When someone is referred to as an alcoholic, it often means they are viewed as having a problem with alcohol. They either drink too much, drink too often, or maybe they drink too much too often. However, having a negative relationship with alcohol does not necessarily mean someone meets the diagnostic criteria for alcoholism. The diagnostic criteria for alcoholism also referred to as an alcohol use disorder, are outlined in the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Alcoholism is an illness that does not discriminate. Across the United States, millions of Americans (some as young as age 12) struggle with alcohol use disorders to varying degrees of severity. According to data provided by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly 17 million American adults over the age of 18 meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder. In addition, another one million American adolescents and teens (between the ages of 12 and 17) struggle with alcohol use disorder which could benefit from comprehensive addiction treatments and supported recovery.
What Is Alcoholism?
Broken down in its simplest terms, alcoholism is the most severe form of alcohol abuse. It is characterized by the inability to manage drinking habits and is often broken into three categories: mild, moderate, and severe. Each category has various symptoms; however, even the “mildest” alcohol use disorders can lead to significant physical and psychological challenges if left untreated.
When someone struggles with an alcohol use disorder, they will often feel as though they cannot function in their day-to-day tasks without alcohol. This often leads to significant issues in their personal and professional lives, including damaged relationships, loss of employment, and significant medical difficulties.
How to Recover From Alcoholism
Acknowledging your struggle with alcohol and choosing to seek treatment is one of the most challenging decisions an alcoholic will ever voluntarily make. Depending on your specific treatment needs and goals, there are several different forms of treatment available based on the severity and duration of your addiction.
Someone who struggles with a moderate to severe addiction to alcohol will inevitably experience withdrawal symptoms when they reduce or stop drinking. In some cases, these withdrawal symptoms can be overwhelming and sometimes even life-threatening. For this reason, it is essential to seek treatment in an inpatient residential setting where medically assisted detox is available. During detox, a trained team of medical and mental health providers will monitor you throughout the process providing therapy, support, and, if necessary, medications to help reduce the intensity of the most severe withdrawal symptoms. Once detox is complete, you can easily transition into a therapeutic treatment program to learn more about the roots of your addiction and how to begin your journey towards sobriety.
Those with a milder addiction may benefit from outpatient therapy programs or from attending community support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Many outpatient programs offer detox services; however, not all offer medically assisted detox as many of the medications used during the process must be administered under medical supervision. However, many individuals seeking addiction treatment for the first time have found significant benefit in the outpatient treatment model or by attending weekly support group meetings where they can interact with like-minded peers who share the same sobriety goals.
Reach Out to Rise in Malibu Today
Choosing to seek addiction treatment is not easy. The decision often comes with many questions, fears, and concerns. For many, the idea of leaving behind family and friends to seek treatment is problematic. In other cases, worries about stigma limit one’s willingness to seek potentially life-saving addiction treatment. The ability to achieve and maintain sobriety requires dedication and commitment before, during, and after treatment. If you are ready to begin your sobriety journey, reach out to the admissions team at Rise in Malibu today.