Do You Need Alcohol Rehab? Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
An estimated 14.4 million American adults over 18 have an alcohol use disorder. That number breaks down into 9.2 million men and 5.3 million women.
That’s the bad news. The good news is alcohol disorders are treatable through professional alcohol rehab programs.
But in order to receive the right treatment, people must be aware of the signs of alcohol addiction in themselves or a loved one.
Let’s review what alcohol addiction is and the warning signs that it’s time to seek treatment.
Understanding Alcohol Addiction
Moderate drinking is when women have one drink a day, and men indulge in up to two drinks. Binge drinking includes five or more drinks on the same day. Heavy drinking is when a person frequently consumes five or more drinks on the same day.
Alcohol disorders focus on people who binge drink or engage in frequent heavy drinking. There are two types of alcohol abuse disorders: alcohol addiction and alcohol dependence.
Dependence occurs when a person experiences physical alcohol dependence. A person may experience severe physical symptoms when they do not indulge in alcoholic beverages.
Addiction is when a mind-altering substance induces biochemical changes in the brain. An alcohol addict’s brain becomes dependent on alcohol to function.
Alcohol dependence creates a physical need for alcohol. Alcohol addiction creates a physical and mental reliance on the substance.
Alcohol addiction is a deadly disorder. On average, six people die every day due to the overconsumption of alcohol.
Alcohol Addiction Warning Signs
The first step to overcoming an alcohol disorder is identifying the warning signs of alcohol abuse. There are specific lifestyle, physical, and behavioral changes that occur as a result of alcohol addiction.
A person suffering from alcohol addiction will frequently be intoxicated. They will often be seen drinking at all hours of the day, including when they first get out of bed.
An addict will have no trouble drinking alone or needing an excuse to indulge in a libation. He or she will often binge drink to the point of blacking out.
A person living with an alcohol problem will attempt to hide their disorder. They may sneak drinks or secretly add alcohol to non-alcoholic beverages.
Addicts experience mental and physical reliance on alcohol. Therefore, they often develop a preoccupation with drinking.
A person will suggest activities that revolve around alcohol (such as visiting breweries, wineries, or bar hopping). The person may often bring alcohol into conversations and speak highly of the substance.
It’s not uncommon for an alcoholic to show up to a social gathering already intoxicated, even if alcohol is being served at the event.
As an alcohol addiction develops, the person’s work and personal life will start to suffer. Professionally, there is a correlation between alcohol addiction and unemployment. Many addicts cannot sustain careers due to their frequent need for intoxication.
Personally, many addicts lose touch with friends and family as a result of their drinking. A 2014 study from the University of Michigan found that nearly half of the 17,000 participants with alcoholism went through a divorce at some point in their lives.
As a person becomes more focused on alcohol, their physical appearance will diminish.
Alcoholics typically suffer a decline in proper hygiene. They may gain or lose a significant amount of weight, forget to shower or shave, and often look unkempt.
Alcohol takes its toll on a person’s physical health. Alcoholism is linked to over 200 diseases, including:
- Anxiety disorders
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Cancer (including breast, ovarian, and prostate)
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
An addict may show symptoms of various diseases as their health declines. An addict will often feel under the weather, lethargic, or anxious.
Mentally, an addict relies on alcoholic beverages to alter their mood. The person finds it difficult to think without the substance. As the alcohol alters the person’s chemical reactions in the brain, an addict will display changes in his or her behaviors.
People suffering from alcohol disorders often become impatient. They display low self-esteem and get defensive about their actions.
A person may be wary of opening up and be secretive about what they do behind closed doors. Addicts tend to isolate themselves from others, which can lead to falling out with friends and family members.
It’s also common for an addict to engage in physical harm and lewd behavior as a result of their drinking. He or she may exhibit intense anger or act rashly.
Addicts often develop sexually promiscuous behaviors. They may sleep with multiple partners without using proper protection.
