Many people have their first shot of alcohol before they’re 15. They don’t know how dangerous drinking too much too early in life can be — and that once they go all in, getting out is almost impossible.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel. You can get rid of alcohol addiction — you just need to put in 100% effort. But where should you start? Let’s understand that in this article.
When to Look For Help?
Even though one-third of the people with alcohol addiction don’t have symptoms, they’re the best way to gauge when to look for help. Here are three signs to watch out for:
1. Difficulty Controlling Alcohol Consumption
If you’re having a hard time controlling how much you drink, it might be a sign that it’s time to see a professional about potential alcohol addiction. This could mean drinking more than you intended or struggling to stop once you’ve started.
2. Negative Life Effects
Alcohol abuse can affect various areas of your life, such as relationships, work, and both physical and mental well-being. If you think your drinking patterns cause conflicts with family and friends, job-related difficulties, or health issues, it’s essential to seek medical help.
3. Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
If you find it physically uncomfortable to stop drinking for a while, experiencing sensitivity to light, sound, or having tremors and extreme fatigue, then you should seek help immediately.
4. Alcohol Overdose
Overdose happens when you drink alcohol excessively, leading to a dangerous level of alcohol in the bloodstream. This can affect your breathing and heart rate — and may even cause poisoning or overdose.
Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels between 0.30% and 0.45% can suppress vital functions, leading to unconsciousness, coma, or even death. You may have overdosed if you experience dulled responses, confusion, clammy skin, seizures, vomiting, and slowed heart rate.
If you experience these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Do not try to go to sleep or “take a short rest” as it can be life-threatening.
What Is the First Step Toward Getting Treatment for Alcohol Addiction?
The first step toward getting better is realizing that alcohol is affecting your school, social, and work life, causing problems in your relationships, and negatively affecting your health in the long term.
The process always begins with getting professional treatment in a supportive environment with a caring and skilled medical team. It may start with detoxification, talk therapy and behavioral modification, or involve medications.
However, treating alcohol dependence is tailored to the type of alcohol problems at hand. These are determined by how long you’ve been using alcohol, the severity of the addiction, other substance abuse problems, and any mental health issues you might be struggling with.
Treatment can also be provided under several levels of care, such as:
- Residential (at home)
- Intensive outpatient/partial hospitalization
- Intensive inpatient
- Custom treatment
- eHealth (online or mobile)
At Curednation, we offer both telehealth and eHealth addiction recovery services (along with other options), so you can overcome your addiction while learning how to avoid triggers and handle cravings.
What Are Your Options for Treatment?
Once you get engaged with a specialized addiction treatment center, your team may recommend one or more of the following options for alcohol dependence treatment:
Medications for an alcohol treatment plan are non-addictive and are usually combined with other forms of treatments (such as counseling) to help you reduce/stop your drinking and prevent relapse.
Here are three medications you might be prescribed by your doctor:
- Naltrexone – Naltrexone is the first-choice option for moderate to severe alcohol use disorder (AUD) because it blocks the areas in your brain that induce the pleasurable effects of alcohol. This reduces your want and need to consume it.
- Acamprosate – It is also used for moderately severe AUD, especially for those who can’t take naltrexone, use opioids, or have liver disease.
- Disulfiram – It is an alcohol blocker that stops alcohol from being broken down by the liver. This causes heart palpitations and nausea-like symptoms that can discourage drinking.
2. Behavioral Therapies
Alcohol counseling is aimed at changing drinking behavior through behavioral treatment. It can help you set reachable goals, avoid the triggers that cause relapse, develop the control needed to stop drinking, and create a support system that you can always rely on.
There are several types of alcohol counseling:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – It’s a one-on-one or group session where you talk about the triggers that prompt you to drink and focus on eliminating them from your life.
- Motivational Enhancement Therapy – It’s a one-on-one session that helps you understand why you should wean off of alcohol and focus on yourself.
- Marital and Family Counseling – It’s a group therapy where your family members (usually your wife, sister, brother, mom, or dad) provide support and context while you talk about your experience with drinking alcohol.
3. Mutual Support Groups
Mutual support or 12-step programs provide people with alcohol addiction with the peer support they need to recover from AUD, develop new coping skills, help with the transition to sobriety, and foster long-term recovery.
Some common types of 12-step programs and other support groups include:
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
- National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
- National Association for Children of Alcoholics.
Start On the Road to Recovery With Curednation
The road to recovery from AUD can be long, and you might experience temptations and failures along the way —and that’s normal because there’s no set schedule or straight path to recovery.
But the first step toward getting treatment for alcohol addiction is reaching out to a treatment facility or service provider.
We understand that changing your AUD habits is hard, requires repeated efforts, and takes time.
We also know that you may lose motivation or sight of your goal. At Curednation, experienced therapists and counselors will always be there to help you take another step on your journey to recovery. Book an appointment today.