Alcoholism is an issue which many individuals face, affecting both themselves and those around them. Alcohol is a drug and just like any other drug, it can be addictive.
Unfortunately, not everyone knows they are facing the problem of alcoholism until it is too late.
The main goal is to create awareness of this addiction as well as taking action. In this article, we will be speaking about alcoholism and rehab, as well as understanding the significance of rehabilitation.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is defined as alcohol dependency.
By this, we mean that the body is dependent on alcohol to function and if this is not delivered then the individual will begin to crave the substance. For those suffering with alcoholism, it is a mental and physical battle to go without alcohol. It can take over a person’s life.
What is Rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation is a system used to help those struggling with addiction or other issues which prevent people from living a healthy life.
There are different reasons for going to rehab. It can be for those needing to gain their physical or mental strength back after suffering from an injury or, in this case, for those suffering with addiction.
Addiction can be classed as anything from food addiction to alcohol addiction to Class A drug addiction. Whatever the issue, rehabilitation is there to guide those who need help back to health, allowing them to live socially in society.
Signs of Alcohol Dependency
The hardest part is acceptance, so because of this not many people realize that they are suffering with alcoholism. However, there are many clear signs to show that a person is dependent on alcohol even if they choose not to accept it.
Below, we will be listing some of the many signs of alcohol dependency. Once this step has been acknowledged, you will then be able to make positive changes.
We will first concentrate on the behavioral signs of alcohol dependency. When it comes to the social aspects, this is something that the alcoholic will most likely not acknowledge compared to those around them.
Being dependent on alcohol means to place alcohol in front of everything else, and this leads to a change in the way a person acts and behaves.
Some behaviors include:
- Avoiding contact with friends and family
- Poor work ethic (e.g., bad attendance, unproductive)
- Losing passion for once loved activities
- Drinking at inappropriate times (e.g., drinking with breakfast)
- Not controlling level of drinking
As well as behavioral, we also have physical signs. It is typical for an alcoholic to think nothing of their alcohol consumption when it is simply physical, but when more signs come into play such as physical, that is when the level of concern should rise.
Some physical signs include:
- Building a tolerance (these people will drink more to “feel drunk” because of this)
- Change of appetite leading to obvious change in weight
- Reduced care for self (not caring about personal hygiene or their appearance)
Finally, we have psychological problems. Alcohol is a powerful drug, and this power can cause a person to become mentally vulnerable.
If a person is to change mentally because of their alcohol consumption, this is a vivid sign of alcoholism and is something which should be addressed immediately.
It is important for the mind to stay healthy before it goes too far.
Some psychological signs include:
- Mood swings
- Stress (often uses alcohol as a stress reliever)
- Intense cravings
It is important for those with an alcohol dependency to take action, but the road to recovery is slow and steady. In this next section, we will be highlighting the steps which need to be taken in a rehabilitation setting to prepare you for this major life change.
The first step on the road to recovery is awareness, and this step will be one of the most difficult especially for those around you. It is common that those with the alcohol dependency will not acknowledge the problem at hand so will shrug it off as a normal habit.
This, of course, is a toxic thought process. As explained prior, the first hurdle is acceptance. Only after the individual accepts their alcoholism can they put in the work to remove alcohol from their lives.
When it comes to being aware, it is usually friends and family who notice when alcohol is becoming a problem. As a loved one, it is their duty to speak to the alcoholic, stating that they have developed an addiction and that they should seek rehabilitation.
At this point, it is usual for the individual to show signs of denial, lashing out emotionally and placing blame on others but themselves.
As alcohol has become a daily routine, it can be difficult for them to acknowledge the severity of the issue – that is why promoting awareness is a vital step.
Eventually, the individual will turn up to sessions, but this is not for themselves. They may still not agree that they should be rehabilitated and feel forced.
The second step is recognition. By this point, the individual will have recognized the severity of their alcohol problem and feel they need to partake in steps to recovery.
It is essential to highlight that this does not necessarily mean that they are ready to go to rehab, but simply that they acknowledge they need help. As a loved one, it is important to go at their pace as this may only lead to more stress which will not help their addiction.
Giving up an addiction is not easy, so it is common for an alcoholic to go back and forth on their feelings of receiving help. Whilst one day they may feel motivated to make a change, on other days they may be at their lowest points.
This stage of recovery is uncomfortable and can last a very long time, however this is still an improvement from not wanting to receive any help at all.
Eventually, this person will be ready to take action and attend rehab. Rehabilitation takes a lot of patience and strength and can be the hardest time for many. During this time, this person needs to commit to removing alcohol from their lives as well as committing to attending sessions and wanting to make a change.
Depending on the program, sessions will vary. Commonly, people are encouraged to speak openly, stating that they are an alcoholic. This is a time to also speak about emotions, feelings and experiences to certified therapists.
However, the hardest step is to cut alcohol from your life altogether. This alcohol detox will be monitored to avoid potential risks for the individual and during this time it is typical for them to experience withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms can vary from mild to serious. In the first 6 hours of refraining from drinking, the individual may experience anxiety, shaky hands, nausea, sweating. Between 48 and 72 hours of not drinking, the withdrawal will worsen.
Some potential symptoms include hallucinations, fever, heavy sweating, high blood pressure, a racing heart.
It is crucial to monitor the person once these withdrawal symptoms kick in as this is the point where many people give in to the alcohol cravings. Commitment is key and one of the most important steps of rehabilitation.
The final step is abstinence. At this stage, the individual will not be dependent on alcohol anymore and will have successfully cut alcohol from their life. However, this will take a long time to get to this stage (as long as years).
Withdrawal symptoms can last months and cravings will still be there, so complete abstinence from alcohol is a long process which cannot be rushed.
Even after being alcohol free and “recovered”, it is still important to keep track of this for the rest of your life. Alcoholism can be controlled but it can also always sneak back into a person’s life.
For rehabilitation to be effective, it is important to remember the lessons learnt during rehab and apply that to your everyday life as a recovered addict.
Alcoholism is a powerful addiction which controls too many people’s lives. Not only is it damaging to them physically and mentally, but it damages relationships with loved ones.
Rehabilitation is the best place to turn when suffering with an addiction such as alcoholism and although it may be challenging, rehab can truly change a person’s life. If you are someone who needs help with alcohol addiction, do not be afraid to reach out.