Alcohol Rehab: When do you know it is time?
It is common to have questions or concerns when considering whether you or someone you love may have a drinking problem. When do you have to admit to yourself that you or someone you know may need help and it is time to go to an alcohol rehab ? Gaining a better understanding of both the physical and psychological signs of alcoholism, may help address many of your concerns. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition characterized by the inability to stop or control alcohol use despite the negative consequences. AUD is a chronic brain disorder that can progress over time if left untreated.
It can be difficult to recognise when casual drinking has crossed the line into abuse or addiction. It can be even harder to decide that it is time to do something about it. If you think you or someone you love may have an AUD, this guide will help you learn some signs to identify a possible AUD and help you to remain informed about what types of treatment are available for people with an AUD.
Signs of Alcoholism & Signs for the need of Alcohol Rehab Treatment:
Here are some characteristic signs and symptoms to be aware of when considering whether alcohol use may be problematic:
- You have health problems caused by alcohol abuse
Alcohol abuse can significantly impact a person’s physical health or worsen symptoms of mental health conditions. There are several conditions that can be directly caused by chronic heavy drinking, including liver damage, heart damage, anaemia, various types of cancers, and brain and nervous system problems.
Alcohol abuse can also cause mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and dementia. If you are experiencing health problems as a direct result of alcohol abuse, it may be time to consider treatment.
- You experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms – when not drinking
Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal, when not drinking, is a significant sign that you may be physically dependent on alcohol. Common withdrawal symptoms include nausea, shaky hands, vomiting, headache, insomnia, and sweating.
People who are severely addicted to alcohol may experience more dangerous symptoms, including delirium tremens (DTs). Symptoms DTs include fever, confusion, high blood pressure, and heavy sweating. If you believe you are experiencing DTs, it’s important to seek medical help immediately, as this condition can be fatal.
- You have injured yourself or others while intoxicated
Alcohol can lower inhibitions and make people more likely to participate in dangerous activities like drunk driving. This is especially true for individuals who drink heavily or who cannot control their alcohol intake. The more alcohol a person consumes, the more likely he or she is to get injured or injure others.
Multiple DUIs, injuries, or participating in other potentially dangerous situations may be a sign that you could benefit from alcohol rehab.
- Your work or school performance has suffered as a result of your drinking
People who can control their drinking typically don’t experience issues with work, school, or other responsibilities as a result of alcohol consumption. However, individuals who have trouble controlling their drinking or who regularly abuse alcohol often find themselves calling in sick to work, missing school, or performing poorly. A person may even lose his or her job or get kicked out of school as a result of drinking.
- You regularly lie about or hide your alcohol consumption
Hiding or lying about one’s alcohol consumption is often a key indicator that the individual is struggling with alcohol abuse. A person may drink in private or consume alcohol before meeting up with friends. Individuals with an alcohol use disorder may also lie about how much alcohol they drink or even avoid social situations where their drinking will be noticeable.
If you find yourself lying about how much alcohol you drink or hiding your alcohol consumption, this may be an indication that you are struggling with an addiction to alcohol.
- You regularly blackout from drinking
A blackout occurs as a result of drinking more alcohol than the body can handle. When a person blacks out, he or she loses the ability to form short-term memories and is unable to recall periods of time. Blacking out can be incredibly dangerous and put individuals at a heightened risk for injury. Experiencing blackouts is often a sign that a person is addicted to alcohol.
- You experience negative consequences as a result of your alcohol abuse
Alcohol abuse and addiction can increase a person’s risk of experiencing a variety of negative consequences. For example, a person may have problems with friends or family or even run into issues with the legal system as a result of his or her actions while intoxicated. The more negative consequences someone experiences as a result of alcohol abuse, the more likely he or she is to benefit from alcohol rehab.
- You have tried to limit or quit drinking to no avail
Many people who struggle with an alcohol use disorder have tried to limit or quit drinking on their own but are unable to do so. While this can be frustrating, it isn’t a sign of failure. Alcohol addiction is a disease and often requires professional help to manage and overcome. If you have tried and failed to quit drinking, it may be time to consider a formal alcohol rehab programme.
Getting Help For Alcohol Addiction:
If you find yourself relating to a few or many of the signs discussed above, you may benefit from an alcohol addiction rehab programme. Seeking help for an alcohol use disorder can be scary, but it’s important to know that you’re not alone
Finding the right programme for you or your loved one begins by understanding what options are available. If you need AUD treatment, there are several different types of alcohol rehab programmes at varying levels of intensity across South Africa that can help .The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) describes the following elements and settings for alcohol rehabilitation:
Detoxification: Many alcohol rehabs start with detoxification – a medically managed withdrawal from alcohol. This stage allows the body to clear itself of any alcohol. If you are admitted for inpatient detox, you will generally receive 24-hour care, staff monitoring and management of any symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal that may present during this period.
Inpatient Primary Residential Treatment: After successful withdrawal management, you may continue on with additional rehabilitation efforts. These highly intensive 24-hour-a-day programmes offer an array of services. Treatments provided address the social and behavioural problems associated with addiction to help make the lasting changes necessary for maintaining recovery. Although the treatment may only last weeks, it is full of intensive therapeutic interventions and may sometimes be based on a modified 12-step approach. During your stay, you will engage in therapy and may participate in peer support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
Outpatient Treatment: Outpatient treatment is a form of alcohol rehab that offers low-intensity daily programming opportunities for those who are either living at home, in a sober living, or in another conducive environment. Outpatient treatment is often, but not always, the least costly of these levels of care and provides flexibility to those who are working, going to school, or pursuing other educational or professional goals while receiving treatment for their AUD.
If you or a loved one needs assistance with alcoholism – know that help is readily available. The road to recovery is not always an easy one but getting yourself or your loved one the best possible care from the team at Crossroads Recovery Centre, provides you with a map to sober, healthy living. No matter how bad things seem, there is hope and it’s only a phone call away. If you or anyone close to you needs help with an addiction to sex, gambling, substances, alcohol or food, please contact us for a free assessment.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2020). Understanding alcohol use disorder.
- Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5 (5th ed.). (2013). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.
- National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Rethinking drinking alcohol & your health: What are the risks.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of drug addiction treatment: A research-based guide (third edition).
- Rapp, R. C., Xu, J., Carr, C. A., Lane, D. T., Wang, J., & Carlson, R. (2006). Treatment barriers identified by substance abusers assessed at a centralized intake unit. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 30(3), 227-35.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2017). Strategic plan 2017-2021 goal 4: Develop and improve treatment for alcohol misuse, alcohol use disorder, co-occurring conditions, and alcohol-related consequences.
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