Alcohol Rehab: When do you know it is time?

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Alcohol Rehab: When do you know it is time?

14 July, 2021Articles, News

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Sources

  1. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2020). Understanding alcohol use disorder.
  2. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5 (5th ed.). (2013). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.
  3. National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Rethinking drinking alcohol & your health: What are the risks.
  4. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of drug addiction treatment: A research-based guide (third edition).
  5. 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.
  6. 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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  • The encouragement, love and support from the team at Crossroads allowed me to eventually see that I was worth something - that my life could be turned around and that I could accomplish the things that had long been a forgotten dream.
    Oliver VG
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  • On the last day of my stint at Crossroads I could only express gratitude towards all who works there. A wise councillor once commented on my question when one is ready for rehab by explaining that when one is ready for rehab, rehab is ready for you.
    Johan B
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  • I was lost and my soul was broken until I ended up at Crossroads and was introduced to the Twelve Steps. With the help of their excellent staff and amazing support I have recently been clean for 18 months, I could not have done it without them!
    Carla S
    Read more
  • "Just for today I am more than three years in recovery. I have Cross Roads to thank for this wonderful gift. Cross Roads helped me to set a firm foundation in my recovery on which I can continue to build."
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What is “Wet Brain” ?

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What is “Wet Brain” ?

02 July, 2021Articles, News

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS), is commonly referred to as “wet brain”. It is a form of brain damage that results from repeated and severe exposure to alcohol. It is progressive and occurs in two phases.

The first phase which is known as Wernicke’s encephalopathy, is a temporary condition that is expressed as confusion, loss of muscular coordination, abnormal eye movements and changes in vision.
The second phase is characterised by psychosis, an inability to think and rationalise as well as a lack of personal care and an inability to successfully complete daily tasks. This phase is persistent and chronic.

Common symptoms of wet brain include:

  • Loss of muscular coordination
  • Low body tempreture
  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness and muscle atrophy
  • Vision changes, such as double vision
  • Memory loss and mental confusion
  • Changes in behaviour
  • Dishonesty, lies, struggling to keep stories straight, as well as fabricating events
  • Hallucinations

Wet brain is a serious condition of the brain, and can lead to a loss of consciousness, coma, or even death. Though the people afflicted with this illness can die as a direct result of it, malnutrition, accidents and an inability to recognise danger or care for themselves as a result of the condition may also prove fatal.
It is important not to confuse the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal with wet brain. Symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Seizures

Wet brain is caused by a deficiency of vitamin B1, also known as thiamine. This is a common complication that can be caused by nutritional poverty, or much more commonly- prolonged heavy drinking. Thiamine deficiency can lead to brain damage, heart damage as well as nerve damage. Though alcohol consumption isn’t inherently destructive, the effects of persistent long-term abuse can have serious health complications. This can be the cause of daily drinking or binge drinking, it is not one or the other that is particularly dangerous but rather overall volume.

It has been theorised that some people may have a genetic pre-disposition to developing wet brain. If a family member has developed the condition it may be a good idea to cut alcohol consumption or stop it completely. There is also substantial evidence that suggests that alcoholism may also be genetic, those with an alcoholic family member may be more predisposed to problem drinking.


Whether or not wet brain can be effectively treated is entirely dependent on how far the disease has progressed. When treated promptly, the individual can see improvements in cognition as well as muscle functioning and orientation. Treatment is done through supplementing thiamine intravenously and/or orally. The most imperative course of action is that alcohol consumption stops.

In order to diagnose wet brain a medical professional should be consulted. An ECG, CT scan or an MRI may be needed to confirm a diagnosis, as well as to determine the best course of medical treatment going forwards. It is however imperative to seek treatment for alcoholism – the underlying cause. Should a person with wet brain continue to drink, the degradation of the structures within the brain will persist. With the mental decline that occurs with wet brain, it is important to remember that the ill person may not be in the best position to determine their own course of treatment. Contact us, for a free assessment to see what the best course of action may be in assisting your loved one. The road to recovery is not always an easy one but getting yourself or your loved one the best 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 is 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.

www.crossroadsrecovery.co.za

074 89 51043 JHB

012 450 5033 PTA

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  • The encouragement, love and support from the team at Crossroads allowed me to eventually see that I was worth something - that my life could be turned around and that I could accomplish the things that had long been a forgotten dream.
    Oliver VG
    Read more
  • On the last day of my stint at Crossroads I could only express gratitude towards all who works there. A wise councillor once commented on my question when one is ready for rehab by explaining that when one is ready for rehab, rehab is ready for you.
    Johan B
    Read more
  • I was lost and my soul was broken until I ended up at Crossroads and was introduced to the Twelve Steps. With the help of their excellent staff and amazing support I have recently been clean for 18 months, I could not have done it without them!
    Carla S
    Read more
  • "Just for today I am more than three years in recovery. I have Cross Roads to thank for this wonderful gift. Cross Roads helped me to set a firm foundation in my recovery on which I can continue to build."
    Angelique J
    Read more
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What Is Drug Addiction?