What Happens During Alcohol Treatment
Alcohol treatments can feel overwhelming, which is why only one in three people with alcohol abuse seek professional help.
But while the addiction recovery process may be difficult at times, it’s the most effective way to restore health and overcome alcohol disorders.
Addiction recovery starts the moment a patient checks into a rehabilitation center.
The person must answer detailed questionnaires about their lifestyle, alcohol usage, family history, and any underlying physical or mental disorders. This information is critical, as facilities use it to generate a personalized addiction recovery plan.
Once a patient checks in, alcohol detoxing, behavioral therapy, and group counseling are commonly used to help people understand and overcome their addiction.
The first step in an alcohol treatment program is the hardest. It involves cutting alcohol out, which leads to withdrawal symptoms.
Alcohol withdrawal creates physical and psychological symptoms, including:
- Irregular heartbeats
- Nausea and vomiting
- Mood swings
- Insomnia or night terrors
These symptoms can be severe, which is why it’s crucial to undergo alcohol withdrawal in the presence of professionals.
Alcohol treatment specialists guide patients through their withdrawal and help them get past this difficult stage of treatment. They may administer medications to ease symptoms and provide relief to patients.
Alcohol treatment centers use a variety of behavioral therapies to help patients overcome their mental dependence on alcohol. The therapies identify triggers and help people understand the motivation behind their drinking.
One of the most widely used behavioral therapies for alcohol addiction is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Patients try to understand why they behave a certain way in response to specific thought patterns. They learn how to stop addictive behaviors and replace them with positive ones.
Some patients have addictive tendencies as a result of past trauma. In these circumstances, trauma-focused CBT is used. This type of therapy helps patients recognize how past traumatic experiences affect their current behaviors.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) aims to create internally motivated changes in a patient. The therapist uses positive reinforcement tactics to motivate patients to stay sober.
Family Behavioral Therapy (FBT) involves the patient along with one or more significant others. The counseling session brings families together who may have been suffering due to an alcohol disorder. It helps families learn behavioral strategies and apply them in their home environments.
Group counseling is commonly used for people recovering from alcohol addiction. Alcoholics Anonymous is an example of an alcohol addiction group therapy.
Group counseling brings together people suffering from similar disorders. The group dynamic creates a support system, which empowers patients to tackle their addiction problems.
During group counseling, people share their personal experiences and trade advice for overcoming their addiction. It creates a safe space for new relationships to grow. Addicts assist other addicts in staying motivated throughout their recovery.
Signs It’s Time for Alcohol Rehab
Alcohol addiction calls for professional treatment programs.
Alcohol withdrawal creates physical problems that are difficult to work through without experts around. Alcohol rehab also uses behavioral therapies to teach addicts how to live without depending on alcohol.
If you or a loved one exhibits these behaviors, it’s time to seek addiction help from a professional treatment center:
- Relying on alcohol or making it the main focus of your life
- Physical health deterioration
- Showing symptoms of depression
- Needing excessive amounts of alcohol to feel intoxicated
- Having memory problems or experiencing blackout periods
- Falling out with friends, families, and loved ones due to behavioral problems
- Attempting, but failing, to quit alcohol
It can be difficult to admit you have a problem, but once you do, the road to recovery begins.
Alcoholics who do not seek professional help are more likely to relapse and live a shorter life. Alcoholism is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States, with an estimated 88,000 people dying from alcohol-related causes every year.
Jumpstart Your Road to Recovery
Alcohol addiction is a scary disorder that impacts many American adults. But with the right alcohol rehab treatment program, it’s possible to live a healthy and alcohol-free life.
Boca Recovery Center is committed to helping people overcome their addictions. Through our specialized therapies and detox programs, our team enables patients to put down the bottle once and for all.
If you’re looking for more information on our alcohol rehab program, contact us now. We can help you understand the treatment process and jumpstart your road to alcohol addiction recovery.