Are you suffering from alcohol addiction? If your days are spent drinking and depending on alcohol, then the chances are you have a severe problem. When you do nothing about it, alcoholism can ruin your body, destroy your mind, and tear apart your life. Regardless of whether you feel like you’ve got an alcohol addiction or someone you care about is addicted to this drug; you need to get alcohol addiction help.
The good news is that you can get assistance out there, and we’re here to help you find it. Give our free hotline a call for confidential counselling that will point you in the right direction.
What is alcohol addiction?
Alcohol addiction is often referred to as alcoholism, and it is recognised as a mental and physical illness. If you suffer from this, then you feel compelled to drink alcohol – even though you’re aware of the damage it does to your health.
Typically, people who are addicted to alcohol will also be alcohol abusers and alcohol dependent. There is a difference between the two, but it’s largely related to your behaviour and why you drink.
What is alcohol abuse?
Alcohol abuse is where you continuously binge drink, despite the fact that you keep running into various problems as a result of your drinking. Essentially, you’re harmfully drinking as your habits are causing issues to your health & wellbeing, along with the rest of your life as well.
People can be alcohol abusers even if they only drink once or twice per week. If you always drink so much on the weekends that you cause physical damage to your body or end up getting arrested, then you’re an alcohol abuser.
What is alcohol dependency?
Someone who is alcohol dependent will likely be an alcohol abuser as well. The main difference is that you feel the need to drink as a way of getting through your life. Perhaps you have an urge to drink one specific beverage all the time, as it brings you happiness. Or, you’re intent on drinking more and more to try and get the feeling of relief that you’re after.
Perhaps the best way to distinguish between the two is that people who are alcohol dependent will have withdrawal symptoms if they stop drinking. This shows your body craves alcohol and you struggle to live without it. Therefore, you definitely have an addiction.
It is worth noting that people can be alcohol abusers without having a full-blown addiction. But, more often than not, this is the first step on your way to being addicted.
Is there only one type of alcohol dependency?
No, there are two; mental and physical. Mental dependency is when you feel the need to drink alcohol to face certain events or situations. You feel like you can’t go to a party without drinking beforehand, or you can’t go for a job interview unless you have a glass of wine to calm your nerves.
Physical dependency is when you drink to avoid feeling the effects of withdrawal. In essence, you’ve built up such a tolerance to drinking that you just need to drink more and more to prevent the nasty withdrawal symptoms.
It’s highly likely that you have both of these when you’re addicted to alcohol, but it is possible to only have one.
Do you suffer from alcohol addiction?
According to the alcohol addiction statistics in the UK, there are around 589,101 dependent drinkers in the country, with less than 20% receiving treatment (Alcohol Change UK). This does an excellent job of showing how many people are affected by this problem – and how many neglect the treatment available.
The problem is, many of you might have a drinking problem, but you aren’t sure how to be 100% certain. Having a drink every night may or may not show that you have an issue – it’s more about your approach to drinking and why you do it. Below, we’ve got some of the vital signs that may show you have an alcohol problem:
- You drink during the day for no reason other than you enjoy it
- You drink way more than the recommended limit whenever you’re out with friends
- You blackout when you’re drunk because you’ve drunk too much
- You drink alcohol to calm your nerves
- You drink alcohol to improve your mood
- You spend all your money on alcohol
- You drink in secret even when you’re not supposed to
- You lie to people about your drinking habits
- You choose to drink instead of doing things you’re responsible for
- You’re friends with people who also abuse alcohol and take drugs
- You start feeling isolated from your family and friends
- You no longer have any hobbies or interests other than going for a drink
- You have constant mood swings
- Your weight is fluctuating dramatically
- Your personal appearance gets worse and worse
- You develop many health problems
- You experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking
These signs are relatively easy to spot if you take a long hard look at yourself – or anyone else that you’re worried has an alcohol addiction. If you do notice them, then we implore you to pick up the phone and give our hotline a call. We can help you find the best rehab centres in the UK, which will allow you to find the best treatment for you. It’s proven that going to rehab for a minimum of 28 days will help you kick your addiction and come out the other side. Let us guide you in the right direction by talking to one of our advisors today.
