It’s no secret that alcohol abuse is a common problem in households across the country, affecting families and individuals from all backgrounds and walks of life. With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to learn more about what alcoholism is and how it may be affecting someone you love this National Alcohol Awareness Month. Doing so could be the first step in getting you or a loved one the life-saving treatment you need.
What Is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism, also referred to as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), occurs when an individual compulsively abuses the substance, despite its negative physical, emotional, and relational consequences. AUD is an extremely complex and personal disease caused by a myriad of factors, including the person’s genetics, environment, and lifestyle choices. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, “more than 14 million people aged 12 and older had an AUD in 2017, with AUD occurring in 7% of males and 3.8% of females aged 12 and older.” It is estimated that more than 2,200 people die due to alcohol poisoning every year, an average of 6 people every day.
What Are the Symptoms of Alcoholism?
To be diagnosed with AUD, a person must exhibit at least two of the following criteria in a 12-month period:
- Being unable to stop drinking or cut back even if they want to
- Strong cravings to consume alcohol
- Spending substantial amounts of time drinking or recovering from drinking
- Continuing to drink alcohol despite negative consequences of drinking, such as relationship or professional problems
- Putting themselves or others in dangerous situations while drinking, such as driving or using machinery
- Needing to consume higher amounts of alcohol to feel its effects
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking, such as nausea, shaking, or sweating
Despite what some people may assume, being addicted to alcohol isn’t just about how much a person drinks. It is how alcohol affects their daily lives and relationships, including how often they drink, the way they behave when their drinking, and the consequences that ensue when they try to avoid alcohol. Learn more about the symptoms during National Alcohol Awareness Month.
Common behavioral indicators that a person may have a drinking problem include:
- Hiding or lying about how much they drink
- Drinking alone or at strange times of day
- Making excuses for drinking
- Being agitated when questioned about how much they drink
- Having legal, professional, or relationship problems because of drinking
- Feeling guilty about how much they drink
Along with how the person feels, behaves, and interacts with others while drinking, someone struggling with AUD will undoubtedly display physical symptoms as well. Learn what these symptoms are during National Alcohol Awareness Month, such as:
- Mood swings, anxiety, and/or depression
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Appetite changes
- Bloodshot eyes
- Broken capillaries on their nose and face
Recovery Is Possible
If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol addiction, seek professional help soon. While AUD can seem like an impossible mountain to climb, it is possible to live a healthy, happy life without drinking, but you shouldn’t try to go at it alone. Choosing to work with a professional rehabilitation center is the best way to handle AUD quickly, safely, and, most importantly, effectively. Because AUD is such a nuanced disease, recovery won’t look the same for any two people. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatment options during National Alcohol Awareness Month, including:
- Inpatient Treatment: The person will stay in a residential facility with access to medical intervention, counseling, and round-the-clock observation in order to detox, undergo therapy, and learn long-term coping skills.
- Outpatient Treatment: For people with less-severe addictions or circumstances where inpatient treatment is not an option, outpatient treatment offers the same programs as an inpatient in a limited capacity while the person continues living at home.
Learn More About National Alcohol Awareness Month
Because addiction to alcohol is both mental and physical, getting sober may be easier said than done. With over 30 years of helping families get past addiction, the experienced team at Fairwinds Treatment Center is here to help you every step of the way. Contact us today to start your treatment for alcoholism. Recovery from AUD may not be easy, but it will certainly be worth it to regain your health and happiness.