The prevalence of alcohol in so many aspects of our daily lives can make detecting an alcohol abuse problem or alcoholism extremely difficult. Celebrations both big and small, office events and, of course, gatherings with friends often include alcohol. However, drinking often does not necessarily indicate a problem. Having a few drinks very frequently or a high number of drinks infrequently (binge drinking) can both harm your health and increase your tolerance, making it more likely for your drinking to turn into an abuse or addiction problem.
If you have begun to abuse alcohol or think you have an addiction problem, you will probably find it very difficult to stop drinking. You will find opportunities to drink and temptations everywhere. Also, willpower alone will very seldom overcome your body’s chemical dependency on alcohol once one has developed. Despite its prevalency, alcohol behaves like any drug in your system. The more you use, the stronger your chemical dependency will be and the harder you will find it to quit on your own.
Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
Because you can hide many symptoms from family and friends, it may take longer to detect an abuse or addiction problem if you have one. If you abuse alcohol or think you have an addiction problem, you will likely experience many or all of the following physical and social symptoms.
- difficulty in remembering and memory loss
- inability to drink less or stop drinking
- shaky hands
- motor issues such as frequent accidents or falls
- difficulty driving, leading to tickets and accidents
- blackouts or passing-out
- guilty feelings after drinking
- hiding evidence of your drinking
- impulse control problems
- others express concern about your drinking
- sensitivity to comments on your drinking
- emotional or physical harm caused to others, attributable to drinking
- relationship and/or work problems, caused by drinking
Alcoholism’s Long-Term Consequences
Symptoms of long-term alcohol abuse or addiction can dramatically increase in severity, causing very serious medical problems that can threaten your life. Some symptoms, due to their nature, may only be detectable by the user, however.
Symptoms of long-term, heavy use or alcoholism include:
- pancreatitis (an inflammation or impairment of the pancreas)
- inability to absorb nutrients (induced by pancreatitis)
- hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia and/or symptoms associated with diabetes (induced by pancreatitis)
- cirrhosis (an inflammation, scarring or impairment)
- increased presence of body toxins (cirrhosis induced)
- central nervous system damage
- damage to the frontal lobe
Symptoms of Withdrawal from Alcohol
The severity of your withdrawal symptoms will vary significantly depending on how much you have drunk in the past and the length of your alcohol use. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may include many or all of the following symptoms.
- heavy perspiration
- an irregular heartbeat
- very high blood-pressure
- shakiness and/or tremors
- seizures, hallucinations or delirium, in extreme cases
- delirium tremens, in extreme cases
The Critical Need for Supervised Detox
Withdrawal symptoms can often feel as powerful and negative as excess drinking, and like the symptoms of drinking itself, they can also threaten your health. Eliminating alcohol consumption “cold-turkey” can have a severe impact on your physical abilities, such as impairing your motor function, and also on your mental health, often leading to anxiety or hallucinations. Further, you will not know in advance which symptoms you will experience or how severely they will affect you.
A medically-supervised detox ensures that you will have a safe, monitored environment in which to break your chemical dependency and will safeguard your physical and mental health. In a medically-supervised detox, you will have medical attention available 24×7 to increase your comfort, minimize painful symptoms, manage the occurrence of unexpected symptoms and anticipate problems before they happen. Increasing your comfort level also increases the likelihood you will complete your alcohol detox and your chances of achieving sobriety.
The Serenity Recovery Center’s Integrated Approach to Detox
Addiction is more than a medical problem. It is a problem which has many originating causes and affects all aspects of your life. Simply ending your dependence on alcohol will not provide you with long-lasting sobriety, although a medically-supervised detox will be necessary for further treatment and remaining sober.
Everyone you will encounter at The Serenity Recovery Center shares a set of common beliefs — that respecting the individual and treating our guests as people first and patients second will enhance the effectiveness of the treatment you will receive here, and that if you address all aspects of your addiction, you can beat it.
The Serenity Recovery Center’s compassionate, holistic approach embodies those principles and our detox and addiction treatment programs have helped thousands leave drug and alcohol use behind and start a new, substance-free life. Beating addiction requires professional treatment, but the right kind of treatment can do you more good. You deserve a second chance, and The Serenity Recovery Center wants to help you get it.
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