Alcoholism

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, about 18 million adult Americans are either alcoholics or abuse alcohol, meaning they engage in drinking that results in distress and harm. The prevalence of alcohol abuse may be compounded by its social acceptance as a legal substance, easy accessibility and prominence in social events.

Alcohol abuse is often used as a form of self-medication in individuals with mental health disorders. A survey from SAMHSA indicated that of 20.2 million adults with a substance use disorder, 7.9 of them also suffered from a co-occurring mental health disorder. Effective alcohol treatment must address the biological, emotional and environmental factors that contribute to alcohol abuse as well as any underlying psychiatric issues such as depression, anxiety, trauma and personality disorders. Call 844-299-7326 to learn more.

Warning Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Symptoms of alcohol addiction can be physical or psychological in nature and depend on the individual’s makeup as well as the duration and quantities of alcohol abused. Common alcohol addiction symptoms are listed below.

  • Developing a tolerance to alcohol that requires increased quantities to feel intoxicated
  • Failed attempts to cut back on drinking alcohol or to quit using alcohol
  • Needing alcohol to feel “normal”
  • Having blackouts due to heavy alcohol consumption
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms in the absence of alcohol such as irritability, depression, loss of appetite, nausea, insomnia, shakiness and tremors
  • Financial or legal problems such as DUIs due to alcohol abuse
  • Compromised relationships because of alcohol abuse
  • Compromised work status or performance due to alcohol intake
  • Feeling unable to stop drinking once one begins
  • Putting oneself or others in danger when drinking
  • Drinking alone or hiding or lying about alcohol consumption

Individuals with alcohol addiction may experience one or several of these symptoms. The fifth edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines substance use disorders as severe, moderate or mild depending on the number of diagnostic criteria one meets. Professional addiction treatment can benefit those struggling with alcohol abuse at any of these levels. Speak Confidentially with a Promises New Jersey Recovery Advisor at 844-299-7326

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Abruptly stopping alcohol consumption for those who are physically dependent on the substance can result in a variety of mild to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms may begin within six to eight hours and could include:

  • Sweating
  • Convulsions
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Hypertension
  • Abnormal heart beat
  • Anxiety
  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

Typically, alcohol withdrawal symptoms are most severe between 10 to 30 hours into the process. The duration of alcohol withdrawal varies from person to person, but in some cases can last several days.

Alcohol Detox

For those with a serious dependence on alcohol, detoxification usually occurs in a two-phase process. The first phase may take place over a few days and this is the period in which some of the more life-threatening alcohol withdrawal symptoms can occur. The second phase lasts longer, possibly months, as the brain begins to resume normal functioning and slowly regulate itself from the damage long-term alcohol abuse can bring. Less severe withdrawal symptoms may linger during this time.

Professional detox is important for those eliminating alcohol from their systems. Evidence-based medications can be prescribed to help ease symptoms and medical staff can monitor and help prevent any life-threatening withdrawal situations. As detox from alcohol runs its course, medications such as acamprosate and naltrexone may be prescribed to ease discomfort. Any detox medications require the supervision of medical staff to ensure they are used safely and appropriately.

Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

Once individuals with alcohol use disorders are physically stable, they should receive professional alcoholism treatment. Alcohol addiction treatment helps people address the biological and emotional issues contributing to alcohol abuse as well as any co-occurring mental health disorders. Attending to these underlying issues and learning healthy coping skills are critical to preventing relapse. Call 844-299-7326 to learn more.

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