Early Signs Of An Alcohol Problem
Despite what movies and television shows portray, its not always easy to tell if someone has a problem with drinking. A person with AUD might not hang out in a bar all day or fall down after theyve been drinking heavily. Some people seem fine and functional in their daily lives despite their alcohol addiction.
One of the early signs is a pattern of excessive drinking. This pattern includes both binge drinking and heavy drinking. Binge drinking is when someone drinks a large amount at one time. For men, its drinking five or more drinks within two hours. For women, it is having four or more drinks within two hours. Heavy drinking is 8 or more drinks a week for women and 15 or more drinks a week for men. Drinking excessively from time to time does not mean someone has an alcohol addiction but it does put them at a higher risk for developing it.
Other early signs include getting intoxicated frequently, blacking out when drinking, becoming violent or angry when drinking, or drinking in risky or dangerous situations, like driving or having unprotected sex.
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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Seeking Treatment For Alcohol Use Disorder
Depending on your specific goals and needs, there are many types of treatment programs and supportive resources available. Treatment may include:
Detox and withdrawal: Under medical supervision, your body can safely adjust to not drinking.
Medication-Assisted Treatment : Prescription drugs like Naltrexone and Vivitrol can reduce the urge to drink.
Counseling and therapy: Individual or group therapy sessions, or a combination of both, can help you manage your emotions in a private, judgment-free environment.
Support groups: These groups bring together individuals with AUD. Your fellow peers act as a support system for each other throughout recovery.
Treatment for other medical conditions: Medical services can manage and treat any of the short- and long-term health effects associated with AUD.
Treatment for mental or behavioral health needs: You can receive prescribed psychiatric medications for mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, that occur at the same time as AUD.
Even though AUD is a complex and challenging disorder, it is treatable and manageable. With a treatment plan, the brain and body can heal, while providing the support needed to regain control, improve the quality of your life, and recover.
If you or your loved one needs help with alcohol addiction, contact us today.
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How Can You Tell The Difference Between Being A Heavy Drinker And An Alcoholic
For men under the age of 65, heavy drinking is considered having two drinks a day or having more than fourteen drinks within one week.
For men over the age of 65 and women, heavy drinking is considered having more than one drink in a day or drinking more than seven drinks during the week.
On the other hand, binge drinking refers to drinking a lot of alcohol in a short period of time during a day:
For men, it is considered binge drinking if they drink five or more drinks within a two-hour period.
For women, it is considered binge drinking to drink four or more drinks within a two-hour period.
People who are heavy drinkers and people who are binge drinkers might suffer from alcohol use disorder, but not necessarily.
One way to understand the difference between excessive drinkers and alcoholics is what happens when they stop drinking. For people who drink excessively, stopping drinking will likely improve their lives. Without the consequences of alcohol, they feel healthier, have more energy, get better sleep, and more.
For someone who has alcohol use disorder, though, stopping drinking isnt easy. Even if they do stop for a while after recognizing that it is a destructive habit, relapsing and falling back into it is sadly always possible.
For someone with alcohol use disorder, a relationship has developed between them and alcohol that makes not drinking a constant battle. They are emotionally, psychologically, and perhaps even physically dependent on it.
What You Can Do If You Think You Are An Alcoholic
In the UK you can seek help for an alcohol addiction through the National Health Service. To do this, you should first visit your GP. Your GP will outline a strategy which will help you to cut down and ultimately stop drinking. This will likely involve being seen as an outpatient before they transition you into outpatient treatment at a private rehab clinic.
However you choose to go about, you should seek help for alcoholism. The sooner you do it, the easier it will be to quit drinking and get back on track. The longer you leave your alcohol addiction, the harder it is to overcome.
