Alcohol is everywhere. It’s a legal substance that is available anywhere, making the temptation even more remarkable when you want to escape the world.
Often associated with harmless socialising and countless nights out, alcohol appears agreeable, but we know that’s not the truth.
Recognising an alcohol addiction starts with your relationship to alcohol.
Are you drinking to have fun, or have you poured yourself a glass to keep anxiety and stress at bay?
When alcohol places itself in your life as an alleviation to your problems, where you find you have to drink more to match its original effects, you start on a dangerous path that will eventually destroy your general and mental health.
Alcohol addiction overview
When discussing alcohol, it is essential not to confuse abuse with dependence.
Alcohol dependence, sometimes known simply as ‘alcoholism’, is the most severe type of drinking problem. It brings on a firm, often uncontrollable desire to drink.
However, not all alcohol dependence presents a high risk. For example, one form of alcohol dependence may be the inability to enjoy oneself without drinking.
This psychological dependency usually creeps in slowly as alcohol becomes part of one’s day-to-day. For working professionals, it is not uncommon to end a workday with alcohol, either socially with colleagues or at home, as a way to unwind, brokering the possibility of addiction later on.
If you find it difficult to relax without alcohol, you may suffer from dependency.
Alcohol abuse facts:
- In England, there are an estimated 586,780 dependent drinkers.
- Only 18% of adults in England receive treatment
- In the UK, in 2016 there were 9,214 alcohol-related deaths (around 15 per 100,000 people). The mortality rates are highest among people aged 55-69.
- In the UK in 2018 there were 7,551 alcohol-specific deaths (around 11.9 per 100,000 people).
- Alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK, and the fifth-biggest risk factor across all ages. Source.
Signs of use
At this stage, there are several warning signs to look out for that you or someone you love is addicted to alcohol:
- A near-constant craving to drink
- An inability to stop drinking, even once drunk
- Increased tolerance for alcohol
- Lying about drinking and hiding bottles
- Drinking alone without others knowing
- An inability to enjoy social situations without alcohol
- Sweating and memory loss (drinking blackouts)
Psychological dependency can easily develop into physical dependency, later on, creating symptoms like sweating, shaking and nausea.
Alcoholism is defined by chemical dependence on alcohol to function.
Excessive use of alcohol means the body becomes more tolerant to its effects and neural pathways in the brain are changed such that the body cannot function normally without the presence of alcohol.
There are certain immediate consequences to abusing alcohol of being dependent on alcohol. In terms of physical risks, you might:
- Drive drunk and cause an accident
- Pass out and injure yourself
- Become violent and hurt yourself and others
- Suffer from alcohol poisoning
Long-term health complications
Beyond the immediate dangers of alcohol abuse, the longer-term consequences of alcoholism can be devastating:
- Liver cirrhosis
- Wet brain and delirium tremens (rapid onset confusion)
- Breakdown of relationships
- Inability to work or study
- Financial hardship
- Weight gain and other physical ailments
- Death from liver failure
While it can take some time for these more serious consequences to be felt, the effect of alcoholism is debilitative and will get worse without treatment and intervention.
How to spot an addiction?
Recognising alcohol abuse
Medical professionals will tell you that regularly drinking more than 14 units of alcohol (around six pints of beer) per week can lead to negative health consequences.
The key is the regularity of the drinking, the manner in which it is done and the ability or inability to stop drinking.
For example, not knowing when to stop might indicate an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.
You may be abusing alcohol if you:
- Are using it to cope
- Shutting out negative or intrusive thoughts
- Trying to forget painful memories of past traumas
- To hide or turn down feelings of guilt and shame
- Drinking to get drunk, to shut out life and all its problems
- To numb physical or psychological pain
- Your drunken state is alarming to those around you
- If you turn into a different person when you drink
Getting the right help
Alcohol can make you feel like everything is just fine, momentarily.
Hence, why you might continue to use them.
Today, you might feel like you have a problem and need help, tomorrow the alcohol might be in control.
It’s not just your addiction in the driver’s seat, but what drives the addiction in the first place.
Without treating your mental health and learning how to manage and regulate your emotions, you may always fall victim to a cycle of abuse and addiction.
Do this for you, for who you once were.
Go through the below questions and if you answer yes to any of them, reach out.
- Do you ever feel sad, hopeless, empty or worthless?
- Have you lost interest in your hobbies? Do you find yourself less interested in things you used to love?
- Do you lack energy and motivation? Have you lost your hope and faith?
- Is it difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep? Is it hard to get up in the mornings?
- Do you struggle to regulate your emotions? Do you feel scared and judged by your family and so avoid them?
It’s time to choose life again.
Treatment: Alcohol rehab
- Treatment programmes that last from 28-90 days
- 1-week detoxes
- Identifies any co-occurring mental health conditions
- Outpatient sessions
- Inpatient “life-changing” programmes
Receive effective, life-changing treatment.
Alcohol addiction, like all chemical dependencies, is treatable, but it can be a difficult and long process, with the chances of full recovery increasing the earlier on in your dependency you seek treatment.
By removing yourself from the location of your addiction, be it your home, local pubs and bars, or even your place of work, you can detox and begin the process of mental recovery.
The best way to confront and treat alcoholism is through time spent in a dedicated alcohol rehab facility.
Call the Executive Rehab Guide today on 0808 1150 446 to discuss your options for residential rehab and begin your recovery from alcohol addiction.
Therapy for alcohol addiction
Like addiction to any substance, the long-term treatment pathway involves physical detox and withdrawal.
This will be followed by a recovery that can include group therapy and psychological treatments, for example, CBT.
The journey will require patience, effort, understanding and vulnerability.
Therapy is going to aim at helping you build a better, stronger relationship with yourself so that you can cope with whatever life throws at you.
Detox and therapy benefits
- Be in a secure and safe environment
- Medically managed detoxes with round the clock, 24/7 care and support
- Opens you up to a life-changing diagnosis that ensures you receive the correct help
- Experienced team of doctors, nurses and therapists (note, not all facilities will have onsite medical staff – ask us to see who does)
- Personalised rehabilitation and aftercare programmes (some facilities)
- Work on strategies to prevent relapse
The road to recovery is going to be tough, but you’re not expected to go through it alone. Get in touch with us here, we can help advise on the best place for your recovery and funding as well as just being a friendly face whenever you need one.
Talk to us – we’ve been through this before. Call 0808 1150 446.
Over 10,000 patients have passed through our rehab centre’s doors since 1988, and the majority have gone on to achieve, long-term abstinent recovery from their addictions – Castle Craig.