People who drink never see an addiction coming. It often sneaks up on them after some time. Recreational drinking can get some people addicted, while some get trapped accidentally. Depending on an individual’s tolerance level, it may take one week to several months for addiction to penetrate its roots. In reality, addiction to alcohol is a stealthy ambush predator that catches the drinker totally unawares. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than 15 million people — 9.8 million men and 5.3 million women — aged 18 and older battled alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the United States.
Daniel (name changed), 72, of Santa Margarita inherited an extensive 100-acre ranch from his parents 35 years ago. Fresh air and rustic countryside living were initially very appealing but several hardships and pitfalls soon made his life tough. Dealing with risk on a daily basis became a part and parcel of his life. During such taxing moments, a drink or two helped him de-stress and forget his problems.
In no time, the bedtime shots started feeling inadequate to soothe his nerves. He began to have another drink in the morning to douse his cravings. Soon, bedtime shots in addition to wake-up boosters became a necessity. However, the surprising part was that Daniel never found it unusual. As the years rolled by, the sudden loss of his wife aggravated his alcohol consumption. Inability to sleep further exacerbated his depression. Though he felt that alcohol was the only remedy, his condition only got worse with the next glass.
Once when Daniel narrowly missed a serious accident, his daughter knew that things weren’t fine. His usual morning shots, which extended till noon, had impaired his ability to steer the wheel and landed him in a deep ditch. Though Daniel didn’t take the whole thing very seriously, his daughter was unwavering. She knew her father needed help to break free from the clutches of alcohol. It was time to talk to a counselor.
Recognizing signs of alcoholism
Many people who struggle with drinking problems manifest symptoms, which are easily identifiable. Further, in terms of seeking help their near and dear ones have a clear advantage as they can push such them to seek professional help. However, there are many others whose warning signs are not very apparent so treatment as an option is never considered. The key to determining if someone is suffering from alcoholism is investigation based on the following factors:
- Uncontrollable desire to drink.
- High tolerance to alcohol and other signs of dependence.
- Negative outcomes of alcohol such as job termination, legal hassles or troubled relationships.
- Frequent bouts of emotional ups and downs
- Tendency to indulge in risky behaviors
Nevertheless, differentiating between social and problematic drinking may require information about individuals’ drinking habits and the impact on their lives. Sometimes, in an effort to gain valuable inputs, health care providers may design screening questionnaires to identify people with drinking problems. Specific questions based on extensive research serve to make accurate assessments about AUD in target audiences. This is very important because AUD has less to do with the quantity of alcohol consumption and more with the consequences on a person’s life. Results of such screening questionnaires form the basis of further clinical assessments.
In the wake of the National Men’s Health Week (June 12-18), it is imperative to encourage men to remain sober by providing the right information on how to safeguard themselves from addiction while caring for their physical as well as mental health. As a thumb rule, women who have more than three drinks per day or seven each week are said to be at risk. In the case of men, the upper limit is four drinks a day or 14 per week. However, it is highly recommended to have two or three alcohol-free days each week. Above all, people with alcohol addiction need to look at modifying their destructive habits through alternatives such as substitute, healthy drinks and distractions. In fact, counseling sessions in rehab centers focus on helping individuals with alcoholism to view the substance as a choice rather than a compulsion.
Seeking professional help
When dealing with people suffering from alcoholism, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. What may work for one person may not be a good solution for another. Sovereign Health understands the plight of someone who is unable to discontinue the use of alcohol despite the negative impact on his or her life.
One of the leading alcohol addiction treatment centers, Sovereign Health of Palm Desert’s “personal recovery integrating men’s experiences” (PRIME) program provides a supportive and safe recovery environment for men over the age of 40, who are battling various substance use disorders. The PRIME program provides treatment for addiction, which can help reverse the damaging effects of alcohol by addressing the underlying causes of alcoholism in individuals grappling with such a condition. If you or your loved one is battling an addiction to alcohol, call our 24/7 helpline number or chat online to know about the most effective alcoholism treatment programs.