You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘everything in moderation’, but for some people, that’s easier said than done. If you’re struggling to control your alcohol consumption, you may have an addiction. Recognizing the signs of alcohol addiction and getting help can be life-changing. Our team at Blue Star Recovery values educating the community about what alcohol addiction is, how it develops, and how it affects your health and relationships. There are different types of treatment available to help you recover through detoxification, medications, inpatient and outpatient alcohol rehab programs, and more.
You don’t have to deal with this alone – there are many resources and support systems out there to help you live a happy, healthy life free from addiction. Start your journey to recovery with Blue Star Recovery today.
If you’re worried you might have a problem with alcohol, there are some common signs to look for.
- When you find yourself drinking more or for a longer duration than you originally intended. You tell yourself you’ll have just one drink but end up having several without realizing it.
- Despite your desire to reduce or quit drinking, you find yourself unable to do so. You make promises to yourself or others that you’ll quit or cut back, but you continue drinking heavily.
- You devote a significant amount of time to drinking or recovering from the effects of alcohol. If drinking is interfering with work, family, or social responsibilities, that’s a red flag.
- You have cravings or a strong urge to drink. You experience a sense of reliance on alcohol to induce relaxation or enhance enjoyment in various situations.
- Your tolerance has increased. It takes more alcohol to feel its effects, or you don’t feel as intoxicated even though you’ve had several drinks.
- You continue to drink even though it causes problems with your health, relationships, work, or finances. Despite the harmful consequences, you can’t or won’t quit.
- You avoid people or places that don’t support your drinking. You prefer to socialize with other heavy drinkers.
- You experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking, like nausea, sweating, shakiness, or anxiety. This indicates that your body has become dependent on alcohol.
If any of these signs resonate with you or your loved one, it may be time to consider speaking with a doctor or seeking professional help. Recovery from an alcohol addiction is difficult, but it is possible with the right treatment and support. The rewards of sobriety are well worth the effort.
Long-term alcohol abuse takes a major toll on your body and health. The damage isn’t always obvious at first, but over time, it can become severe and even life-threatening. Some of the major health risks to be aware of include:
- Liver disease. Heavy drinking kills liver cells and can lead to alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. The liver undergoes irreversible scarring and damage as a result of cirrhosis.
- Heart disease. Excessive alcohol use raises blood pressure, blood triglyceride levels, and the risk of stroke. It can also lead to heart failure and irregular heartbeats.
- Pancreatic damage. Long-term alcohol use inflames the pancreas and can cause pancreatitis. This painful condition prevents the pancreas from digesting food and producing insulin properly.
- Increased cancer risk. Alcohol abuse raises the risk of mouth, esophagus, breast, and colon cancer. The more you drink, the higher the cancer risk.
- Weak immune system. Drinking too much alcohol makes you more susceptible to pneumonia and tuberculosis and slows your body’s ability to recover from injuries or illnesses.
- Mental health issues. Alcoholism frequently co-occurs with conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Excessive drinking also causes memory loss and thiamine deficiency, which can lead to severe brain damage.
- Social problems. Alcohol addiction strains relationships, causes financial difficulties, and leads to lost work productivity. It impacts nearly every aspect of the alcoholic’s life as well as the lives of those around them.
The health consequences of long-term alcohol abuse are many, but the good news is that treatment and recovery are possible. Speaking to a medical professional about treatment options is the first step toward improving your health, relationships, and quality of life.
Your genes play a role in whether you’re prone to alcohol addiction. If your parents or other family members struggle with alcoholism, you’re more likely to develop an addiction yourself. Genetics account for about half the risk of alcoholism. Having a close relative with alcoholism means you’re up to seven times more likely to become addicted.
Inherited traits like impulsiveness or a tendency toward risky behavior may influence your vulnerability. Certain genetic variations can also affect how your body breaks down alcohol and its rewarding effects in the brain.
Your environment and life experiences also shape the likelihood of alcohol addiction. Traumatic events, stress, peer pressure, and a lack of family support can drive you to drink excessively.
- Growing up in a household where heavy or binge drinking is the norm, you may view that behavior as acceptable or normal.
- Traumatic events like physical abuse, the loss of a loved one, or severe health issues may lead you to use alcohol as a coping mechanism.
- Peer pressure to binge drink, especially for young people, is a major risk factor. Not fitting in with a group that drinks heavily can fuel excessive alcohol use.
