Alcoholic beverages have long since harbored a double-edged sword effect across the US. For many, it can be a relaxing way to unwind after a long day at work. For others it becomes a spiraling addiction to its effects, eventually causing a disintegration of their dignity, self-control, and personal lives. Within the bustling crowds waiting to get into the bar is a staggering set of numbers: about 17 million men and women suffer from an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).
Despite the negative effects of coping with an AUD, treatment programs can help you address and resolve even the most debilitating cases of alcoholism. Before seeing a treatment specialist, make sure to take the steps to ascertain the severity of the AUD and understand when to seek professional help.
Besides binge drinking, known as the act of consuming enough alcohol to become intoxicated in two hours, there are other signs of AUD to be aware of.
- Consuming alcoholic drinks while driving
- Drinking alcohol consistently throughout the day
- Drinking copious amounts of alcohol to deliberately dull the senses
- Consuming large quantities of alcohol exclusively in social situations
Recognize when Symptoms have Gotten out of Control
When confronting your or someone else’s AUD symptoms, it’s vital to also recognize which signs demonstrate sporadic excessive drinking and which ones reveal a pattern of addition. Keep in mind that studies have even shown excessive drinking to be capable of altering electrical brainwaves, deteriorating the amount of control one has over their self-regulation with drinking. This can lead to dangerous consequences if left unchecked, so begin considering professional guidance if:
- The tolerance level to alcohol has risen dramatically in conjunction with increased drinking
- You experience withdrawal symptoms after attempting to quit drinking
- You attempt to quit drinking, but feel a compelling urge to continue that defies your willpower
- Crucial life activities, like your job, family, or hobbies, begin to shrink in comparison to how much time and money is devoted to alcohol
- The abuse of alcohol begins leading to arrests, hospitalizations, domestic disputes, being fired, loss of custody for children, or car wrecks
Dealing with Withdrawal
When it comes time to confront the possibility of an AUD, there are various options available for treatment. For example, certain programs may offer potential patients an in-house, daily, or around the clock treatment. Meanwhile, other facilities can allow you to stay at home, working on an addiction recovery program surrounded by the comforts of your home and loved ones.
When undergoing withdrawal treatment, you may have to begin with a medical detoxification procedure lasting anywhere from a day to over a week. Not every incoming patient will need a detox, but those that do will typically meet these criteria:
- Experiencing drastic physical pain
- Health would be at an immediate risk due to withdrawal symptoms
- Anticipated to be experiencing a great deal of discomfort while experiencing withdrawals
Once you have chosen a treatment location that’s right for you, there are numerous medical options to help begin transitioning away from any negative dependency on alcohol.
- Behavioral Treatments– Therapeutic treatment with counselors and psychologists like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
- Medications– There are currently three medications approved by the FDA to assist you in recovering from alcohol addiction, and each one plays a specific role in helping your body recover. Naltrexone aids in reducing the urge to binge drink, Acamprosate helps users maintain their sobriety once they’ve quite drinking, and Disulfiram eliminates the breakdown of alcohol in the body.
- Recovery Meetings– Recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, SMART Recovery, and All Recovery have regular meetings.