What is Alcohol Dependence?
Alcohol addiction or alcoholism is defined as the inability to control drinking due to an emotional, mental and physical dependence on alcohol. Most of the time, someone who is dependent or addicted to alcohol consumption will continue to get drunk regularly despite legal, financial or health problems. It’s not unusual for those with alcohol use disorder to begin drinking first thing in the morning and keep going all the way through bedtime. When dependence has gotten severe enough, the drinker will feel painful and dangerous withdrawal just from being sober.
Often, alcohol abuse will cause severe family or relationship problems. Those with alcohol dependence often feel a sense of guilt about their drinking, especially when there is family involved. Usually, there is a desire to stop drinking or cut back, but without the proper professional help the drinking typically continues. It may come as a surprise, but alcohol addiction is actually one of the most dangerous addictions to give up. Without proper medical treatment and safe detox, the withdrawal could be life-threatening.
Identifying Alcohol Dependence
The first step in determining if you or a loved one needs alcohol abuse treatment is to determine if dependence or addiction has developed. Not everyone will show the same symptoms, and it will also change depending on length of use, but generally speaking, you may notice some of the items below.
Some of the most common symptoms of alcohol abuse include:
- Blackouts or short-term memory loss
- Irritability or intense mood swings
- Rationalizing your drinking
- Finding or making excuses to drink
- Neglecting other responsibilities in order to get drunk
- Isolating from friends and family members
- Drinking alone
- Using alcohol as a form of escape, or band-aid for other problems.
- Frequent hang-overs
- Changes in physical appearance
- Changes in friends
- Changes in social activities
If you or a loved one has begun to show any of the signs of alcohol addiction or abuse, it is important that you seek help from a professional medical detox facility near you, such as Royal Life Centers. Because of the dangers of alcohol withdrawal, it is not recommended to attempt cold turkey quitting.
For many people, alcohol consumption begins early in life – sometimes even before high school. Underaged drinking is highly common because it is so easy to obtain alcohol. Exposure to alcohol at such an early age will have an effect on brain and physical development. Binge drinking in particular is often popular with young adults and teens.
Binge drinking is hard to define in modern society, because most people will drink more in social settings. A group of men tailgating outside of football stadium, knocking back six packs may not necessarily be binge drinking in the medical sense. When we talk about binge drinking from an illness standpoint, your average binge drinker will try to go as long as they can without getting drunk and then drink to excess until they black out, or get very sick. The psychology or motive behind the drinking is very different than it is for someone who is a casual or recreational drinker. Binge drinking on five or more days in the past month would qualify someone as a heavy drinker. Teenagers and young adults have the highest rate of binge drinking out of any demographic. Binge drinkers have their own sort of alcohol dependence than a day-to-day alcoholic, and this type of consumption presents its own problems and dangers.
Consequences of Alcohol Dependence
Alcohol abuse can lead to a plethora of issues. Personal health, social health, and emotional well-being all suffer due to alcoholism. Prolonged drinking can have a serious impact on your health and potentially cause life threatening problems due to organ failure. Legal consequences such as DUIs and arrests have been the source of life changing consequences for some alcoholics. The emotional unrest from alcoholism takes a serious toll on one’s inner peace and sense of well-being. Families tend to suffer in particular when living with an alcoholic, especially if alcohol makes the user aggressive. The all-consuming power of addiction often destroys lives without prejudice. The kindest and most gentle men and women can become aggressive, violent or abusive due to alcohol dependence.
Detoxing from Alcohol Dependence
Alcohol addiction is a completely curable disease. However, extra precaution should be taken when attempting to get sober. Alcohol detox is typically broken down into three stages, each characterized by a particular set of symptoms.
Withdrawal from Alcohol Dependence
First stage (8 hours after last drink):
- Abdominal pain
Second stage (24-72 hours of last drink):
- Rise in blood pressure and body temperature
- Quickening of heartbeat
- Reduced mental acuity
- Risk of death
If the addiction is powerful enough, then giving up alcohol immediately can cause seizures that could be fatal. Without proper medical care and medications, a detox from alcohol could have deadly complications. For these reasons, medical detox is typically necessary to safely stop the body’s dependence on alcohol. Withdrawal is painful, and dangerous – but the professionals at an accredited medical detox facility such as Royal Life Centers can ensure that your life is kept safe.
After medical detox, quality alcohol dependence rehab will give the best chances for long-term success. Group therapy, substance abuse therapy and meetings have all proven to be successful in keeping men and women sober and happy long term.
Our Comprehensive Addiction Treatment
Royal Life Centers offers a full-service treatment option including detox, treatment, and aftercare. We are fully licensed and accredited, using evidence-based treatment models to achieve results. We use customized treatment plans, designed specifically for your own unique needs. No two plans are ever the same. Our personalized approach to treatment ensures that you get the help you need. If you or someone you know is ready to get help for their alcohol dependence please call us today.
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