How Do I Know If I Need Help?
Alcohol abuse causes several dangerous long-term effects and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Learn how to recognize the signs and get help.
Why Alcohol Can Be A Problem
Alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances to consume, with both short-term and long-term effects. Because of its ability to relax and help those loosen inhibitions, 18 million people have battled an alcohol use disorder recently, suffering both short and long-term effects of alcoholism. Short-term drinking can lead to risky behavior, being hungover, or having slurred speech. Long-term drinking includes side effects of liver, heart, and brain damage, and withdrawal symptoms that can range from depression to anxiety, as well as developing strained relationships.
If expecting mothers drink, they can endanger the life of their unborn child, which can lead to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, sudden infant death syndrome, and for some, miscarriages. Depending on the stages of alcohol abuse, cirrhosis of the liver can cause death. Being proactive and knowing when it is time to get help can be a decision that could save a life.
How Do I Know If I Need Help? Things To Consider
Understanding whether or not you or your loved one battles an alcohol use disorder can be challenging for several reasons. Signs can be clear in determining whether or not to discontinue drinking. For example, drinking to ease stress after stressful times, and noticing an increase in drinking habits can signal a much-needed intervention or a call to action. With alcohol’s addictive qualities and its effect on the body and mind, controlling drinking can be challenging.
Discovering the type of drinker you are can clarify what type of help you get. If you’re a woman and you drink 4 or more drinks in a two-hour sitting, or a man who drinks 5 or more in a two-hour sitting, you’re a binge drinker. Binge drinking can transform into heavy drinking when someone drinks much more alcohol and drinks more often. Moreover, heavy drinking can produce tolerance, increase cravings, produce withdrawal, and become more complicated over time.
Recognizing The Signs of Alcoholism: Withdrawal
Additionally, if you have become dependent or tolerant on alcohol, you may discover withdrawal symptoms that can arise. When withdrawal symptoms occur, this is a clear sign of needing medical assistance for alcohol abuse.
When someone drinks often, indulges in binge or heavy drinking, their dependence or tolerance to drinking large amounts of alcohol can make it difficult to stop. Furthermore, alcohol consumption can change the brain’s chemical composition, causing cravings and withdrawal symptoms that can last weeks or months.
There are several ways to measure if you or your loved one’s drinking requires rehab or intervention. Being able to recognize the signs of alcohol abuse can save a life. One of the most defining ways of establishing this is recognizing withdrawal symptoms. Such symptoms arise from those who have been drinking for longer time frames, and include but are not limited to:
Delirium Tremens is another rare but powerful side effect of excessive alcohol use that lasts for days. The side effects include visual and audio hallucinations, high blood pressure, heavy sweating and confusion.
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How Do I Know If I Need Help? Assessing Your Drinking Patterns
Awareness of drinking may be a challenge, as it requires honesty, as well as a commitment to change. If you have had close people show concern for your drinking, or have felt your drinking has become a problem, or wish to understand how you can self-assess your drinking, you can consider the following questions:
Have I been unable to cut back on the amount I drink?
Do I combine alcohol with a prescription or synthetic drugs?
When I stop drinking, do I think about drinking more?
Am I moody or irritable when I am sober?
How many drinks have I had in a 2-hour timeframe?
Such questions can signal moderate and problematic drinking conditions, but not necessarily alcohol use disorders. Despite this, such answers to questions can allow you to track your drinking and determine if it is getting worse. For more concerning instances with alcohol abuse, where you have developed strained relationships with loved ones, have suffered poor academic or career performance, you may have a bigger problem with drinking. Consider the following questions that can signal an alcohol use disorder:
Am I increasing my drinking amount?
Have I developed health-related conditions due to excessive drinking?
Have I spent a lot of money supporting a drinking habit?
Do I hide my drinking patterns from loved ones?
Have loved ones mentioned I should stop drinking?
Have I gotten in trouble with the law or have legal problems because of drinking?
Have I had more cravings for drinking?
Have I blacked out while drinking?
Do I experience withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop drinking?
At this stage, getting help or having an intervention may help as these indicate more serious drinking patterns.
How Treatment Helps
Treatment offers medically-assisted detox with hands-on care and monitoring. Patients receive medication to relieve cravings for alcoholism, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and Librium for withdrawal symptoms for example. Additionally, individuals have added support with peer groups like Alcoholics Anonymous that allow individuals to open up about alcoholism.
Get The Treatment You Deserve
Battling alcoholism can be detrimental in several ways. Fortunately, there is much support available for those seeking it. If you or a loved one needs help, contact a treatment provider to discuss rehab options.
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