Alcohol abuse is one of the most significant public health issues in the United States. Many people struggle to control their drinking at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, the cycle of alcoholism can set in before you realize. Once this cycle begins, it can be difficult to break.
The Dangerous Normalization of Alcoholism
In many cases, people fail to realize they could be at risk of becoming dependent on alcohol. After all, drinking is normalized during many social events and gatherings. Drinking to cope with stress is also often accepted by society. This normalization can make recognizing early signs of addiction difficult.
People may not realize they need to limit their alcohol consumption until they experience consequences the next morning. Consequences can start as small as having a terrible hangover. They may include remembering embarrassing or dangerous things you said or did under the influence.
During this period, you might be filled with regrets. You may swear you will never drink again. However, once the hangover wears off, you may find yourself with a drink in your hand again. This can become a recurring issue that winds up being normalized.
Alcohol dependence can gradually take over your life. It can affect your relationships, family system, job, and overall health.
According to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 14 million adults have an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Additionally, 1 in 10 children lives at home with a parent who has a drinking problem.
Such drinking problems affect not only the person with alcohol dependence, but also the people surrounding them. Children are vulnerable people who depend on their parents to make responsible decisions for their growth and development. Parents with AUD who don’t get the help they need risk passing down trauma to their children.
AUD is a medical condition that doctors can diagnose and treat. Doctors can diagnose the severity of an AUD based on a questionnaire.
The following are a few of the questions asked to determine if you have developed alcohol dependence.
In the past year, have you:
- Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
- More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
- Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
- Experienced craving—a strong need, or urge, to drink?
- Found that drinking—or being sick from drinking—often interfered with taking care of your home or family? caused job troubles? Or school problems?
These are only some of the questions doctors ask. If you answer yes to more than two questions, doctors recommend you get the help you need urgently.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 140,000 people die from excessive drinking in the United States every year. Learning about the risks of alcohol can help you prevent a long road of suffering.
People begin drinking for various reasons at different points in their lives. Some common reasons why young people start drinking include curiosity, boredom, loneliness, and social reasons.
Drinking has become something normal often seen on TV as it is advertised and targeted to young people and adults. According to the NIAAA, the stage of life at which a person starts drinking has extensive consequences.
It is common for people to start drinking during adolescence. They may increase their drinking to the point of peeking during their early twenties. During this time, young people are at risk of injuries and accidents while under the influence. Studies show that those who start drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop AUD in the future.
Drinking at an early age can also affect brain development. This can compromise cognitive function in both the short and long term. Therefore, a key to preventing alcohol abuse is to educate young people about the consequences early on and to restrict them from drinking until the proper age.
Treatment for Alcoholism
Getting treatment for alcohol abuse-related issues can start with a visit to your primary care physician. A doctor can evaluate your drinking pattern and help create a treatment plan. They can evaluate your overall health and determine if medication for alcohol is appropriate. They can also refer you to other treatment providers that specialize in alcoholism, such as Dream Recovery.
The treatment types we provide include individual therapy, medications, and group and family therapy. Through behavioral counseling, 12-step programs, and medications, you can begin to recover and live a more fulfilled life.
While there are various treatment opportunities, there are multiple barriers keeping people from receiving the help they need. These barriers include stigma and shame associated with alcohol misuse, financial constraints, and lack of transportation or childcare.
Even with such barriers to care, Dream Reovery is here to make treatment for alcoholism work for you. We provide outpatient rehab that works with your life, schedule, and family.
Alcohol abuse is one of the most significant public health issues in the United States. People often begin drinking without thinking of the short- and long-term consequences until they learn about them the hard way, through experience. Alcohol dependence can affect the person themselves and the people surrounding them, such as family. We can prevent alcohol abuse by learning about the consequences of drinking early on. Here, at Dream Recovery, we treat alcoholism as a medical condition that requires professional attention. While there may be barriers keeping you from receiving the help you need, it is important to prioritize treatment. Call us at (657) 216-7218 to find out how we can help you.