I drink too much - The fact that you recognise you drink too much is the first step to making change. Many people struggling with alcohol addiction
are in denial about it, which makes it hard to take the necessary steps towards recovery.
It is possible that you are reading this and thinking “I’m not actually an addict”, I just need to cut down the amount I drink, but the fact that you are asking for help to do so, suggests that your drinking has gone beyond your own control.
Alcohol abuse vs alcohol dependency
If you are drinking every day or drinking too much at a time, you are abusing alcohol. You know these habits are unhealthy and dangerous but you have become psychologically addicted to them. Maybe you use alcohol to unwind from the day’s stresses and without it, you feel as though you can’t relax. This is a psychological dependence, but if you continue in this manner, it will soon lead to physical dependence or alcoholism, when you will start physically craving alcohol and you feel like you must drink just to get by. The more you drink, the more tolerant your body becomes to the effects of alcohol and it can start to take over your life. Not only will you not be able to control your drinking but your drinking will control you.
What should I do?
It is never part of anyone’s plan to become alcohol dependent, but it can certainly be part of your plan to stop drinking. However, planning is one thing, and doing is another. If you act now and do something positive towards making those changes, it can help you regain control of your drinking and your life. Whatever your level of dependency, the first step you can take towards recovery is to ask for help. Maybe you have tried to give up before but found that you relapse after a few months, weeks or even days. By talking to someone who understands the causes and effects of alcohol dependency and how to overcome it, will help you achieve lasting success.
Where can I get help?
There are various types of help available to people who are drinking too much and the type of treatment and support you will need depends on the level of your dependency.
- Self-help – there are certain things you can do to help yourself. Look at your behaviour around drinking and see if there are any things you can consciously change to help you reduce the amount you drink. Read our tips on how to cut down on your drinking. This approach can be useful if you are just looking to moderate your drinking rather than cutting it out completely.
- Counselling – if you are not yet physically dependent on alcohol, counselling sessions with a specialist counsellor may help you to identify the causes of your struggle with alcohol and how you can make changes to address these issues.
- Outpatient rehab – some detox and rehabilitation programmes can be managed by your GP in conjunction with specialist professionals. Alcohol detox should always be managed under medical supervision, but whether this can be done as an outpatient will depend on the level of your addiction as the withdrawal symptoms during detox may become life-threatening. If your addiction is not severe, your withdrawal could be managed by your GP. You will then be referred for a rehab programme with weekly sessions and ongoing support as an outpatient.
- Inpatient rehab – If you are drinking more than 20 units a day or have previously tried to give up but have experienced withdrawal symptoms, you will probably need to go to a hospital or clinic to for specialist medical treatment. Rehab clinics vary considerably in terms of the type of programmes they offer, the costs and the levels of comfort, so it is worth doing your research to make sure that you choose a clinic that is going to be a good fit for your needs.
If you would like to get advice on the best course of treatment for your drinking, speak to one of our specialists today and we can help you make an informed decision.