What Is Alcohol Addiction?
Many individuals abuse alcohol daily and don’t understand the gravity of the destruction that this substance is doing. According to the NIAAA, alcohol addiction is defined as “a chronic and relapsing disorder associated with compulsive alcohol drinking, the loss of control over intake, and the emergence of a negative emotional state when alcohol is no longer available.”
Alcohol has an extremely powerful effect on the brain and can temporarily numb negative emotions. Because alcohol affects the brain’s pleasure centers and gives the illusion that it helps manage stress, individuals may continually consume alcohol because it makes them ‘feel good’ or ‘forget about their worries.’ This then leads to compulsive drinking habits which, in turn, results in dependency and addiction over time. The repetition of drinking actually has the opposite effect of relieving stress and, in fact, creates stress and anxiety. At this point, however, the individual may already be in the toxic habit and vicious cycle of alcohol consumption.
There are different stages to the disease of alcoholism, just as there are different stages to other diseases. These stages include:
- Stage 1: Pre-alcoholic, binge stage
- Stage 2: Early alcohol, negative effects, and withdrawal
- Stage 3: Chronic alcoholic, anticipation stage
- Stage 4: End-stage alcoholism, liver failure
Each stage of alcohol addiction becomes progressively worse than the previous, making alcohol use disorder (AUD) a progressive disease (like most other diseases). Unfortunately, once stage four has developed, which is considered an end-stage liver disease, the individual may have cirrhosis of the liver. While the liver is extremely resilient and can completely heal itself, once cirrhosis of the liver has developed, the liver can no longer do this.
When Should Someone With Alcohol Addiction Seek Treatment?
Since alcohol is such a widely-accepted substance and readily accessible, consuming it can be easily dismissed as simply a way to relax. Unfortunately, many individuals abuse alcohol due to its acceptability, legality, affordability, and ease of use. While genetic and hereditary factors are at play when it comes to alcohol addiction, prolonged excessive abuse of alcohol can result in alcohol addiction.
There are several signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction to be aware of when deciding to seek treatment for your addiction.
- Is the first thing you think of when you wake up alcohol?
- Do you get the shakes or tremors after a night of drinking?
- Can you control your drinking?
- Can you say ‘no’ to a drink when offered one?
- Is your alcohol consumption negatively affecting your relationships?
- Do you want to cut down or quit drinking but are unable to?
It can be easy to dismiss the signs of alcohol abuse and attribute them to simply ‘enjoying a few drinks after a long day.’ However, this pattern of enjoyment can easily and quickly turn into dependency. The four levels of addiction, which include physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual, all need to be addressed when considering drug or alcohol rehab. For example, while medically assisted detox weans and rids the body of the substance of abuse, it does address the emotional and mental aspects of addiction. This is where therapy and counseling come in.
See how to treat a red alcohol face here:
5 Things to Say When Writing Someone in Rehab
If you have a friend or loved one in addiction treatment, a common question asked is, “what to write someone in rehab”?. Addiction rehab can be a trick and touchy subject; approaching the topic can bring worry, stress, and anxiety. Some things you can say when writing to an individual who is in rehab are:
- ‘I care about you and want to see you get better’
- ‘I am thinking about you always’
- ‘I will support you through this entire process and beyond’
- ‘No matter what, I love you’
- ‘You are not alone and I will be by your side every step of the way’
Demonstrating utmost care, support, empathy, and guidance to struggling people is the ultimate way to show that you hold no judgment. Staying encouraging and asking how you can support them during this massive life transformation will demonstrate your commitment to helping them sustain their sobriety. Being patient with your friend or loved one is important as it does not pressure them to get better as quickly as possible, rather, it encourages them to take the time they need to recover.
What Not to Say to Someone in Rehab
Certain things can be discouraging or hurtful to someone who is in rehab and in a vulnerable state of addiction recovery. Some things you should not say to someone in rehab include:
- Do not ask them, ‘When will you be able to drink again?’
- Do not blame them for their addiction
- Do not shame them
- Don’t assume that seeking treatment was an easy decision, have compassion and empathy
- Saying ‘I am so sorry!’ is not advised, as seeking addiction treatment is the greatest gift and decision one could make for themselves
- Saying, “You don’t look like an alcoholic”
- Saying, “Are you sure you just can’t cut down?”
Navigating life post-treatment is not an easy task. Having sympathy and an understanding for patients in recovery will help them stay enthusiastic in their sober journey. Trying to empathize and telling an alcoholic that you know exactly how it feels because ‘you cannot live without coffee’ may only fuel the fire. You may feel like you are helping. However, you attribute a trivial habit to a serious and life-threatening disease.
Help Your Loved Ones Find Recovery by Calling WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab
Addiction, whether it is to drugs or alcohol, is a disease that can be deadly if it goes untreated. Sadly, too many individuals who struggle with substance abuse do not seek help because they are in denial of the severity of the addiction. By the time they are ready to get help, they may have lost their jobs, friends, and finances and lost touch with family. Addiction is a devastating disease that takes a toll on not only the life of the individual struggling but their family and friends as well.
Many of the specialists and clinicians at the facility are recovering addicts and are in remission from drug or alcohol addiction. They have turned their life around and use their knowledge and experience to help guide others in similar situations. When patients see how fulfilled these individuals’ lives have become because they chose sobriety, they become motivated to continue on in the sober journey.
If a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction or alcohol use disorder (AUD), call WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today. Through an initial patient evaluation, we will determine what sort of alcohol treatment program is best for you. Since we offer all levels of care directly on-site, a full continuum of treatment will be easily accessible. This eliminates any stress surrounding moving from facility to facility for each different level of care. Our intake team is available on a 24/7 basis to take your call. The sooner you get help for your drug or alcohol addiction, the sooner you can lead a life that is free from the stronghold of addiction.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.