The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) suggests that more than eighteen million youth and adults in the US have alcohol use disorders of varying severity. Alcoholism is not a problem created overnight. It emerges out of long-term alcohol misuse and abuse. For most adults, the occasional drink with friends or a glass of wine with dinner is not a cause for concern. Yet when alcohol consumption becomes uncontrollable, addiction and alcoholism could develop.
What is Alcoholism?
The physical and psychological urge or need to drink is the root symptom of alcoholism. Once an alcohol addiction has developed, the physical cravings for alcohol are often so overwhelming that it becomes debilitating. When you struggle with alcoholism, you need to drink constantly to alleviate the physical discomfort associated with not having alcohol in your body. In addition to physical cravings, if you try to reduce or stop drinking, you will experience withdrawal symptoms. It can be unpleasant and even dangerous if you try to stop drinking without the support and guidance of a professional addiction treatment team.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th Edition) lists eleven criteria for alcohol use disorders (AUD). Medical and mental health professionals use the criteria in the DSM to assess the presence and severity of an AUD or alcoholism. It is not necessary to experience all eleven to meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol addiction. Generally, two or three signs identify a mild alcohol use disorder; four or five are considered moderate, and six or more symptoms indicate a severe alcohol use disorder. Seeking treatment at an alcohol addiction rehab provides the safest way to detox and get sober.
What are the Signs of Alcoholism?
Although the signs and symptoms of alcoholism will present differently from person to person, there are several common early indicators to be aware of. The first is excessive or “out of control” drinking. This can include binge drinking (drinking a significant about in one sitting) or frequent heavy drinking. The definition of heavy or excessive drinking will vary based on biological gender and various other factors. Although occasional excessive drinking is not indicative of alcoholism, it does increase one’s risk for developing an alcohol use disorder.
In addition to the above, other possible indicators of an alcohol use disorder or alcoholism may include drinking to the point of “blacking out” (getting “blackout” drunk), frequent intoxication, drinking in private, mood or behavior changes that occur when drinking, engaging in risky behavior when drinking or choosing to drink over other obligations such as work or family responsibilities. Any of these changes or other changes to your friend or loved one’s typical behavior when alcohol is involved may indicate a potential problem with alcohol. If you are concerned, it is essential to encourage them to contact an alcohol addiction treatment center for help.
What are the Causes of Alcoholism?
When someone frequently drinks over an extended time, alcoholism often develops. Long-term excessive drinking leads to a dependency on alcohol for your body to “function” and complete daily tasks. When you have alcoholism or an alcohol use disorder, drinking often becomes your first priority. Many who struggle with alcoholism will drink regardless of knowing ongoing alcohol abuse leads to several harmful consequences.
Despite ongoing research, science has yet to identify a single cause of alcoholism. However, research has shown that alcoholism generally develops from long-term, excessive or frequent drinking. As someone continues to drink more frequently and in more significant amounts, the structure and function of their brain undergoes dramatic changes. These changes are the key reason drinking causes feelings of pleasure. They are also the reason why someone with an alcohol use disorder wants to drink more frequently and more often. As long-term excessive drinking continues, you will experience withdrawal symptoms if you don’t consume alcohol. Unfortunately, alcoholics often drink more to dull the intensity of withdrawal symptoms.
How to Find Alcohol Addiction Treatment
If your loved one struggles with alcohol addiction, there are many things you can do to get treatment for a drinking problem. The journey to recovery from alcohol addiction will look different for each person. Someone who struggles with a mild addiction may experience fewer complications or challenges than someone with a severe addiction, dual diagnosis, or a chronic relapsing disorder. The safest and most effective way to get sober is with help from the caring and supporting treatment professionals at Rise in Malibu. To learn more about our luxury Malibu addiction rehab and how we can help you, contact us today.