Recovery Guide for Alcohol

Alcohol addiction is a disease that changes the way the brain works. It causes negative emotions, impulsive behavior, cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Treatment for alcohol addiction includes supervised detox, counseling and therapy, and support group participation.

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The Dangers of Alcohol Addiction

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a moderate intake of alcohol for a user to enjoy some of its health benefits. However, it clearly states that one drink is sufficient for women and two for men every day. But how long can you stick to the recommended rates without developing a craving for more?

Despite being legal, alcohol has a lot of effects on the user. It is one of the most abused drugs and has numerous side effects to the user. Not everyone who drinks alcohol is considered an alcoholic. Although a glass a day is not regarded as harmful, regularly intake starts to affect your social life and how you perform your activities.

When you take too much alcohol, your body becomes dependent on it, making it a necessity. Consumption of alcohol is usually through drinks such as beer, wine, and hard liquor.

A 2015 survey shows that youths aged between 25 and 34 years consumed the highest amount of alcohol. This age group comprises people who are trying to build their families, careers, and educational paths. Alcohol is a significant setback in the active building and development of jobs and families.

Causes Of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol use disorder occurs when you drink too much causing chemical changes in the brain. These chemicals later increase the pleasure that one feels when they drink alcohol. The refreshing feeling makes the user develop a craving for more. An addict will do anything, including heinous acts to quench his or her alcohol thirst.

When alcohol’s drained from the body, withdrawal symptoms will set in. The person will, therefore, continue drinking to keep away withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can be very harmful and unpleasant to the body.

Symptoms & Warning Signs

Symptoms of Alcoholism

Symptoms associated with alcohol use disorder are physical and behavioral. When you keep on drinking to feel high, you are most probably developing the disease. Alcoholics often become violent when questioned about their drinking habits or their neglect of duty and personal hygiene. They will make up excuses to neglect duty so that they can drink. If you are experiencing any of these, it is time to stop drinking.

Alcoholics crave for alcohol and experience withdrawal symptoms when they do not drink. The withdrawal symptoms include involuntary shaking, especially in the mornings, vomiting, and nausea. Other warning signs include memory lapses after heavy drinking and health problems such as alcoholic ketoacidosis and cirrhosis.

If you are experiencing any of these signs, seek help. Find a rehab and get the appropriate rehabilitative treatment. The first step of quitting alcohol is making a personal choice that you want to stop it.

How Is Alcoholism Treated?

Treating Alcoholism

Several methods are used to treat alcoholism, but it depends on several factors. All the processes and stages involved in the treatment have one goal; to help the patient to abstain from drinking. Alcoholism treatment involves the following steps:

  • Detoxification to get rid of alcohol from your body
  • Rehabilitation to help the patient learn survival skills and behaviors
  • Administration of medicine that helps control addiction
  • Counseling to address emotional & mental problems that may be the root cause
  • Involvement in support groups such as the 12-step programs
  • Working past the fear of quitting due to withdrawl symptoms
  • Treatment of medical problems caused by excessive drinking

Detoxification from alcohol is the first step in the treatment of alcohol use disorder. You will experience the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you do not follow the right procedure.

The Importance Of Detoxification

Detoxification for Alcohol

During this first step, alcohol ejection from your body occurs. You need to detoxify under the care of a physician. Withdrawal symptoms will fade away within 2 or 3 weeks after starting detoxification. The subsiding of these symptoms could take slightly longer, depending on the severity of alcohol use disorder. It is only after detoxification that you can progress to the other treatment stages.

The primary purpose of detoxification is to help the patient deal effectively with the aggressive withdrawal symptoms. Most people are trying to quit alcohol relapse because they did not detoxify. Some people experience mild symptoms, while others experience severe effects and symptoms. If the effects of alcohol on you are severe, you most probably need an inpatient rehabilitation facility.

Why Medical Detox is Needed

The alcohol detox phase may involve life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. A patient has to detox under the care of a physician. The severity of the symptoms will depend on how long you have used alcohol, and how dependent you were on it. For instance, if a patient was a heavy drinker, they are most likely going to experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

Life-threatening effects of alcohol withdrawal include seizures, delirium tremens, extreme hallucinations, tremors, and disorientation. Minor withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, headaches, insomnia, nausea, and sweating. Delirium tremens is not severe withdrawal symptom of alcoholism. They start after two to five days of not drinking. Less than 5% of patients experience it.

These severe withdrawal warning signs need constant monitoring from your doctor. The specialist has to monitor several other conditions such as lung and heart problems, blood pressure, and heart rate. The minor withdrawal symptoms sometimes worsen quickly, and this is why inpatient rehab facilities are more effective. You get constant monitoring from your doctors.

Treatment & Rehabilitation

Sometimes, you may be stuck choosing between an outpatient rehab facility and an inpatient rehab facility. If the symptoms of this disorder are discovered early enough, outpatient rehab might serve you well. If you have been into heavy drinking with severe symptoms, an inpatient rehab facility will be suitable for your long-term sobriety.

Research shows that over 50% of people in an inpatient rehab facility may have tried outpatient facility without success. Inpatient facilities are very intense. The environment is clean and free of drugs whereby chances of relapsing are so low.

Types of Inpatient Alcohol Rehab Programs

There are two types of inpatient rehab programs. The first is the inpatient residential rehab while the other is partial hospitalization. Your doctor will recommend a suitable option depending on the severity of your condition and other factors. Before settling for either of the two, consider the benefits offered, therapies, treatment duration, and your financial capabilities.

