August 23, 2017

Alcohol Dependency

[frame align=”left”]Alcohol Dependency[/frame]An individual who is mentally or physically addicted to alcohol suffers from alcohol dependency. This individual has a strong urge or need to take a drink. Once they have that alcoholic drink, the world is all right. Alcohol dependency is a long-term chronic disease, which has a predictable pattern and symptoms. It is important to remember that alcohol dependency is different from alcohol abuse. An alcoholic’s entire world revolves around alcohol. Sadly, everything else is second rate and often suffers the most.

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Signs of Alcohol Dependency

Too often, a friend or family member will be the one to notice the signs of alcohol dependency. If you suspect alcohol dependency in a friend/family member, review the following signs of alcohol dependency:

  1. You need to drink an increasing amount to get the same effect, or to feel “drunk.”
  2. You cannot control how much alcohol you consume or quit drinking.
  3. When you stop drinking, you have withdrawal symptoms, which may include sweating, shaking, stomach problems, and feeling anxious.
  4. You have tried to cut back on drinking alcohol or quit drinking alcohol but have not been able to succeed.
  5. You continue to drink alcoholic beverages even though you know it causes physical problems, harms your relationship, causes injuries, causes legal problems, or causes you to miss work or school.
  6. You spend a good amount of time drinking and recovering from the effects of drinking.
  7. You have given up activities in order to drink.
  8. You are a man who has more than 14 drinks a week or more than 4 drinks at a time, or you are a woman who has more than seven drinks a week or more than three drinks at one time. A standard drink is either one mixed drink, 1 can of beer, or one glass of wine.

Behavioral Signs of Alcohol Dependency

Individuals suffering from alcoholism go to great lengths to hide their problem with alcohol. Often times friends/family members do not suspect anything especially if social drinking is normal. The problem lies when the alcoholic gets home and starts drinking alone-often in secret. Listed below are behavioral signs, which can help identify an individual, struggling with alcohol dependency:

  1. Secretive and possessive of privacy
  2. Extreme mood swings
  3. Anxious personality
  4. Loss interest in personal hygiene and demeanor
  5. Changes in eating habits
  6. Sudden problems at work/school
  7. Lack of concentration and remembering things

Diagnosing Alcohol Dependency

Diagnosing alcohol dependency is not as simple as other health related issues or diseases. Often times, alcohol dependency is diagnosed through health issues related to excessive alcohol consumption. Once a doctor suspects alcohol dependency, he may or may not ask your personal questions to find out the level of dependency. On the other hand, if the doctor suspects the alcoholic may not give honest answers, family members are brought in. In the end whether an individual has a disease caused by alcoholism or family members are concerned, treatment is available.

Treating Alcohol Dependency

The first step in alcohol dependency treatment always starts with a detoxification process. This is a procedure where the alcoholic will abstain from alcohol while being monitored by professional counselors or doctors. The environment is controlled and offers relief if the withdrawal symptoms become too much for the alcoholic. When this happens, medications are used to help the alcoholic successfully make it through the entire detox session completely.

Throughout the United States, there are substance dependency rehabilitation facilities, which offer professional treatment options. Depending on the severity of the alcohol dependency or relapse, these rehabilitation facilities offer:

  1. Short-term residential treatment
  2. Long-term residential treatment
  3. In-patient treatment
  4. Out-patient treatment
  5. Counseling or Therapy

No matter which rehabilitation facility you choose, the ultimate goal is to see an individual successfully overcome alcoholism.

Another option, which does not cure alcoholism, the FDA approved three types of medicine to help an individual remain sober. This option is part of the treatment process but more so to help prevent future relapses. The medicines approved by the FDA include:

  1. Antabuse (disulfiram): if alcohol is consumed the individual gets violently ill
  2. Naltrexone (Revia): helps the brain not crave alcohol.
  3. Acamprostate (Campral): Relieves any type of discomfort or anxious feelings when an individual stops drinking.

In order to stay sober, you will very likely need support in order to take the steps to deal with your relationships and responsibilities. Many people choose to continue with counseling or support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Recovery is not a short-term process, and to achieve recovery successfully, it is important to address other parts of your life, not just your alcohol dependency. Recovery is the first step in the journey of living an alcohol free life. In order to continue on the path of recovery, addressing the following areas is extremely important:

  1. Living situation
  2. Relationship statuses
  3. Personal responsibilities,
  4. Medical problems