Millions of people around the world enjoy having a drink and feel they have a healthy relationship with alcohol. Many consider drinking part of an active social life and see nothing wrong with having a beer or a glass of wine with friends on the weekend, at a party, or on a night out. For some, it is just a harmless bit of fun and does not constitute a drinking problem. But what if your imbibing goes beyond social drinking, to the point where it could be considered abusing alcohol, or you are showing the signs of addiction?
It is widely felt it is safe to drink in moderation, but it can become a problem if evolving from drinking on occasion to becoming part of everyday life. It may even regrettably come to the point you feel you cannot live without a drink, having fallen into addiction.
Alcoholism can have a devastating effect on a person’s everyday existence. It can be the source of great upheaval in their professional and personal life, where an individual’s drinking problem can affect those around them.
It has been the cause of family arguments, where a couple may fight over the man or woman coming home in a state of intoxication and spending money on alcohol. Friends and loved ones may also notice a change in a drinker’s personality, where they may become more irritable and aggressive under the influence, which can be a source of tension in the home.
If you are concerned you, or someone close to you, may have an alcohol problem, there are certain signs to look out for, indicating your drinking may have surpassed social consumption, and entered addiction levels.
The UK government recommends an adult should consume a maximum of 14 units of alcohol a week. If you imbibe a large amount in one sitting, it may be considered binge drinking. However, if you regularly drink a great deal, over an extended period, it can become a habit, where your body begins to crave alcohol.
It can eventually reach the point where, if you stop drinking, you could exhibit the symptoms of withdrawal, a tell-tale sign you may have an addiction. Do you regularly drink in the daytime, or imbibe more than you intended? Have you kept drinking until you blackout, with no memory of what you may have said or done the night before?
Do you feel you need a drink to relax, deal with stress and feel better about yourself? Have you noticed either an increase or loss of appetite, leading you to lose or gain weight? Do you continue to drink while being fully aware of the possible negative consequences? These could all be indicators of alcohol addiction.
There are also physical symptoms such as blood vessels on the skin, redness on the face and excessive perspiration, amongst other signs. If you drink to excess, you run the risk of serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes and cancers, alongside other illnesses.
You could experience the psychological effects of drinking too much, such as anxiety and depression. It is also not uncommon to develop a tolerance to alcohol, where it can take you longer to get drunk, and may have to imbibe more to feel the required effect. This can lead to an increase in your alcohol consumption, with possibly long-standing ramifications.
Alcohol addiction can be both a physical and mental condition, but it can be successfully treated.
If you choose to stay at a residential rehab centre, you will be cared for by highly qualified medical staff, doctors, nurses and counsellors, who will oversee your long-term rehabilitation treatment programme. It will begin with a medical detox, where you will cease consuming alcohol and the toxins are cleansed from your system. The professionals on staff will note any change in your condition, stabilise you if necessary and prescribe the appropriate medication to take the edge off the withdrawal symptoms, throughout your medical detox.
Moreover, following detoxification, you can focus on the psychological and emotional side of addiction through counselling. During your stay at the rehab centre, you can attend regular therapy sessions, individually or as part of a group, where you can discuss your problems with dependency. Allowing you to explore any possible deep-rooted issues, alongside any present difficulties, which could serve as triggers.
Some say Britain has a drinking culture, but if you have seen your life fall apart due to alcoholism, there is treatment available. You do not have to live under the shadow of alcohol abuse where, through a combination of detoxification and counselling, as part of a full rehabilitation programme, you could eradicate alcohol addiction once and for all.