve stress, or feeling drinking is necessary to have fun
- Drinking more and more frequently
- Consuming more than the daily recommended guidelines, or binge drinking
- Noticing its harder to recover from a night of drinking, or takes longer
A person who is already addicted will often also:
- Continue to drink despite harm to relationships, career, or health
- Frequently crave or seek out alcohol
- Feel anxious, irritable, or stressed when sober
- Drink compulsively, and be unable to stop once they start
- Experience alcohol withdrawal if they stop drinking
If you notice any of these signs, you may be concerned. But what can you do to improve the problem before it gets worse? How does one avoid addiction?
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Your Thoughts Are Focused On Alcohol
Are you always thinking about alcohol? Before going places, do you make sure alcohol is going to be available? If you have to go somewhere without alcohol, do you anxiously wait for the chance to drink?
If alcohol is taking over your thought patterns, you may be addicted. If youre constantly thinking about alcohol and where to get your next drink, its time to break the cycle and get help.
You’re Dropping The Ball On Life
Can you think of more than a few times when you came to work with a hangover, missed deadlines, or got behind on schoolwork because of your drinking? When your alcohol use, including being sick from drinking, often prevents you from keeping up with responsibilities at home, work, or school, it’s a problem.
Where Does Alcohol Addiction Start
The pathway to drug or alcohol addiction is complex, but involves at least two important areas in the brain. One is the reward center, which influences survival instincts like eating. The other is the prefrontal cortexin charge of decision-making and impulse control.
Like other addictive substances, alcohol increases dopamine in your reward center. This produces feelings of pleasure that tell your brain to repeat the behavior, and also creates memories that associate certain things with that behavior. This is one of the primary ways that habits form.
A healthy brain has checks and balances on this process. This is where the prefrontal cortex comes inessentially telling the brain it has had enough of a positive effect. But unfortunately, heavy drinking can wreak havoc on this area. This makes it harder to resist the urge to drink, leading to a vicious cycle.
In other words, regardless of genetics or personal intentions, its possible to develop unhealthy drinking habits that are reinforced by your brain chemistry. This is a major reason most experts now view addiction as a chronic disease, not a moral failing. And while some people may be more vulnerable than others, it can happen to anyone.
Questions To Ask Yourself
Here are some questions that people who work in the field of alcohol addiction often ask:
- Do you drink because you have problems or to relax?
- Do you prefer to drink alone, rather than with other people?
- Is your work or education suffering as a result of your drinking?
- Have you ever tried to stop drinking, or to drink less, and found that you cant?
- Do you drink in the morning, before school or work?
- Do you ever have loss of memory due to your drinking?
- Do you lie about how much or how often you drink?
- Do other people comment on your drinking and think its a problem?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, its important that you talk to someone about your drinking. Facing up to the fact that you might have a problem takes courage. Deciding to get some help is a really brave move, but it can be one of the best things youll ever do.
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Signs Of Prescription Drug Abuse
There are three main categories of prescription medications: depressants, stimulants, and painrelievers. As the Mayo Clinic discusses, the signs of abuse of prescription drugs vary depending on the specific medication or drug category. While the general signs of addiction described above provide some guidance, the following is a breakdown by drug category of signs of prescription drug abuse.
Depressants have some characteristic physical side effects. As benzodiazepines are included in this category and have been discussed above, some physical signs of depressant drug use include poor judgment, unsteady walking, and rapid involuntary eye movements.
Prescription stimulants include amphetamines and methylphenidate and are the most commonly abused drugs in this category. In addition to the behavioral and psychological signs of addiction described above, physical signs of prescription stimulant abuse include:
Families And The Genetic Warning Signs Of A Drinking Problem
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism explains that genes are responsible for nearly half your risk of alcoholism.1 If a parent, sibling or other family member struggles with alcohol abuse or addiction, take it as a warning sign.
Even when genes arent responsible, growing up around alcoholism puts you at risk.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration explains that when one member of a family drinks too much, others may ending up drinking too much as well. Drugs and alcohol can come to seem like a good way, or even the only way, to cope with the stress of the situation.2 However more alcohol use isnt the answer to any alcohol abuse situation. Treatment helps whole families begin to heal no matter their past or present.