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Physical Signs Of An Alcohol Problem
Excessive drinking and alcohol addiction also has a range of physical side effects, including:
The smell of alcohol on the breath that lingers for hours after heavy drinking
Weight loss from drinking instead of eating
Dry skin, brittle hair and nails, and an increased appearance of aging and wrinkles
Broken capillaries on face and nose
Yellow eyes and skin due to liver damage
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How To Stop Drinking Alcohol If You Think Youre Addicted
Addiction is a real disease with serious consequences, including mental and physical health problems, legal difficulties and relationship problems. Alcohol addiction is by far the most common addictive disorder. If you are questioning your alcohol consumption, understanding how to stop drinking alcohol is an important aspect of learning how to address the problem. Quitting or moderating drinking means changing habits, relying on friends and family for support, joining support groups and getting professional help if needed.
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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.
The History Of The Alcoholism Research
Alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction are not new conditions. People who struggle to control their consumption have likely existed for as long as alcohol has been around. The public understanding of alcohol addiction, however, is a newer concept. Knowledge surrounding the causes of alcoholism was still scarce until the mid-1900s.
Little research on alcohol and alcohol addiction existed in the early 1900s. There were plenty of people who couldnt control their drinking but doctors couldnt explain why at the time. The disease concept of alcoholism hadnt yet been introduced. Many thought that drinking problems were the result of weak willpower or a lack of self-control.
The field of alcohol science progressed further after Prohibition was repealed in the 1930s. Researchers conducted more studies to help them learn and understand why, regardless of the consequences, some people cannot control or stop drinking. This new phase of research laid the groundwork for how we understand alcohol addiction today.
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Physical And Mental Changes
Alcohol addiction can also cause physical and mental changes. For example, you may notice that youre shaking or sweating when youre not drinking. You may also start to feel nauseous or dizzy. These physical changes can be a sign that your body is struggling to cope with the alcohol abuse.
You may also notice changes in your mental health. For example, you may start to feel anxious or depressed. You may also start to experience blackouts, or periods of time where you cant remember what happened. These mental health changes can be a sign that your addiction is starting to take a toll on your life.
Youve Become Secretive About Your Drinking
Secrecy is a major warning sign of over drinking. If youve ever found yourself lying or covering up your alcohol intake when youre around friends and family, you probably know yourself that youve been drinking too much. This could be in words but also actions. For example, you may hide bottle and cans of alcohol in the hope your loved ones dont discover them.
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Whats The Difference Between Casual Drinking And Alcohol Abuse
Lets start with casual drinking. Unless you have religious or personal restrictions, a few drinks with friends or a glass of wine with dinner is usually not an issue. The problem starts, though, when you begin abusing the substance.
Many people use the terms alcohol abuse and alcoholism interchangeably. However, alcoholism refers to alcohol addiction or dependence, where the individual has a physical or psychological compulsion to drink alcohol. Alcohol abuse refers to a pattern of behavior where a person drinks excessively in spite of the negative consequences.
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Get Help For Alcohol Addiction Today
Based on your answers to these questions, which are based closely on the official diagnostic manual used by psychologists to diagnose alcoholism, you can assess your relationship with drinking. Less than two yess indicates a mild problem, but anything more than that means your relationship with alcohol is dangerous and problematic. You might be addicted to alcohol. If thats the case, it is okay, your situation is not permanent and can be repaired. There are many resources available for you, including our experts on addiction and recovery here at Breath Life Healing Centers. Please dont hesitate to reach out for help, drinking does not have to ruin your life.
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Treatment For Alcohol Use Disorder
Drugs and alcohol cause changes in the brain that can make the process of quitting extremely complex. Addiction is also caused by factors such as genetics, environmental influences and developmental factors .
Which is why a severe case of alcohol use disorder may require specialized care. Cutting off alcohol in those with long-term or chronic consumption could lead to withdrawal and be fatal.
Individuals who are drinking at a level where its not safe to stop on their own need a medically supervised detox, says Fernandez. Ideally, the next step is appropriate treatment, such as an intensive outpatient program.
Other treatment options include counseling and 12-step support groups. At U-Ms addiction treatment center, an offering known as the Discovery Group targets people who may or may not feel they have a substance use problem and are unsure whether they want to change.
Some patients may need a prescription medication that helps reduce alcohol dependence.
Helpful, too, are newer approaches: Cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness strategies for addiction have scientific backing and are entering into the treatment setting pretty rapidly, Fernandez says.
