Understanding exactly what alcohol abuse is
For many individuals, the term alcohol abuse is mistakenly interchanged with alcohol addiction or alcohol dependence. Although they are somewhat interrelated to one another, there are very distinct differences between them. For the most part, alcohol abuse is defined as the harmful use of alcohol and is the initial stage that leads to alcohol addiction or dependency.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV defines the alcohol abuser as an individual who continues to drink despite encountering recurring interpersonal, legal, and social problems that result from their use of alcohol. The description “harmful use” implies that which causes mental or physical damage. Individuals who are suffering with alcohol addiction or dependency usually meet all of the criteria that indicates alcohol abuse. However, they may also exhibit one or all of the following warning signs or symptoms:
- alcohol tolerance build-up
- behavior that is drink-seeking in nature
- drinking again after an extensive period of abstaining
- drinking for the purposes of avoiding or relieving withdrawal symptoms
- narrowing down of drinking choices
- subjective awareness of alcohol cravings and a compulsion to drink
- withdrawal symptoms
In most cases, the individual who is only abusing alcohol and not addicted to or dependent upon it can be helped by using a brief intervention. This includes educating the person about the dangers of alcohol poison or binge drinking. When an individual succumbs to alcohol addiction or dependency, they usually need the professional help that can only be acquired at an alcohol addiction treatment and recovery center.
In order to stop drinking, they may have to undergo a number of different elements during rehab. These typically include:
- detoxification and withdrawal
- medical care, monitoring, and supervision
- group and individual counseling
- aftercare and self-help group support
The bottom line is that if you feel that any of the above applies to you or a loved one, the importance of receiving the professional help of an addiction treatment and recovery program cannot be emphasized enough and may just save you or your loved one’s life.
Frequently asked questions that relate to alcohol abuse, addiction, or dependency
Education is one of the most critical elements involved with alcohol abuse, addiction, and dependency. This will empower you with the tools and understanding that you are going to require whenever you are facing or suffering with alcohol abuse, addiction, or dependency. Whether it applies to you or a loved one, knowing the facts that are involved with these will enable you or your loved one to be treated more effectively.
The following are the most commonly asked questions regarding the abuse of, addiction to, or dependence upon alcohol:
- Is alcoholism a disease? Yes.
- What is the difference between alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction or dependence? Alcohol abuse is the harmful use of alcohol whereas alcohol addiction or dependency are synonymous with one another and considered to be a medically and psychologically treatable disease. It is characterized by cravings for alcohol, continued drinking despite mental and physical harm, an inability to decrease or stop drinking, the need to increase how much you drink, and physical illness that is associated with drinking alcohol.
- Is the addiction to or the dependency on alcohol hereditary? Past research indicates that alcoholism is hereditary and runs in families.
- Can alcohol addiction or dependency be cured or treated? Yes. It can be treated using counseling and medication.
- What role do medications play in the treatment of alcohol addiction or dependency? There are medications out there that effectively treat these disorders and have been shown to help the individual achieve and maintain their abstinence from alcohol as well as avoid relapsing back into their addiction or dependency.
- How does alcohol affect the individual that drinks it? That depends on the individual but it does negatively affect every organ in the body as well as the central nervous system.
- I’m a young person that just started drinking alcohol. Is that going to affect my health in the long run? In most cases it will. When a young adult drinks alcohol, they increase their risk of injuries that can be both fatal and non-fatal.
- Why is it that alcohol affects everyone differently? Alcohol affects every individual in different fashion based on a number of different factors including age, ethnicity, family history, gender, physical condition, etc.
- What can be done if I have a drinking problem? Get professional help immediately whether it involves consulting your family physician or a staff member at an addiction treatment and recovery facility.
What type of alcohol rehab program works best?
When it comes down to getting the professional help that you need for alcohol abuse, addiction, or dependency, you will most likely be faced with deciding on the right program. You will need to find an effective program with a high recovery success rate that addresses your personal and clinical needs. In most cases, that decision will come down to choosing either an in-patient, residential program or an intensive out-patient program. This will depend on certain factors that you need for the program to address your needs.
If your alcohol abuse, addiction, or dependency has been going on for an extended period and it has progressed to being severe, then your best bet is an in-patient, residential format. This program requires that you move into the facility until you complete the program and are released to return home. On the other hand, if there are financial issues and you cannot afford an in-patient program and are the sole provider for children in the home, then you will probably consider an intensive, out-patient program.
The Delray Recovery Center offers effective alcohol rehab programs that have some of the highest recovery success rates in the US. We would like to talk with you about our Strength to Change program if you or a loved one is suffering with alcohol abuse, addiction, or dependency issues. Please call us today at the toll-free phone number listed above if you would like more information regarding our facility and programs.