It can be heartbreaking to realize that your loved one has a problem with alcohol. You want to do anything you can to help — but you’re afraid that if you speak up, you could destroy your relationship, or even drive your loved one deeper into addiction. At first, it’s much easier to deny the problem. But as time goes on and personal, financial, or legal problems increase, you’ll have to face the possibility that your loved one could have a substance use disorder. Learning to recognize the red flags of alcoholism could not only save your relationship, it could help you avoid a tragedy.
For all the popularity of alcohol, everyone knows at least one person who has struggled with alcoholism. And there have been hundreds of cases of celebrities, politicians, and other public figures getting treatment for an alcohol habit that got out of hand. We hear a lot about words like “rehab,” “detox,” and “therapy” when it comes to alcohol treatment, but what does all of that entail? How does it help someone get clean and stay clean? And what does this mean for you, or someone you know, who is fighting a battle against the temptation to keep drinking?
Take an inventory of how you experience the craving. Do this by sitting in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands in a comfortable position. Take a few deep breaths and focus your attention inward. Allow your attention to wander through your body. Notice where in your body you experience the craving and what the sensations are like. Notice each area where you experience the urge, and tell yourself what you are experiencing. For example, “My craving is in my mouth and nose and in my stomach.”
The method that’s proven to be most effective in treating alcohol addiction is to use medications alongside traditional behavioral therapy. However, medications are underutilized in alcohol addiction treatment, and many people are not even aware that they exist. Behavioral therapy involves individual or group counseling, and it equips addicts to overcome their addiction by giving them coping skills and addressing any other mental health needs.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) established that benzodiazepines have a short half-life, causing abusers to develop a quick and dangerous tolerance – often in as little as six weeks.3 Once a person becomes addicted, the drug causes rebound symptoms of the disorder it was originally prescribed for. Weaning off benzos is a very long and detailed process.
Support groups provide people with understanding peers and ongoing support, in church basements, community centers, and public facilities scattered all across the country. Here, people can come together to discuss addiction’s difficulties, and they can meet with other addicted people to gain support and insight. Alumni groups are similar, in that they link peers together to discuss addiction, but these groups contain people who all worked within the same facility for help.
If a program doesn’t include these type of approaches, or claims to use “new” strategies, ask to see an independent evaluation of their program outcomes. An evaluation should measure whether the service has had a positive impact (on drug use, dependence or mental health) and what the completion rates are. It can be conducted by independent specialists, or sometimes by the service itself.
As alcohol abuse progresses from dependency to addiction, your need for alcohol will become increasingly overwhelming. You may start to spend more and more of your time drinking or thinking about drinking, leaving little time for anyone or anything else. This can affect your ability to take care of responsibilities at home and work, and can have a negative impact on your relationships with family members, friends, and work colleagues.
After physical dependency comes addiction. At this stage, you are drinking because you have a physical and psychological need to do so, and not for pleasure or because you want to. You will crave alcohol and it will be interfering with your ability to enjoy life. It is likely to be having a negative impact on your relationships with others as well as on your health and finances. Even knowing the harm that it is causing will not be able to stop. You will be compelled to drink and will be powerless to resist.
Drug rehabilitation, commonly referred to as “drug rehab,” is the process of treatment for dependency on drugs. The purpose of drug rehab is to release a person from the grips of substance abuse. These individuals often seek treatment when their substance use has become compulsive and out of control, and the negative side effects aren’t enough to deter their decisions. There are hundreds of drug rehabilitation centers all over the country designed to help men, women and adolescents struggling with an addiction to drugs, alcohol or both.
The nineteenth century saw opium usage in the US become much more common and popular. Morphine was isolated in the early nineteenth century, and came to be prescribed commonly by doctors, both as a painkiller and as an intended cure for opium addiction. At the time, the prevailing medical opinion was that the addiction process occurred in the stomach, and thus it was hypothesized that patients would not become addicted to morphine if it was injected into them via a hypodermic needle, and it was further hypothesized that this might potentially be able to cure opium addiction. However, many people did become addicted to morphine. In particular, addiction to opium became widespread among soldiers fighting in the Civil War, who very often required painkillers and thus were very often prescribed morphine. Women were also very frequently prescribed opiates, and opiates were advertised as being able to relieve "female troubles".
Since 2014, Addiction Center has been an informational web guide for those who are struggling with substance use disorders and co-occurring behavioral and mental health disorders. All content included on Addiction Center is created by our team of researchers and journalists. of our articles are fact-based and sourced from relevant publications, government agencies and medical journals.
Addiction can be terrifying. If you or someone that you care about has been struggling with a substance use disorder, then you are well aware of the devastating impact that this insidious disease can have on virtually all aspects of life. You know all about the sleepless nights, the despair-filled days, and the pervasive fear that, just when you think it cannot get any worse, it will.
It is important that you know how to act when triggers or cravings present themselves. If you have a plan in place, it can help to prevent a full-blown relapse. It may be that you will get in touch with your counsellor or sponsor, or perhaps distraction will help. You might find that going for a walk or doing something else to keep you busy can help the cravings subside.
Even relatively moderate drug use poses dangers. Consider how a social drinker can become intoxicated, get behind the wheel of a car, and quickly turn a pleasurable activity into a tragedy that affects many lives. Occasional drug use, such as misusing an opioid to get high, can have similarly disastrous effects, including overdose, and dangerously impaired driving.
The methamphetamine binge is followed by a phase called “tweaking,” a state characterized by restlessness, anxiety, paranoia, agitation, sleeplessness, and intense cravings. “Tweakers” may experience delusional thinking, psychotic episodes, hallucinations, and violent impulses. Severe itching and the urge to harm oneself are common at this point. Methamphetamine withdrawal is complicated by the fact that many heavy users are malnourished, dehydrated, and sleep deprived. Meth-induced psychosis can continue for weeks or months after the addict stops using. In a case study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, one methamphetamine addict continued to have auditory hallucinations, fears of persecution, and paranoid delusions for a year after treatment. A rehab jail for heroin addicts