These rehab facilities require the patient to stay onsite until the treatment is over permanently. The facilities typically offer programs lasting for 30, 60 or 90 days. It is the most intensive form of treating alcohol use disorder. It has also been considered to be the most successful in treating alcohol addiction cases. This option is ideal for people who have previously tried outpatient programs and failed. It is also suitable for people who have been into heavy drinking for years.

The first week in inpatient rehab is often set aside for detoxification. After the detoxification week, you will continue with the structured schedule. It involves therapies, counseling, and participation in support groups. Therapies and counseling sessions teach the patient how to overcome alcoholism and how to maintain long-term sobriety.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab Facilities

Inpatient rehab facilities have higher success rates compared to outpatient rehabs. In an inpatient program, you are separated from the triggers that push you into consuming alcohol. The bad company and access to the drugs are cut for the duration you are in an inpatient facility. The environment is clean from drugs.

Over this period, you are only around people trying to fight their addiction and professionals to help you. Outpatient rehab has lower success rates because they are less intensive, and the patient may easily relapse during the treatment. The relapsing is common because they can easily access alcohol when they leave the facility.

If you are battling a long-term addiction, an inpatient is your way to go. You need intensive care to help you fight a long-term addiction. If your addiction is mild or short-term, an outpatient facility could serve you right.

Medications Used In Alcohol Detoxification

There are several miedications administered to the patient during the different stages of their detox treatment.These medications require oversight by a medical professional and should not be taken on your own or without a doctor's consent.

These medications include:

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are popularly known as benzos are used in the detoxification stage. They are used to treat withdrawal symptoms. Besides, calms your Central Nervous System and treat conditions like insomnia, muscle spasms, and anxiety. Benzos are given in two forms, the shot-acting and the long-acting which is prescribed to patients in inpatient rehab.

Naltrexone

Naltrexone is only used after the patient has completed detoxification. This drug works by blocking the receptors in the brain responsible for giving out the pleasurable feeling from alcohol. It decreases the craving of alcohol.

Acamprosate

Acamprosate helps reestablish the brain’s original functioning before the effects of alcohol hit in. The initial chemical state of mind is restored, reducing dependency on alcohol.

Disulfiram

Disulfiram is a drug that patients take to induce physical discomfort when they consume alcohol. The drug causes symptoms such as nausea, headache, and vomiting any time the person goes back to drinking alcohol.

Alcoholism Support Groups

There is no single pill that will help you quit alcoholism. You have to undergo an intense process that will be effective in long-term sobriety. The FDA approved pills will not work effectively when used alone. You will need support groups to keep you going.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a support group composed of both men and women who share their journey towards sobriety. They share their experiences, strengths, and challenges with each other. They offer encouragement and hope to keep each other going. Research has shown that participation in support groups is useful when combined with other treatment methods. These groups are effective in helping alcoholic patients stay sober.

Effects Of Alcohol Abuse

Excessive consumption of alcohol is dangerous to your body and mental health. Alcoholism also affects families, the general public, and work ethic.

Liver cirrhosis is the popularly effect caused by excessive drinking. Alcohol damages the liver, limiting it from carrying out its functions effectively. Alcohol increases the risk of cancer. The risk of throat and esophagus cancer is increased by excessive consumption of alcohol. Breast cancer is also prevalent among women who are heavy drinkers. Pregnant women drinking alcohol can cause congenital disabilities. Alcohol affects the proper physical and brain development of the unborn child.

Too much alcohol leads to the development of stomach problems such as bloating and painful ulcers. Alcohol also destroys the intestines, leading to frequent diarrhea. One of theleading causes of cardiovascular disease s is excessive drinking of alcohol. Also, it might lead to malnutrition. It prevents the body from absorbing nutrients and vitamins into the bloodstream. It also reduces your appetite.

The Impact of Alocholism on Families

Alcoholism is a problem that has destroyed many stable marriages and families. Alcoholic members of a family tend to be violent towards the other members. 60-70% of physical domestic violence cases are as a result of alcoholism. Drunk members start unwarranted fights that end up being physical

Alcohol is responsible for unhappiness, poor financial management in the families, and neglect of family duties. Most absentee parents are alcoholics. Other than being out drinking, they will need time to nurse their hangovers, making their absence more dominant. Alcoholics neglect their primary duties, whether at work or home.

Alcoholics may encounter legal problems such as driving under the influence or getting involved in public fights. Involvement in legal actions can be a big blow to the family. Misuse of funds in alcohol and addiction treatment can drain you financially. A lot of families keep breaking due to the effects of alcoholism. Fortunately, it is never too late. If you are experiencing problems quitting alcohol, or if a family member is experiencing problems quitting alcohol, seek help. Quitting alcohol all by yourself is not an easy task. You need medical and professional assistance.

Getting Help

People with alcohol use disorder will not stop consuming alcohol, even when the consequences of alcohol hit them hard. They will lose their jobs and break their families, but that will not be enough to have them stop the habit. They are well aware that their health and mental wellness is at risk, but they will keep on drinking.

Their bodies are usually dependent on alcohol and can hardly stay without it. This is why you need to look for help to destroy the dependency. You cannot stop it all on your own. Look for professional advice that involves detoxification, medical treatment, and professional counseling.

Treatment of alcoholism is only useful when the patient has a sincere desire to quit alcohol drinking. Medication and therapy won’t be helpful if you are not willing to stop. Get help in rehab for a better and sober lifestyle. Do not suffer in silence.

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