Other Stimulant Dependence With Withdrawal
Drugs and alcohol interact with each other in ways that make the effects stronger and reinforce dependence. Researchers theorize that alcohol withdrawal permanently alters the brain in a way that heightens seizure risk. This phase of recovery is one of the most difficult, with a high chance of relapse and other health concerns. The treatment for alcohol withdrawal involves supportive care and medications.
Diazepam was previously used for prophylaxis and treatment of eclamptic convulsions, but it proved less effective than magnesium alcohol withdrawal seizure sulfate. Pregnancy may unmask a preexisting potential for chorea , and benzodiazepines may aid chorea control.
His daily insulin dose was reduced from more than 300104U/day and he was given hydrocortisone and levothyroxine replacement therapy, together with lanreotide injections. Three months later, the clonazepam was withdrawn abruptly and he developed hypoglycemic coma. Ketoconazole, itraconazole, fluvoxamine, and other cytochrome P450-3A4 inhibitors may significantly raise levels of alprazolam. Physicians are encouraged to register patients before fetal outcome is known into the Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry. We are experiencing higher than usual call volumes and apologize for any delays you may experience.
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When Does Drinking Become A Problem
For most adults, moderate alcohol use no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women and older people is relatively harmless. (A drink means 1.5 ounces of spirits, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer, all of which contain 0.5 ounces of alcohol.
Moderate use, however, lies at one end of a range that moves through alcohol abuse to alcohol dependence:
Alcohol abuse is a drinking pattern that results in significant and recurrent adverse consequences. Alcohol abusers may fail to fulfill major school, work, or family obligations. They may have drinking-related legal problems, such as repeated arrests for driving while intoxicated. They may have relationship problems related to their drinking.
People with alcoholism technically known as alcohol dependence have lost reliable control of their alcohol use. It doesnt matter what kind of alcohol someone drinks or even how much: Alcohol-dependent people are often unable to stop drinking once they start. Alcohol dependence is characterized by tolerance and withdrawal symptoms if drinking is suddenly stopped. Withdrawal symptoms may include nausea, sweating, restlessness, irritability, tremors, hallucinations and convulsions.
Although severe alcohol problems get the most public attention, even mild to moderate problems cause substantial damage to individuals, their families and the community.
Drinking To Feel Normal
In order to combat withdrawal symptoms, many people will feel as if they need to drink to feel normal. Signs of this can include drinking alone, during work hours, before major events or places where no one else is drinking. If your drinking a necessity to feel normal or having a need to have drinks throughout the day to maintain the feeling of normality, this is a clear sign of alcohol addiction.
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What Are The Costs If I Do Not Stop Drinking Alcohol
Addiction to alcohol may be a serious and real disease, but it is also treatable and manageable. You can learn to stop or to lessen your drinking with support and with professional treatment.
Even if you dont think you have an addiction yet, if your alcohol consumption has become problematic and is negatively affecting any domain of your life, consider taking steps to stop or change your habits. The consequences of not quitting drinking, or at least decreasing alcohol intake, can be very serious.
The complications of alcoholism are varied and far-reaching. For instance, excessive drinking negatively affects your physical health. Alcoholism can lead to liver disease, heart problems, sexual dysfunction, digestive system dysfunction, bone damage, eye problems and even an increased risk of cancer. Heavy drinking also puts you at risk of accidents, which can cause injuries or deaths. Though fortunately these numbers have declined in recent years, in 2018 there were 10,511 alcohol-related fatal motor vehicle accidents in the United States.
By continuing to drink too much you may also experience negative impacts to your mental and social well-being. Drinking can cause rifts in important relationships. It may also lead you to isolate yourself in order to drink more. Alcoholism is often comorbid with mental health conditions like depression and anxiety disorders. By continuing to drink you put yourself at a greater risk of experiencing mental health symptoms.
Take Our Am I An Alcoholic Self
Take our free, 5-minute Am I an Alcoholic? self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with an alcohol use disorder . The evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of an AUD. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result.
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