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Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction, more commonly known as alcoholism, is often referred to as the disease that knows no boundaries. Alcohol addiction can manifest in a variety of ways. The severity, frequency of use, or type of alcohol consumed can vary significantly from one person to the next. Regardless of how the addiction manifests, alcoholism is usually present if a person heavily relies on the substance and cannot maintain sobriety for an extended period of time. To determine if alcoholism may be present, look for an
  • Increased amount of alcohol consumption or increased frequency of use
  • Higher tolerance when drinking or lack of “hangover” symptoms
  • Increased activity in social situations where alcohol is present or avoidance of social situations where alcohol will not be present
  • Changes in friendships. An alcoholic will almost always surround himself with others who drink just as heavily
  • Alienation from loved ones
  • Hiding alcohol, such as in the closet, bathroom or other places where no one will find it
  • Dependence on alcohol to function or be “normal” in every day life
  • Increased lethargy, depression, or onset of emotional issues

Treating alcohol addiction can be a complex and challenging process. In order for treatment to be effective, it’s necessary that the alcoholic wants to get sober. It’s generally ineffective to try to force a person to stop drinking or consider the possibility of treatment. The recovery process for an alcoholic is a lifetime commitment of daily maintenance, not a quick fix. A common initial treatment option for alcoholics is an outpatient or inpatient addiction treatment program. In severe cases, an inpatient program lasting anywhere from 30 days to a year is required to help the alcoholic handle the physical withdrawal symptoms and emotional challenges that will ensue after cessation of drinking. Many alcoholics also turn to 12-step recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. In addition to rehabilitation programs and 12-step support groups, an alcoholic may also benefit from other treatment methods, such as drug therapy, psychological counseling, or nutritional changes.

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