Symptoms, Consequences and Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol addiction is defined by a person’s inability to control their drinking habits. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, addiction can be assessed or diagnosed based on several clear signs and symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Needing more alcohol to achieve the same desired effect
- Feeling an inability to control how much or how often alcohol is consumed
- Feeling symptoms of withdrawal when the effects of alcohol wear off
- Severe changes in physical appearance or hygiene
- Exhibiting reckless and risky behavior
- Neglecting hobbies and other interests in favor or drinking alcohol
- Continuing heavy drinking habits despite relationship problems
Consequences of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol abuse has many consequences that spill over into all areas of life, affecting a person’s physical, psychological and social well-being.
Health problems caused by alcohol abuse can include:
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Bone loss
- Vision problems
- Weakened immune system
- Increased risk of cancer
Alcohol addiction can also lead to (or contribute to) psychological problems, such as:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Low self-esteem
A variety of social problems may also come as a result of alcohol addiction, including:
- Relationship problems
- Financial insecurity
- Violent behavior
Treatment Options for Alcohol Addiction
According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 21.7 million people in America aged 12 or older needed substance abuse treatment in the past year. Of those who did not receive any type of substance abuse treatment, about 95 percent of them did not think they needed it. Convincing a loved one that they need help is the first step.
Once a person admits they have a problem and decides to get help, there are several different types of alcohol addiction treatment options to investigate. The most fitting option for any individual is always contingent on their circumstances. These may include:
- Their willingness to enroll in a program
- Their prior treatment and relapse history
- Their motivation for seeking treatment
- Their financial capabilities
A clinical counselor or substance abuse treatment specialist may be able to help you determine the appropriate level of care for you or your loved one. Based on their needs, they may be better served with one or more of the following types of alcohol addiction programs.
Medically assisted alcohol detox programs help clients withdrawal safely after discontinuing the consumption of alcohol. Detox programs are individually designed based on the results of a comprehensive need-finding assessment and a multidisciplinary treatment team addresses each aspect of the client’s addiction—physical, emotional, and psychological. During detox, a client may also begin attending individual and group counseling sessions to process emotional responses to detox and discuss options for continued care.
Clients enrolled in a residential inpatient treatment program at Nova live in our facility for at least 90 days. High-quality residential programs combine 12-step facilitation therapy with behavioral and clinical treatment to provide individualized comprehensive care for people who are addicted to alcohol. Daily schedules are very structured and often include individual therapy, group counseling, meal time and personal time. Long-term programs last at least 90 days and provide the optimal amount of comprehensive care to encourage lasting sobriety.
Outpatient addiction treatment is ideal for those who cannot commit to living at a treatment facility for an extended period of time due to other obligations, such as work or school. Clients meet regularly at a convenient location several times each week to connect with their peer groups and work through the 12-step principles of recovery. Outpatient treatment also provides valuable chemical dependency education, self-awareness, and life skills and tools clients can use to continue living out their sobriety.
Sober living programs provide a sober, structured community environment that allows clients the freedom to ease back into mainstream living at a comfortable pace. Clients are required to live by the rules and standards of the community but are otherwise free to come and go as they please. Sober living homes come in all shapes and sizes and clients continue their individual and group therapy sessions throughout the duration of their program. This provides ongoing community support and accountability during a very vulnerable time in early recovery.
Even after a client has transitioned back into independent, sober life, they will still need support to maintain lifelong sobriety. Aftercare offers clinical and peer support to help clients face stressful or emotional events in life that might otherwise lead them back down a road of substance abuse. Aftercare programs also provide clients with the chance to encourage and support their peers by sharing their own life experiences in recovery. Clients in aftercare typically meet once a week for group sessions.
These four types of alcohol addiction programs can be combined to provide a fully comprehensive, long-term recovery program that bridges the gap from residential treatment to independent sober living.
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