It is difficult to come to terms with the fact that your use of alcohol has spiralled out of control. Most people believe that alcohol is a safe substance after all, if it was dangerous, it would not be legal right? Unfortunately, alcohol is not a safe substance, particularly when abused. Moreover, because it is highly addictive, abuse is a common occurrence across the UK. With that in mind, many people think about what does alcohol addiction look like. Those who are possibly slightly concerned that they may have a problem will want to know what signs to look out for.
Some are convinced that they do not have an issue at all despite what loved ones are telling them and ask the question of what does alcohol look like? in an attempt to reassure them and others, that they have full control over their drinking.
Do You Have a Drinking Problem?
So, what does alcohol addiction look like and could you have a problem? It is important to know that alcohol addiction often occurs without people realising. You may be questioning how this could happen, but the truth is that it is easy to build up a tolerance to alcohol and to begin drinking higher quantities without even noticing. This is how most addictions start.
You do not develop an addiction to alcohol overnight. In fact, for most, it occurs gradually over time and it is only when others raise their concerns or that they try to quit that they realise something is not quite right.
If your loved ones have expressed concerns about your drinking, it would be a good idea to listen to them. It is unlikely they will have done this without careful consideration. Addiction is an illness that carries a lot of stigma and your loved ones will have known that to express their concern might make you feel embarrassed, ashamed or humiliated. They will not have done this lightly.
Although your first reaction may have to angrily deny you have any issues with alcohol, taking a closer look might reveal some home truths. To do this, you will need the answer to the question of what does alcohol addiction look like.
Spotting the Signs of Alcoholism
There are some common characteristics of addiction that you might have, which could give you an indication of whether you have a problem or not. For example, think about how often you drink alcohol. If you are honest with yourself, you might realise that you are drinking more often than you used to.
Has your alcohol consumption increased? Consider whether you are drinking higher quantities of alcohol each time in order to achieve certain feelings. If so, this could be the result of an increased tolerance to alcohol and its effects. As your body has adapted to the substance, it will require more for you to feel the effects that you once did from a smaller amount.
The next thing to consider is how much control you have over your drinking. If you often promise yourself that you are not going to drink but then do so anyway, it could be that you are unable to control your consumption. A lack of control might also present itself in other ways; for example, you may be unable to stop drinking once you start.
Another signal to look out for is withdrawal symptoms when you need alcohol. If you experience shaking, sweating, headaches, nausea, mood swings and vomiting when the effects of alcohol wear off, it could be that you have a physical dependence. You might have noticed that these symptoms go away when you have a sip or two of alcohol. If so, you should consider the fact that you do have a problem and that you need professional help to overcome.
What Impact Does Alcohol Addiction Have?
If you have an alcohol addiction, it will almost certainly be having an impact on daily life. You are likely to be spending a lot of time drinking or thinking about drinking. You may be doing everything you can to arrange your social life around alcohol and you could only have an interest in attending social events if alcohol is going to be present.
It could be the case that you are managing to function quite well, and it is this that has led you to dismiss the concerns of your loved ones up to this point. The fact that you are functioning does not mean that you cannot have an addiction. On the contrary; countless individuals are struggling with addiction but still manage to hold down a job and keep their family together just.
What you should be aware of is that no matter how well you are doing right now, it is unlikely that you will be able to carry on like this if you continue to abuse alcohol. As your dependence worsens, the impact on you and your family will be greater.
Your health will deteriorate, and you may notice many problems, both mental and physical, manifest. The longer you continue to abuse alcohol, the worse these problems are likely to get. Alcoholism is linked to serious health conditions including heart disease, cancer and dementia.
As well as poor health and the risk of premature death, alcoholism is also an issue in relationship breakdown, divorce, unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and crime. It not only has a negative impact on the affected individual, but on others too.
Family members and friends tend to suffer too when someone they love is affected by alcoholism. Some will be so affected that their own behaviour changes and they become obsessed with trying to help their addicted loved one. Their lives revolve around the actions of the addict; they are classed as co-dependent. This means that they too have an addiction; only their addiction is to the addict and not to alcohol.
Alcoholism also has negative consequences for communities, the economy and society in general. It is directly linked to violent crime, accidents and illness and is therefore responsible for an increased number of avoidable hospital admissions. As you might imagine, this places undue strain on the National Health Service, which is already under immense pressure.
The cost of policing, prosecuting and treating addiction-related illnesses and incidents costs the UK economy billions of pounds every single year. The only way to rectify this situation is with alcohol addiction treatment.
What Does Treatment for Alcoholism Look Like
Your first question might have been what does alcohol addiction look like?, but you may also want to know what does treatment for alcoholism look like?. Treatment for alcohol addiction is provided by various organisations in the UK, including the NHS, private clinics and charities.
Treatment is typically a 3-stage process the incorporates a detox, rehabilitation and aftercare. All three should be included to achieve permanent sobriety. The first stage of the process is detox, and this is where the bond between you and alcohol will be broken. It is a complicated process and one that often stands in the way of a full recovery. The very idea of detox can prevent some individuals from reaching out. However, detox does not have to be painful or difficult; not when you have full support throughout.
It is recommended that you choose a dedicated detox facility when trying to quit alcohol. You are likely to experience withdrawals as your body tries to get back to normal and these withdrawals might make you feel quite unwell. You might also experience a fervent desire to start drinking again, especially as you know that doing so will make you feel better. It is at these times that having the support of fully trained, experienced staff can make all the difference.
After about ten days, most of the symptoms you have been experiencing will have subsided and you will be ready to continue your treatment with a programme of rehabilitation. Rehab will help you get to the underlying cause of your addictive behaviour.
Using individual counselling and group therapy sessions, you will learn the issues that led you to this point in your life. You will find out more about addiction and the common triggers so that you can avoid them going forward. Relapse prevention skills can be learned, and these can then be taken back to daily life to help you maintain your sobriety.
When you are finished with your rehab, you will need aftercare support to help you stay clean and sober. In the early days, you will be vulnerable to a relapse, so having this additional support is essential.
Accessing Help for Addiction
Overcoming your alcohol addiction will not be easy, and it will not happen overnight. Nevertheless, if you are prepared to work hard and commit to a programme of recovery, you could soon see improvements in your life.
You do not have to continue living as you are when help is available. Our mission here at UK Rehab is to provide a link between those who need help for addiction and the facilities that provide it. If you are ready to turn your life around for the better, we ask that you give us a call.
When you do, we will listen to whatever you have to say and will provide the information you need to take the next steps on the road to recovery. We offer a free assessment of your situation to help you get a clearer picture of your requirements and of what you are dealing with. From there, we can help you access a suitable treatment programme.
Please call UK Rehab today for answers to your questions or for confidential advice about moving on to the next stage of your journey.