What are the main alcohol withdrawal symptoms?
If you drink regularly, then your body adapts to this. As a result, the moment you stop your regular drinking habits, your body reacts. This leads to withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- Lack of appetite
- Face redness
- Sore stomach
- Pounding headache
- Excessive sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tremors in hands
- High fever
These will come on gradually, getting worse as time goes by without a drink. You might experience them all, or you might only experience a few. But, most people relapse and grab a drink because they can’t deal with these symptoms. The only way you’ll be able to cope with them is if you get alcohol addiction treatment from professionals with the ability to help you.
What are the effects of alcohol addiction?
Alcohol is a drug, which means it will naturally hurt your body and mind. Having said that, you can still drink alcohol without suffering any issues – as long as you do it in moderation. Currently, it’s recommended by the UK Government that adults shouldn’t consume over 14 units of alcohol during a week.
To give you some context, this is the equivalent to around 6 pints of a 4% beer, or 6 glasses of a 13% wine. As a result, if you don’t drink anything during the week but then drink 10 pints on a Saturday night, this is still considered binge drinking and can be classed as alcohol abuse.
When you go above the 14 units, this is when your body starts to feel the adverse effects. Of course, one obvious problem is the way alcohol interacts with your mind. It can change the way you think, act, and behave. This is why many people may do things when they’re intoxicated that they’d never dream of doing when sober. It’s very mentally damaging in the sense that it almost forces your brain to become dependent on alcohol. When you experience withdrawal symptoms, this is your brain sending signals to your body telling you that you need alcohol to calm the symptoms you’re feeling.
If you’re not careful, you can quickly develop a deep psychological relationship with alcohol, which is where addictions are born out of.
More things will happen to you as well, and these are some of the worst effects of alcoholism:
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
- Rapid weight gain
- Increased blood pressure
- Heart problems
- Reduced cardiovascular fitness
- Skin problems
- Severe liver damage
- More chance of developing cancer
- Lack of sex drive
- Brain damage
- Birth defects
As you can see, alcohol addiction will have a profoundly negative effect on your life. It damages your physical health, it hurts your mental health, and it also ruins your social life as well. People won’t want to associate with you if they know you’re an alcoholic. Family members don’t want you around their children anymore, friends no longer want to hang out with you. As a result, you end up in a spiral where the only people you hang out with are alcoholics like you. This further compounds your addiction and makes things worse.
That’s not all, statistics from the NHS show that 337,000 hospital admissions in 2016/17 were due to alcohol consumption. Again, this is a warning of what can happen when you drink too much, too regularly.
What are the stages of alcohol addiction?
Becoming an alcoholic won’t happen in a day or two. It’s a process that gradually gets worse and worse, with many medical experts saying there are 5 Stages Of Alcoholism.
- Binge Drinking: you drink more than the suggested 14 units per week, but you still remain in control of your drinking habits. Typically, you mainly drink in social situations with friends.
- Alcohol Abuse: you binge drink more frequently, taking a drink to make you feel better in certain situations, or to give your mood a boost. Your habits are no longer confined to social situations.
- Drinking Becomes A Habit: you start drinking almost every day, which indicates a problem on your hands. Your drinking habits may begin to negatively impact your life – perhaps a partner broke up with you because of it, or you got fired from work for turning up late and hungover every day.
- Alcohol Dependency: you develop a physical dependency to alcohol (we covered this earlier)
- Full-Blown Addiction: you’ve now got both a physical and mental dependence on alcohol, with it consuming your life.
What causes alcohol addiction?
It’s a common misconception that alcohol addiction is caused by weakmindedness. As we’ve already stated, this is a disease that takes over your body – and many things can cause it.