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What Is Drug Addiction?

30 June, 2021Articles, News

Drug addiction is a disease that affects your brain and behaviour. When you’re addicted to drugs, you can’t resist the urge to use them, no matter how much harm the drugs may cause to you and those around you.

Drug addiction isn’t about just heroin, cocaine, or other illegal drugs. You can get addicted to alcohol, nicotine, opioid painkillers, and other legal substances.

Drug addiction is a complex neurobiological disease that requires integrated treatment of the mind, body, and spirit. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain structure and how it works.

Individuals struggling with drug addiction often feel as though they cannot function normally without their drug of choice. This can lead to a wide range of issues that impact professional goals, personal relationships, and overall health. Over time, these serious side-effects can be progressive, and if left untreated, sometimes fatal.

Addiction vs. Abuse
Drug abuse is when you use legal or illegal substances in ways you shouldn’t. You may abuse drugs to feel good, ease stress, or avoid reality. However, usually, you’re able to change your unhealthy habits or stop using altogether.

Addiction is when you can’t stop. Not when it puts your health in danger. Not when it causes financial, emotional, and other problems for you or your loved ones. That urge to get and use drugs can fill up every minute of the day, even if you want to quit.

Addiction and Your Brain

The drugs that may be addictive target your brain’s reward system. They flood your brain with a chemical called dopamine. This triggers a feeling of intense pleasure. So you keep taking the drug to chase that high.

Over time, your brain gets used to the extra dopamine. So you might need to take more of the drug to get the same good feeling. Other things you enjoyed, like food and hanging out with family, may give you less pleasure.

Who is Most Likely to Become Addicted?

Not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted to them. But it can happen to anyone and at any age. Some things may raise your chances of addiction, including:

  • Family history. Your genes are responsible for about half of your odds. If your parents or siblings have problems with alcohol or drugs, you’re more likely to as well. Women and men are equally likely to become addicted.
  • Early drug use. Children’s brains are still growing, and drug use can change that. Taking drugs at an early age may make you more likely to become addicted as you get older.

Signs of Addiction

You may have one or more of these warning signs:

  • An urge to use the drug every day or many times a day.
  • You take more drugs than you want to and for longer than you thought you would.
  • You always have the drug with you, and you buy it even if you can’t afford it.
  • You keep using drugs even if it causes you trouble at work or makes you lash out at family and friends.
  • You spend more time alone.
  • You don’t take care of yourself or care how you look.
  • You steal, lie, or do dangerous things like driving while high or have unsafe sex.
  • You spend most of your time getting, using or recovering from the effects of the drug.
  • You feel sick when you try to quit.

There is no cure for addiction, but people can and do recover, if you or a loved one need assistance – 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 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 is 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.

www.crossroadsrecovery.co.za

074 89 51043 JHB

012 450 5033 PTA

RESOURCES

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/drug-abuse-addiction#1

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  • The encouragement, love and support from the team at Crossroads allowed me to eventually see that I was worth something - that my life could be turned around and that I could accomplish the things that had long been a forgotten dream.
    Oliver VG
    Read more
  • On the last day of my stint at Crossroads I could only express gratitude towards all who works there. A wise councillor once commented on my question when one is ready for rehab by explaining that when one is ready for rehab, rehab is ready for you.
    Johan B
    Read more
  • I was lost and my soul was broken until I ended up at Crossroads and was introduced to the Twelve Steps. With the help of their excellent staff and amazing support I have recently been clean for 18 months, I could not have done it without them!
    Carla S
    Read more
  • "Just for today I am more than three years in recovery. I have Cross Roads to thank for this wonderful gift. Cross Roads helped me to set a firm foundation in my recovery on which I can continue to build."
    Angelique J
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The Four Stages of Alcoholism

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The Four Stages of Alcoholism

09 June, 2021Articles, News

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be an alcoholic, then recognizing the stages of alcoholism may help you weigh the options available to you for detoxification and treatment. The four phases of alcoholism were defined by E. Morton Jellinek, a scientific researcher who did extensive work on alcoholism and was a major contributor to the modern view of alcoholism as a biological, not moral, failing. The alcoholism stages are: pre-alcoholic, early alcoholic, middle alcoholic, and late alcoholic.

