The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data that showed the number of alcohol-induced deaths in 2010 was at 25,692. Alcoholic liver disease was at 15,990. In total, there are 80,000 alcohol-related deaths every year in the United States. For those who have issues with alcohol abuse, it can be a long road to recovery. Many people find comfort in that anyone can develop alcoholism. It’s not biased against any age group or walk of life.
Long-term alcohol abuse can lead to serious health problems including:
- Alcohol poisoning
- Liver damage
- High blood pressure
- Heart problems
- Nerve damage
- Memory loss
- Brain damage
- Throat and mouth cancer
- Violent and irrational tendencies
- Unintentional injuries from car accidents, falls, burns and drowning
- Self-inflicted injuries from firearms, sexual assault and domestic violence
While not all of these may occur, they are extremely common in most cases of alcohol abuse. The best way to overcome addiction is to seek treatment and learn how to change your behavior towards alcohol and triggers.
What Causes Alcoholism?
Everyone has a different type of personal addiction with alcohol. In some cases it’s genetics. Parents may have raised children in an environment with heavy drinking. There may be environmental factors such as a location where drinking is a normal activity or seen as an escape. Mental health problems also lead people to treat issues with depression, schizophrenia, anxiety and stress with alcohol. Physical, mental and sexual abuse are also contributing factors to why someone may start drinking. As alcohol offers a temporary release, addiction can build over time. Many addicts drink all day and night, which develops a physical dependency. It can be dangerous to quit cold turkey for these individuals.
How to Start Recovery
When alcoholism takes its toll on a person, it may be time for other people to step in. Family members, friends, significant others and even co-workers may stage an intervention. In other cases it’s simply a person deciding that they want to change. The first part of recovery is detox. It’s important to go to a medical facility to be treated for alcoholism. Alcoholism withdrawals can be quite dangerous. Without medical detox, it’s easy to fall right into relapse.
What Alcohol Treatment Offers
Treatment programs start with what you want to get out of treatment. If you want to learn about your addiction, change your behavior, learn how to handle triggers and develop willpower over your addiction, then you’ll need daily therapy sessions. Inpatient care will provide daily individual and group sessions to talk about your feelings, progress, triggers, emotions and discuss any mental health disorders that may be causing problems as well.
Learning About Your Addiction
One thing that alcohol treatment centers offer is clarity. You’ll be able to understand what alcohol is doing to your mind and body. Patients also learn about the harmful effects of alcoholism, which help them relate to other people in group therapy but also recognize symptoms in themselves. This is often a turning point for individuals who have been addicted to alcohol and never thought about the consequences of their addiction. Addicts also learn how to recognize their triggers and develop defenses against weaknesses for alcohol. For many people that means developing a plan and sticking to a plan of recovery.
Therapy offers a way to talk about what prompted the first drink and what makes people want to drink now. By opening up about your triggers and history with alcohol, you learn more about yourself and start to realize how drinking has changed your life. Once you return to your home, you may need to set up new limits and be upfront about your plan for alcohol recovery. Usually people must avoid events with heavy drinking and even stay away from people who may trigger a relapse.
Build a Support Network
Inpatient treatment and rehabilitation centers allow you to meet others who are working towards recovery. You’ll be able to build a support network and even keep in touch with friends who you meet inside. After treatment you may continue to go to support groups and seek out meetups with others who have gone through alcohol addiction.
Learning to Deal with Stress
For many, stress is the main problem. They feel pressure at work, home or school. They can’t face these stresses and turn to something else to alleviate the pain. There are healthier ways to manage stress levels such as exercising, meditation, fun activities, seeing friends and relaxation techniques. Rehabilitation focuses on how to use these methods to reduce stress without turning towards alcohol or drugs.
How to Manage Alcohol Cravings
It’s best to have a trusted friend or family member to talk to when you are feeling an alcohol craving. You may also want to distract yourself until the urge passes. You can go for a walk, listen to music, clean your house, run an errand or just visit your grandmother. Former alcohol addicts think about bad memories with alcohol or remind themselves of reasons why they don’t drink anymore. The key is to not battle your craving but recognize that it’s there and to let it pass. You don’t have to give in to feel satisfied with your life.
Benefits of Sober Living Homes
If you’re still in recovery and want a safe place to handle your addiction, there are sober living environments that can help. These environments provide stable housing for those who want to live alcohol-free. You’ll meet others like yourself and be further removed from temptation to drink.
Alcohol abuse is a mortal addiction. With so many diseases and deaths attributed to its presence, it’s imperative to seek out help if you have a problem with alcohol. There are a variety of treatments to help someone overcome even the most complicated addiction cases. Help is there if you’re ready to take it.