Typically, we find that most people are put into these three categories;
A lot of alcoholics end up in this situation because of outside influences. This could be from growing up in a home where one or both parents are alcoholics. A child that grows up in this environment will see it as a natural thing to do. As a result, they start copying this behaviour when they’re older, which leads to alcoholism.
Similarly, influence from people outside your family is common as well. Think about friends pressuring you to drink more and more when you go out. They almost force you to drink, which can kickstart a problem that spirals out of control.
Mental Health Problems
Alcohol addiction can cause mental health problems, but it can also aggravate existing ones. In fact, one of the reasons people turn to alcohol is because they want to treat mental illness. Many people suffering from depression will get drunk as a way of escaping reality and having a break from their depression symptoms. The same goes for people with anxiety – they drink to help calm the internal fear that builds within them.
Significant Life Events
Another widespread cause of alcohol addiction is a change in your life. Or, more specifically, something negative that happens and causes you a lot of stress. The primary example of this is losing someone you love. If someone close to you passes away, then it almost feels natural to use alcohol as a way of coping with the situation. The same applies to breaking up with your partner, getting fired from work, and so on.
Having seen this, we ask that you take a look at your life – or the life of someone close to you – and think about why you or they are drinking. You may find that it’s down to one of these three reasons, which is very helpful in treating your addiction. By figuring out the root cause, this enables you to get better treatment that will help you kick these bad habits.
What alcohol addiction treatment is available?
There are a variety of rehabilitation treatments available for anyone with alcohol addiction. These include outpatient clinics and residential rehab centres; both of which should be utilised.
What is an outpatient clinic?
Outpatient treatment centres or clinics are places you go to receive counselling and guidance. They include group therapy sessions, one-on-one counselling with professionals, and help with your addiction. These are available for free on the NHS if you go to your GP and get referred.
Speaking of which, your GP can also offer treatment in the form of alcohol addiction medication as well. They give you a prescription to help tackle the withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapses.
What is residential rehab?
A residential rehab centre is what most people typically think of when their mind turns to rehab. Here, you will move into one of these centres to undergo extensive treatment. You live there for the duration of your treatment, and meals and accommodation are provided. The length of time you spend there will depend on how severe your addiction is. For most people, you’re looking at a minimum of 28 days.
The following treatments are commonly available at rehab centres:
- Detoxification: you’re put through a detox from Day 1 of your time in rehab. All access to alcohol is cut off, and you’re forcing your body to free itself from the dependency you have. There will be some serious withdrawal symptoms here, which is why you’re given alcohol addiction medication to combat them. This tends to last two weeks.
- Therapy: the next stage is therapy, which includes counselling, group sessions, and a range of additional services. Commonly, you’ll undergo cognitive behavioural therapy to get to the root of your addiction. Medical professionals help figure out what caused your addiction, and they train you to block out certain triggers and avoid relapses.
- Aftercare: this basically refers to the treatment you receive after rehab. When you’re discharged and sent home, you can go to outpatient centres for continued support to prevent relapses.
All alcohol addiction treatments are highly beneficial, and we strongly advise you to seek help. Rehab for Alcoholism is definitely the best option, though it can be expensive. Don’t worry, our team can help you find the most suitable rehab centres for your budget, while also explaining the different payment plans available. Don’t shy away from treatment, no matter the costs, it will help change your life for the better!
Can alcohol addiction be cured?
Unfortunately, this isn’t a disease you can 100% cure as there will always be the possibility of relapsing. But, with the right rehabilitation treatments, you can quit your bad habits for good. It’s a constant journey through life as you ensure that no relapses happen, and you remain sober forever.
Call Us For Free Alcohol Addiction Help!
Give Help4Addiction a call if you’re suffering from alcohol addiction – or know someone who’s showing the telltale signs and symptoms. We have trained advisors who will give you as much information as possible and listen to everything you have to say. This allows us to make treatment plans that you can follow, pointing you in the direction of suitable rehab clinics.
We’re available 24/7, so let us help you take the first step on your journey towards sobriety. Call 0203 955 7700 now.