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You Want To Stop But Can’t
Maybe you’ve been concerned enough that you’ve already thought about or actually tried to cut down on your drinking — and it didn’t happen. Alcohol masks unhappy emotions, so those feelings may come back when you quit drinking, making it harder to stick to your goal. If you try to abstain, but then obsess over alcohol or switch to another drug or behavior, that’s a red flag.
Patterns Of Drinking If You Are Dependent On Alcohol
Alcohol dependence affects different people in different ways.
If you are dependent on alcohol, you may drink:
- a lot of the time
- first thing in the morning
- every evening
- every day
You may stop drinking for many weeks or months. But when you start drinking again, you may lose control.
You may binge drink only at weekends or have periods of not drinking.
Talk to your GP or another healthcare provider if you are worried that you are becoming dependent on alcohol.
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Abuse Versus Dependence Versus Addiction
Alcohol dependence, abuse, and addiction arent the same thing. People who abuse alcohol will drink in excess, but they may not be physically dependent and may only have a few of the warning signs mentioned above. A person who is physically or psychologically dependent on alcohol may not yet be addicted. However, creating clear, distinct lines between these categories isnt necessary.
As The Atlantic explains, seeing problematic drinking as a spectrum, will allow people to recognize problems earlier and to seek solutions without having to be labeled as alcoholics.3
How Does The Brain Work In Addiction
The more you think about something, the more it becomes a part of your life. Your brain is always working, whether or not you are aware of it. When you think of an object or idea, your brain releases chemicals that make the same connections every time so that it can be retrieved quickly when needed.
Addiction works in surprisingly similar ways to these connections in your brain. Its not just a physical reaction to a drug but also an emotional connection with certain things, people, and places. So if someone is addicted to drugs, they may feel emotionally connected to their dealer even though what they are selling is harmful.
The brain is an interesting organ, especially when it comes to the science of addiction. And understanding how the brain works in relation to addiction can help people understand what they are dealing with.
Addiction is a complex condition that involves many factors, including stress, genetics, family history, and mental health problems. Its also one of the most problematic things for anyone to deal with. And its not just drug or alcohol abuse that is considered an addictioneating disorders, gambling, and shopping are all examples of addictive behaviors that can be hard to control.
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How Do You Know If You Are Addicted To Alcohol
Alcohol addiction can take a lot of different forms. Some people drink every day. Others binge drink and then stop for a few days. Typically, alcohol addiction begins slowly. People drink casually with friends or at parties. Then, they start relying on alcohol. Eventually, alcohol begins to take over multiple aspects of their life.
The line between casual drinking and alcohol abuse can be hard to see. While some people hit rock bottom, others are highly-functioning alcoholics, and their lives look successfully from the outside. In either situation, if alcohol is negatively affecting your life, you are likely abusing this drug.
If you are worried about your drinking, you should get help. Look at the signs and symptoms of alcoholism, and decide if they apply to you. If you no longer look forward to activities that dont involve drinking, you should get help now.
Answer Key Am I An Alcoholic Quiz
Mostly As Thats great! It seems as if you are either abstinent or have your drinking under control. Thats awesome, because then you dont have to worry about dealing with alcoholism! If you answered mostly As with a few Cs thrown in here and there, then make sure you are still taking precautions to safeguard yourself from developing a tolerance and starting down the road to alcohol abuse.
Mostly Bs You are on the thin line that separates someone from enjoying alcohol to abusing alcohol. Some of the behaviors that you are engaging in are heavy drinking or alcohol abusing behaviors. Watch your alcohol intake VERY carefully, and learn the warning signs of alcoholism. You dont want to look back one day and realize you stepped over the line and become an alcoholic or a high-functioning alcoholic.
Mostly Cs The best suggestion would be to sit down and really assess how much alcohol means to you. Talk with someone you trust about your behaviors and perhaps seek the help and advisement of a professional. The actions of someone who chooses mostly C are those of someone with an Alcohol Use Disorder. If this is indeed the case , you will want to address this issue before it does more harm to you, your family, your health, and your life.
Drinking Has Caused Problems In Their Life
They may have lost a job over missing work due to their drinking habits. Or they may have had trouble with the law while drinking. Some people whose drinking has caused them problems, or who have simply embarrassed themselves while intoxicated, will simply swear off and never drink again. But an alcoholic continues to drink in spite of continued problems.