Stage One: Pre-Alcoholic

During the pre-alcoholic stage, there is little evidence of problem drinking. Much of the behaviour during this phase would look normal to a casual observer. Drinking is primarily social at the beginning of this stage. However, as this stage progresses; drinking is used with increasingly greater frequency as a means for stress reduction. The major physiological characteristic of this phase is that the person begins to develop a tolerance for alcohol. This means that he or she can drink ever larger amounts of alcohol while still functioning. Eventually, it takes large amounts of alcohol to result in inebriation. If you are wondering if you are in the pre-alcoholic stage, ask yourself if you drink to make yourself feel better, or if you drink because the people around you are drinking and it is socially appropriate. If you are drinking manageable amounts in social settings, than you most likely do not need to be overly worried. However, if you are drinking to make yourself feel better, to avoid worrying, to forget bad memories, or to reduce anxiety, you may be in the pre-alcoholic stage. Also be wary of drinking to relieve physical pain, which can escalate. If you are drinking to dull physical pain, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the problem.

Stage Two: Early Alcoholic

After you have suffered your first alcohol related blackout, you are in the early alcoholic stage. This stage is characterized by a growing discomfort with drinking combined with an inability to resist it. You may find yourself lying about drinking to friends or loved ones. You might also hide drinks, perhaps spiking your soda or coffee when no one else is around. During this stage, your tolerance of alcohol continues to grow. You may also become obsessed with thoughts of alcohol.

Stage Three: Middle Alcoholic

In the middle alcoholic stage the symptoms of alcoholism usually become obvious to friend and family members. You may begin missing work or social obligations because of drinking or hangovers. You might drink at inappropriate times, such as when caring for your children, driving, or at work. You may also become increasingly irritable, arguing with your spouse or friends. Your body will begin to change because of alcohol abuse. You may develop facial redness, stomach bloating, sluggishness, weight gain, or weight loss. In this stage, you may make several attempts to stop drinking and even attend support groups. Support groups, as well as other forms of treatment, can be effective. Many who struggle with alcohol abuse are able to successfully control urges to drink with help.

Stage Four: Late Alcoholic

During the late alcoholic stage, the effects of long-term alcohol abuse are apparent, and serious health problems may develop. Drinking becomes an all-day affair, and everything in life, including family and friends, takes a backseat to drinking. If job loss has not already occurred, it frequently happens in this stage. Diseases caused by drinking may develop, such as cirrhosis of the liver or dementia. Paranoia is characteristic of this stage, as well. Late-stage alcoholics might also become overly fearful and not be able to explain why. Attempts to stop drinking may be characterized by tremors or hallucinations. However, even the last stages of alcoholism can be helped with therapy, detoxification, and rehabilitation.

If you or a loved one needs assistance with an 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, contact us for a free assessment.

www.crossroadsrecovery.co.za

074 89 51043 JHB

012 450 5033 PTA

Resources

Alcohol.org. 2018. Alcoholic Types. The Four Stages of Alcoholism. https://www.alcohol.org/alcoholism-types/stages/

Written by: Taleen Heath

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Stories of Recovery

  • The encouragement, love and support from the team at Crossroads allowed me to eventually see that I was worth something - that my life could be turned around and that I could accomplish the things that had long been a forgotten dream.
    Oliver VG
    Read more
  • On the last day of my stint at Crossroads I could only express gratitude towards all who works there. A wise councillor once commented on my question when one is ready for rehab by explaining that when one is ready for rehab, rehab is ready for you.
    Johan B
    Read more
  • I was lost and my soul was broken until I ended up at Crossroads and was introduced to the Twelve Steps. With the help of their excellent staff and amazing support I have recently been clean for 18 months, I could not have done it without them!
    Carla S
    Read more
  • "Just for today I am more than three years in recovery. I have Cross Roads to thank for this wonderful gift. Cross Roads helped me to set a firm foundation in my recovery on which I can continue to build."
    Angelique J
    Read more
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