Alcohol addiction is an illness that affects millions of people around the world, yet the vast majority are oblivious to the fact that they have a problem. Family members and friends are often the first to spot the signs of addiction and may broach the subject with the individual rather tentatively. It is common for affected individuals to become aggressive or defensive when it is suggested that they might have an alcohol problem is raised. Most are unwilling to see themselves as addicts as this is an illness that is viewed in a very negative light.
Nevertheless, there is no blood test that can confirm or refute that there is an issue, so how is alcohol addiction diagnosed?
How Does Alcohol Addiction Occur?
It is hard to understand the fact that alcohol can be an addictive or dangerous substance, particularly because it is legal to buy and consume. After all, if it were so bad, it wouldn’t be so widely available or actively encouraged in modern society, right? Well, the reality is that alcohol can be extremely dangerous and highly addictive when it is abused. And unfortunately, many individuals are guilty of alcohol abuse without even realising.
But let’s say it how it is – most people are guilty of abusing alcohol every now and then. They go out and drink too much, more than their bodies can process, and as a result end up intoxicated and usually suffering the side effects the morning after. However, while doing this every once in a while does not constitute an alcohol problem, those who abuse alcohol regularly are in danger of developing a crippling addiction.
Alcohol addiction usually starts with an increased tolerance. This happens when the body gets used the presence of alcohol and adjusts some of its standard processes to compensate. As the body alters itself to the presence of alcohol, it produces fewer dopamine chemicals, which are also known as feel-good chemicals. So while a glass of wine might once have made a person feel merry or tipsy, after a while, he or she may notice that they are not getting the same effects from that one glass. The response may be to increase their consumption to two glasses of wine. Nonetheless, when their tolerance increases even further and they are at the stage where even the two glasses are not having the desired effect, the temptation to have another glass sets in. The affected person is now drinking a full bottle of wine to achieve the effects once achieved from one glass.
As the individual increases consumption levels, their body is continuing to adapt to the presence of alcohol; before long, it will begin to crave it. It will expect alcohol to arrive in regular doses and if this does not occur, the body will react by producing various withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, shaking, sweating, and mood swings.
Could You Have an Alcohol Addiction?
As previously mentioned, it is not possible to diagnose an alcohol addiction with a simple blood test or physical examination. However, a doctor or expert in the field of addiction can usually tell from a person’s substance use and his or her behaviour. With a series of careful questions, it is possible to tell if a person’s alcohol consumption is no longer under his or her control.
The best way to tell if you have an alcohol addiction is to ask yourself a series of questions and be completely honest with the answers. Below are a few examples:
- Are you consuming more alcohol now than before to achieve the feelings you desire?
- Do you regularly get drunk despite telling yourself you are only going to have one or two drinks?
- Do you find that once you start drinking you are unable to stop?
- Do you get agitated when everyone else has finished drinking for the night but you want to carry on?
- Do you look for activities or events where alcohol will be present?
- Do you avoid non-alcoholic events with friends and family members?
- Do you take unnecessary risks while under the influence of alcohol?
- Do you try to hide your alcohol consumption from your loved ones?
- Do you feel guilty or ashamed when you drink?
- Do you wake up with little or no memory of what you did the night before?
- Have your loved ones expressed worry or concern about your drinking?
If you have answered yes to a couple or more of the above questions, there is a distinct possibility that you are losing or have lost the ability to control your alcohol consumption. It is time to get help – and get help fast. Even if you are not yet in the throes of addiction, you are certainly heading in that direction if you continue to drink as you have been doing.
Why You Need to Get Help for Addiction?
It is often easier to ignore a problem than to face up to it. Many of those with alcohol addiction hope that if they ignore it, it will simply go away. This rarely happens. For most, an alcohol addiction is not something to be ignored. It will not get better if nothing is done about it; in fact, it will only get worse.
Your health will deteriorate and you will be in danger of losing everything that you hold dear. This includes, your family members, friends, job, home, and wealth. Alcohol affects almost every single cell in the body, and as such it results in various mental and physical health problems. Long term problems associated with alcohol abuse and addiction include heart disease, liver damage, kidney disease, cancer, chronic depression, anxiety disorder, and dementia.
If you want to reduce your risk, then you need to get help for addiction right now. Doing nothing could end up being a matter of life and death for you. Alcohol abuse is a leading contributor to premature death here in the UK. In fact, it is third only to smoking and obesity.
If you want to rescue your health and relationships with those you love, commit to getting help today.
Where to Get Help for Alcohol Addiction?
An alcohol addiction is an illness that cannot be cured, but it can be treated and managed. Those who commit to a programme of recovery can look forward to a substance-free life going forward. With the right help and support, they can quit alcohol and will learn valuable skills to help them integrate back into society and avoid a relapse in the future.
Alcohol detox and rehabilitation are necessary for those who want to say goodbye to their days of substance abuse. Thankfully, there are plenty of options for those who want to quit alcohol for good. As well as programmes provided by the NHS, there are excellent programmes provided by charities, local support groups and private clinics.
For most, a detox in a supervised facility is the best way to tackle the physical side of the illness. Private clinics often provide both detox and rehabilitation in the one facility, which means continuity of care and a greater chance for a long-term successful recovery.
Private clinics also tend to be the main providers of inpatient rehabilitation programmes, which most experts agree are beneficial to those who want to get well quick. The intensive and scheduled programme of care is one that offers a time-consuming approach to recovery while the distraction-free environment forces addicts to focus on their recovery.
There are many other benefits to choosing a private clinic for your recovery programme. The ability to begin treatment within days of making an enquiry is one of the main advantages. Unlike programmes provided by many charities and the NHS, rehabilitation programmes offered by private clinics are usually accessible within twenty-four to forty-eight hours of initial enquiry, which means that addicts have little time to change their mind about treatment.
Private clinics tend to offer aftercare services as part of their programmes too. They know that the first twelve months after rehabilitation is a vulnerable time for recovering addicts and many will suffer a relapse. Nevertheless, with aftercare programmes, a relapse can usually be avoided.
If you would like information about alcohol addiction and how it is treated, call us today. We have been helping individuals to overcome all types of addiction for many years, now and our telephone advisors are fully trained to deal with all queries.
There is no need to delay any longer. We will never judge you or berate you for your situation; in fact, many of our advisors were once where you are now. They are living proof that with the right support network and the right programme, even the most severe addictions can be overcome.
We are here to help addicts and their family members, so if you are worried about a loved one, please do not hesitate to give us a call. We can provide helpful information on our programmes and can advise you about ways to encourage your loved one to accept they need treatment. Call today to see how we can help you.