According to the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism, in 2012, over 50 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they drank in the past month. Nearly 25 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that had they engaged in binge drinking in the past month. Alcohol addiction is an epic problem but it can be difficult to tell the difference between alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction. Although alcohol abuse can lead to alcoholism and is highly destructive, the person is able to somewhat control the amount of alcohol they drink.
People who suffer from an alcohol addiction or alcoholism have a physical disease that includes an uncontrollable desire to consume alcohol even when it threatens their health, families and jobs. If you’ve asked yourself, ‘Am I addicted to alcohol?’, you should certainly do a self assessment and talk to a health professional.
Signs of Alcohol Addiction
- If you find it difficult to relax without having a drink
- Drinking first thing in the morning or after you first wake up
- Planning social events around drinking
- Drinking while driving, using heavy machinery or other dangerous situations
- Missing work or school excessively due to drinking
- Putting important relationships with family and loved ones at risk
- Experiencing blackouts after drinking
Often it’s hard to admit that there is a problem with drugs or alcohol, and even harder to decide that you need to get help. It’s important to understand that you didn’t become an addict overnight and you won’t get over your addiction over night either. Healing from alcohol addiction takes time. But let’s be honest, what are the consequences of not getting the help that you need? Will you lose your job? Neglect your children? Will you continue to lie to others about the amount of alcohol you’re drinking often drinking when you are alone or will you put your marriage at risk because you continually disappoint your partner by saying your will get help but then continue to drink? You really can’t afford not to get help.
How to Find Help for Alcohol Addiction
It’s always best to talk to your doctor when seeking help for your alcohol or drug addiction. Your family physician can put you into contact with an alcohol treatment center that is best for you. There are many treatment options available but most follow the 12 Step Program from Alcoholics Anonymous. No treatment program is right for everyone and effective treatment should attend to the broad needs of the individual, not just his or her alcohol use. Alcoholism can often mask other mental illnesses as well.
Individual and group counseling are generally considered the best form of treatment for alcohol addiction. There are out-patient and in-patient facilities. Some are very luxurious and offer spa like treatment centers with lavish living areas and other services that cater to the wealthy. Others are more like dormitories or homeless shelters. There are faith based treatment centers that offer a more spiritual approach to recovery. They can be mixed groups or be segregated by age, gender or peer group. Some offer treatment at no cost or reduced cost if payment is an issue.