They Drink To Relieve Stress
They drink when they’re happy and when they’re mad. They drink when they are celebrating and when they’re depressed. They use alcohol to cope with life, whether life brings ups or downs. Alcohol is a crutch. They rely on alcohol to deal with their emotions. Alcohol simply means more to them than it does to other people.
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Stats About Alcohol Addiction In Massachusetts
Alcohol addiction can affect anyone. People of all races, genders, education levels, and professional status seek help for alcohol addiction. In Massachusetts, about 1/3 of people who enter treatment for alcohol addiction are women, and the other 2/3 are men.
In Massachusetts, 18.2% of residents report that they drink chronically or have binge drank in the last 30 days. Bring drink is having 4 or more drinks for a woman or 5 or more drinks for a man in one sitting. Chronic drinking refers to 8 or more drinks per week for women or 15 or more drinks per week for men.
Compared to the rest of the country, Massachusetts has one of the highest rates of fatal auto accidents caused by alcohol. Close to 15% of fatal accidents in Massachusetts involve alcohol.
Massachusetts also has the highest rate of underage drinking in the country. About 29% of Massachusetts residents between ages 12 and 20 drink alcohol. The next highest states only have a rate of 25%. Additionally, over 19% of minors binge drink.
Alcohol addiction is surprisingly prevalent.
Crime And Deviant Behavior
- Have you ever manipulated a doctor to attain prescription drugs?
- Have you ever used substances without knowing what they were or what they would do to you?
- Have you ever stolen substances or stolen something to pay for substances?
- Have you acted erratically or felt not in control of your actions?
Addiction often drives reasonable individuals to uncharacteristic behavior and, in many cases, even crime. Faking a health condition to obtain prescription drugs, stealing from friends or family, and taking unknown substances are common among individuals struggling with addiction. If you find yourself acting out of character, committing crimes or doing things that hurt loved ones to satisfy your substance use habits, you likely have an addiction.
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Behavioral Signs Of Alcohol Abuse
As the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence explains, the behavioral signs of an alcohol use disorder will usually be apparent. People who experience alcohol abuse may become increasingly secretive about their activities because they may not want to hear peoples concerns or get advice to stop. The individual may also drink in secret, either in a private place or out in public but away from concerned friends and family.
As a result of drinking, people may become more prone to accidents and show signs of injury, which they may try to cover up. An individual who is experiencing an alcohol use disorder may also hide alcohol around the house or at work. A person may become fearful of running out of alcohol, which in turn means that they keep a ready supply nearby.
Alcohol abuse can also lead people to show a diminished level of care for their hygiene and physical appearance. As alcohol abuse progresses, the individual may look increasingly as if they have not been showering, have stopped shaving, and are no longer washing or changing their clothes. Alcohol abuse often leads to problems in the persons relationships across the full spectrum of life. A person who has a rather calm affect when sober may shift into moodiness, depression, or irritability when intoxicated.
How Can I Tell If Im Addicted To Alcohol
Worried that you might drink too much and that you might be an alcoholic? Here are some things to think about:
1. Have you had a loved one or friend approach you with concern about how much you drink? When those closest to us reach out in good faith with concern about our well being, sometimes thats a good reason to review our behavior and reevaluate our actions.
2. Have you been having a hard time meeting your responsibilities? Are you missing work, forgetting to pay bills? Are your grades suffering? Sometimes addiction makes it difficult to tend to the most important details of our lives. If your drinking is getting in the way of every day responsibilities, its time to ask for help.
3. Are your relationships strained by your drinking habits? Have you lost friends or loved ones because of your behavior when youre drunk? Do you find that youre short tempered or more sensitive when it comes to your relationships than you used to be?
4. Do you feel panicked if you cant get a drink right away when you want one? If having to wait for a drink makes you feel panicked or anxious, its time to get help.
5. Have you felt so desperate for a drink that you have stolen alcohol or money to pay for alcohol? Sometimes addiction can make us do things we would never do otherwise. If you are making reckless decisions or your behavior is being affected by alcohol it is time to get help.
To get the best help possible in or around Boca Raton with medical detox, contact us today.
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