Due to the fact that it is quite acceptable and normal for people to enjoy an occasional drink that it can be difficult to know if an individual has a problem with alcohol. Although some of the signs of alcohol abuse are very recognizable, others can be harder to identify. Additionally, the severity of alcohol abuse also plays a role in the kind of warning signs a person will exhibit. For example, when a person has reached a certain stage of alcoholism, they may go to great lengths to conceal alcohol use, making it hard for others to intervene and help them.
It is naturally easier to overlook mild alcohol abuse than it is more severe cases although, in reality, alcoholism is easier to treat in the early stages. This makes it important to motivate people to seek an alcohol recovery program or 12 step treatment center sooner rather than later and so the early warning signs should not be ignored.
The Common Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol abuse can spiral beyond control if individuals don’t reach out to a 12 step treatment center or an alternative alcohol recovery program. Alcohol use disorder or AUD is generally diagnosed when a person has started to see the negative impacts of alcohol abuse in their lives. While there is no “rule of thumb” in determining if a person has alcoholism, it is important to remember that even displaying one symptom may lead to another developing as time goes by. Among the most common symptoms of alcohol abuse are the following:
- Short-term memory loss and blackouts
- Extreme mood swings and irritability
- Defending the need to drink by claiming it is for relaxation or to reduce stress
- Choosing to drink rather than carry out responsibilities and obligations at home or work
- Withdrawing and becoming isolated from loved ones and close friends
- Concealing drink in unusual places around the home or office and drinking alone
- Feeling nauseous or hungover when not using alcohol
- A change in personal appearance and the people the individual mixes with socially
When determining if an individual has alcoholism, screening tools such as CAGE are used to measure the severity of the illness. CAGE comprises four questions and if a person answers “yes” to more than two of them, they are recommended to enter a 12 step treatment center or an alternative alcohol recovery program. The four questions used are:
- Have you ever made a decision to reduce alcohol consumption?
- Have you been annoyed by others commenting or criticizing your drinking?
- Have you ever felt guilty about drinking?
- Have you ever started the day with alcohol to calm your nerves or as a hangover cure?
CAGE is just one of the mechanisms used to encourage people to recognize the symptoms of AUD in themselves. This is very important as part of accepting the need for treatment.
The Dangers of Alcoholism
AUD can lead to problems on several levels of a person’s life and also serious health complications caused by prolonged alcohol abuse. Despite our better understanding of alcoholism and the wealth of treatment options available at alcohol 12 step rehab programs and non-12 step alcohol addiction treatment centers, many individuals fail to seek the treatment they need for a whole host of reasons.
Whereas in the past, society’s attitude towards alcoholism may have been that it showed some kind of character flaw, we now understand it as an illness. Alcoholism is a form of addiction illness that has hugely negative ramifications for sufferers and it is often these damaging effects that prevent them from reaching out for help. Relationships are destroyed; professional careers disrupted and financial health severely damaged unless individuals are able to take on the challenges of treatment.
Denial is another reason people fail to get help for alcoholism or AUD. Many people will try and defend their drinking or rationalize it to others. It is quite characteristic for someone with AUD to apportion blame for their drinking elsewhere. It is always someone else’s fault or an external influence that “made” them drink to excess, whereas the fact is it is their alcoholism itself that is compelling them to drink.
Treatment Options for Alcoholism
According to the latest stats, there are around 15,000 alcohol treatment centers across the country. Each alcohol 12 step rehab program or alternative alcohol addiction treatment center will have its own range of services available, which makes it important to thoroughly research what’s available before committing to a program. A strong focus on natural holistic methods of treating alcoholism has been shown to be very effective in promoting long-term sobriety.
Mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation in combination with holistic treatments like massage therapy, aromatherapy, physical fitness and nutritional awareness each offer unique benefits for patients overcoming alcoholism. Whereas the majority of alcohol addiction treatment centers offer a short detox program, holistic centers may allow people to cleanse their bodies over a recommended 30-day period. We believe that when individuals have become addicted to substances as powerful as alcohol, their bodies respond much better to our natural approach to healing.