Across the United States and the rest of the world, alcohol is one of the foremost problem drugs. There are many reasons for this—alcohol is a vital part of many countries’ cultures, and its consumption is generally considered to be socially acceptable. But alcohol is also habit-forming, and given its legality in many areas, its misuse has become rampant.
One of the challenges in treating alcoholism is the many different ways of drinking which alcoholics have. For starters, there are binge drinkers—individuals who consume more than five drinks at a sitting, dangerously elevating their blood alcohol levels. Heavy drinkers often drink unsafe amounts of alcohol. Problem drinkers may not be heavy drinkers or binge drinkers, yet their drinking is causing them problems regardless. In some cases, problem drinkers can develop into full-blown alcoholics.
Alcoholism is characterized by its progressive nature—it gets steadily worse with time, and can lead to legal difficulties, financial ruin, injury, or death. A person may turn to alcohol once or twice to make themselves feel better about their lives, but in time, their dependence will increase. Their tolerance to alcohol will build up as well, requiring them to consume progressively higher amounts to feel the same physiological effects. Money drain, blackouts, work problems, memory loss, and other behavioral and physical problems are the hallmark of advanced alcoholism.
The Signs of Alcoholism
While alcohol affects each individual differently, the symptoms and signs of the disease are similar. A person descending into alcoholism may exhibit any number of the following indicators, which loved ones may spot if they’re vigilant.
- Increased tolerance
- Nerve damage
- Loss of coordination
- Lost time/blackouts
- Clumsiness or loss of balance
- Difficulty speaking
- Degradation in work or academic performance
- Drinking in strange or inappropriate places
- Trouble with the law
- Obsessing about alcohol or going to events where alcohol will be present
- Neglect of old pastimes or hobbies
- Money problems
- Social alienation
- Unpredictable changes in mood
- Cirrhosis and fatty liver disease
- Heightened blood pressure
- Digestive problems
- Heart attack or stroke
- Pancreatic disease
The Difference between Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
While similar, there are distinct differences between alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Competent authorities have defined alcohol abuse as the period or situation in which an individual is just beginning to get into trouble because of their drinking. While the CDC defines this as a pattern of heavy drinking or problem drinking, alcohol abuse is not technically alcoholism. Alcoholism or alcohol dependence are defined as the period after which an individual has undergone psychological or bodily changes which abet their unhealthy drinking pursuits.
The important thing to remember is that both alcohol abuse and alcoholism are unhealthy and may lead to financial or legal troubles, social problems, alienation, depression, nervous breakdowns, injuries, or death. Whether you or someone you know likes to drink to excess in social settings or is actively consuming alcohol every night of the week, it’s time to seek the qualified help available at Seattle Drug Rehabilitation.
Obtaining Quality Alcoholism Care
Modern treatment techniques and advances in psychiatry and psychotherapy have plumbed the depths of alcoholism and revealed some of its secrets. Treatment techniques have developed considerably in the past century. Statistics and studies have proven that treatment is far more successful at a qualified rehab center than it is when attempted solo.
Seattle Drug Rehabilitation can provide you or your loved one with a broad spectrum of treatments and recovery plans. Alcohol withdrawal is dangerous and can be fatal, so customarily the patient first enters a detox clinic for one to seven days. Trained clinicians will monitor the patient around the clock and administer medications as necessary to ameliorate the worst of the withdrawal symptoms and ensure the patient’s complete safety.
Following detox, therapy and counseling—the bulk of rehabilitation—may begin in earnest. Seattle Drug Rehabilitation provides 45- and 90-day programs. These are longer than the standard 28-day rehab plans available elsewhere. The longer an individual remains in treatment, the more of a chance they have to achieve lasting sobriety. Family therapy, individual therapy, group counseling sessions, and other services provide patients with the tools to resist relapse and beat addiction permanently.