Underlying mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or ADHD can contribute to alcohol addiction. Drinking may seem like a way to self-medicate and numb painful emotions or restlessness. However, alcohol only makes these conditions worse over time and prevents you from learning healthier coping strategies.
- Seeking counseling or therapy along with treatment for alcohol addiction can help address these co-occurring issues. Make a full recovery less likely without treating the underlying cause.
- Medication may also be needed to help stabilize your mental health as you work to overcome an alcohol addiction.
Getting to the root causes of your alcohol addiction is key to overcoming it in the long run. Understanding how genetics, environment, experiences, and mental health issues shaped your addiction can help motivate you to make a change, develop self-awareness and find healthier ways of coping.
Alcoholism doesn’t just impact you; it sends shockwaves through your entire social circle. Your loved ones feel the effects deeply and in many ways.
- Your family lives with constant worry and stress. They never know if today is the day you won’t come home or end up in the hospital. The unpredictability is emotionally draining.
- Your kids may face difficulties in school due to a lack of support or supervision at home. They’re also at higher risk of developing addiction issues themselves.
- Your spouse or partner likely feels frustrated, angry, and alone. The relationship suffers severely due to broken trust, lack of intimacy, and your inability to be fully present.
- Your friends don’t know how to help and may distance themselves to avoid enabling you or dealing with the chaos. You end up becoming increasingly isolated.
The damage to these relationships can be irreparable if left unaddressed. Taking the initiative to seek professional assistance in conquering alcoholism marks the initial stride towards rebuilding trust, making amends, and becoming the person your loved ones need and deserve.
With sobriety and work, you can strengthen your connections, be fully present in the lives of those closest to you, and undo much of the harm that was done. Making positive lifestyle changes will have a ripple effect of its own, allowing relationships to heal and flourish. Ultimately, the decision is up to you. Your loved ones will support you fully in your recovery journey, but you must take that first courageous step. Their well-being and your shared future together depend on it.
Detoxification is the initial phase that focuses on safely managing withdrawal symptoms when a person stops drinking. Medical supervision and support may be provided to ensure a safe and comfortable detox process.
Detox helps alleviate alcohol withdrawal symptoms, promoting comfort and manageability.
However, this type of treatment primarily addresses physical alcohol withdrawal, not underlying psychological and emotional factors.
Outpatient alcohol rehab allows you to live at home while attending counseling and therapy sessions at a treatment center. This option works well if you have a strong support system at home and a stable living environment. Outpatient rehab typically involves individual and group therapy 3-5 days a week for several hours at a time. The main benefit of this type of treatment is that individuals can remain living at home, treatment is less expensive, and there’s a more flexible schedule for treatments.
Inpatient or residential rehab provides 24-hour care in a controlled environment. You live at the treatment facility for the duration of the program, typically 30, 60, or 90 days. Inpatient treatment removes you from the triggers and stressors of everyday life, so you can focus entirely on your recovery. This type of treatment typically comes at a higher cost but may be necessary depending on the severity of the substance use disorder and facotrs such as the individual’s home environment.
A PHP is an intensive form of outpatient treatment where you spend most of the day at the treatment center, then return home at night. PHPs typically provide 20 hours a week of therapy and counseling. This option works for those who need more support than regular outpatient treatment offers but don’t require 24-hour inpatient care.
The primary benefit of our partial hospitalization program is that individuals recieve highly structured and intensive care while still being able to return home in the evening. PHP treatment is often less expensive than inpatient treatment.
One-on-one counseling with a therapist or addiction specialist helps individuals address the underlying causes and triggers of their alcohol addiction. Therapy sessions can focus on building coping skills, developing healthier behaviors, and addressing emotional issues related to addiction.
Certain medications can be prescribed to aid in alcohol addiction treatment in New Jersey. For example, medications like naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram may assist with reducing cravings, preventing drinking, and managing withdrawal. In our medication-assisted treatment program, individuals can receive these medications to help treat their addiction.
The type of treatment that will work best depends on the severity of your addiction, mental health, physical health, responsibilities, and support system. Speaking with an addiction specialist about which option makes the most sense for your situation is the best way to determine the right level of care. The most important thing is that you get the help you need.
When seeking alcohol addiction treatment in New Jersey, you can find compassionate and comprehensive care at Blue Star Recovery. Our program offers a holistic approach that addresses the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of addiction. Whether you require one-on-one counseling or prefer the support of a group setting, we are here to provide the compassionate care and expertise necessary to guide you on your journey toward healing and personal growth. Contact us today!