What Does Alcohol Addiction Look Like?

What Does Alcohol Addiction Look Like?

 

Alcohol addiction or AUD (alcohol use disorder) is the inability to control when you will drink, or when you are drinking, the inability to control how much you consume. Understanding and identifying these symptoms of alcohol addiction may be the first sign that you should seek professional help. 

Alcoholism has become the most common form of addiction in the United States. In 2018 alone, more than 14.4 million American adults aged 18 and above were diagnosed with AUD. There were also more than 400,000 American youth aged 12 to 17 who met the criteria to be at-risk of alcohol addiction.

There is a difference between alcohol addiction and alcohol abuse. Those that suffer from alcohol addiction will not be able to stop drinking and stay stopped without the appropriate treatment. Those that suffer from alcohol abuse may be able to stop with severe enough consequences or risk to their health. Either way, treatment can help both persons so severe consequences like ill health do not have to take place to put the drink down.

Many people start out their search with “Why can’t I stop drinking?” and find Alcoholics Anonymous as a good place to go to obtain sobriety. While Alcoholics Anonymous has saved hundreds of thousands of people from addiction, they all had to obtain abstinence first before joining the fellowship. That is why treatment serves as a necessary step to obtain life-long sobriety.

Different Forms of Alcohol-Related Problems

Not everyone who struggles with alcohol addiction or abuse drinks the same way. There are many ways that a person struggling will use alcohol.

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is among one of the most common ways someone will use alcohol. According to data from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), about 26.45 percent of people 18 or older answered that they had engaged in binge drinking in the past month. What does binge drinking look like? Binge drinking is when someone starts drinking on, say, the weekend, typically they will drink all night Friday and all-night Saturday into a blackout or until they pass out. This is a large quantity of alcohol consumed in a short period of time. 

Underage Drinking

Underage drinking would also be another common form of alcohol use. The CDC reported that about 11 percent of all the alcohol purchased in the US is consumed by someone under the legal drinking age. This can be a way for underage youth to cope with many different things, some examples are bullying, feelings of anxiety or depression, peer pressure, or family issues. Underage drinking can lead to trouble with law enforcement, sexually transmitted diseases, DUIs, and violence.

Using Alcohol with other Substances

Using substances paired with alcohol is another very common form of abuse or addiction. Alcohol is legal and widely accepted across the United States while other drugs are not. Most people who drink alcohol also will use it coupled with Cocaine or other substances. While alcohol acts as a depressant, cocaine acts as a stimulant. This can cause serious health complications and is just one example. If someone is using a benzodiazepine with alcohol, they are putting themselves at risk for an overdose by lowering their oxygen intake and blood pressure, because both alcohol and benzodiazepines are depressants on your nervous system.

If you or a loved one is struggling with any of these forms of alcohol use, it is appropriate to call now to get the care needed by professionals. Using substances with alcohol can make a self-detox riskier than just alcohol alone regarding health complications.

Withdrawal Symptoms From Alcohol Abuse

Attempting to quit alcohol on your own is not a task to take. Heavy or problem drinkers who decide to go “cold turkey” or taper off alcohol at home, put themselves at serious risk. The complications of stopping on your own can include seizures and hallucinations. Just these two symptoms are more common than you think and can result in death. It is important to enter a 24-hour care detox supervised by medical professionals. In this setting, you can get medically assisted treatment (MAT) to have a safe and comfortable detox from alcohol to prepare you for your next step.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can last up to 7 days. Not all symptoms are experienced but you can expect to identify with some here:

  • Anxiety
  • Shakes or tremors
  • Headaches
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Extreme sweating

Different Levels of Care

 After realizing you cannot stop on your own and upon entering detox, you will be suggested to complete multiple levels of care:

  • Detox
  • Residential Treatment
  • Partial Hospitalization Program
  • Intensive Outpatient Program
  • Outpatient

How Do You Know if a Loved One is Struggling With Alcohol Addiction?

There are many signs you will be able to see if your loved one develops an addiction to alcohol. Some signs to look out for are:

  • Increased irritability
  • The smell of alcohol on her breath
  • Weight loss
  • Oversleeping
  • Shaking
  • Pale Skin
  • Insomnia 
  • Driving after consumption
  • Vomiting

How Moving Mountains Recovery Can Help 

At Moving Mountains Recovery, we understand the seriousness of alcohol addiction, especially since it is the most common addiction that our clients struggle with. The objective at Moving Mountains is to help clients recover in a safe and comfortable environment, with an abundance of peer and clinical support. We have therapies available to empower clients through their own recovery while uncovering their passion in life without the use of drugs or alcohol. Our staff is equipped and ready to help with any questions or concerns. Make the life-changing phone call today.

Sources:

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/understanding-alcohol-use-disorder

https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2018-nsduh-annual-national-report

https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/index.htm

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