When people refer to someone as “having an alcohol problem,” it does not always necessarily mean they are an alcoholic. Problems with alcohol can range from occasionally drinking to harmful levels (also known as binge drinking) to alcohol dependence and alcoholism. To have a drinking problem, one does not have to exhibit all the symptoms of an alcohol use disorder, as listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM-5). Even if someone displays only a few symptoms, they may have a problem with alcohol that could benefit from treatment. For anyone struggling with alcohol, it is important to know the long-term effects of alcoholism and how to find treatment.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates over 18 million American youth and adults have alcohol use disorders of varying severity. It is important to remember that alcoholism (formerly referred to as an alcohol use disorder) is not a problem created overnight. It emerges from long-term alcohol abuse. For most adults, occasional, moderate drinking is not a cause for concern. However, when alcohol consumption becomes uncontrollable, addiction and alcoholism could become a problem.
What are the Signs of Alcoholism?
It is essential to understand that chronic alcohol dependence (regularly drinking alcohol) differs from moderate drinking. Regular drinkers often develop a powerful emotional attachment to alcohol and how drinking makes them person feel. While a moderate drinker may pair a glass of wine with dinner, a regular drinker uses alcohol to improve their emotional well-being and make themselves “feel good.” As drinking increases and the increase continues, one becomes more dependent on alcohol to achieve happiness, and the risk of developing alcoholism increases dramatically.
Alcoholism is a progressive disease with several stages. Therefore, it is crucial to understand what alcohol addiction looks like so you know when it is time to ask for help. Perhaps your drinking has caused significant problems in various areas of your life (including social, legal, and personal), yet you choose not to or cannot stop drinking. In that case, it is time to seek treatment at a treatment center like Liberty House Recovery Center.
Before alcohol dependence develops, many people go through the “problem drinking” phase. At this point, frequent, uncontrolled alcohol abuse has led to the drinker feeling and seeing the effects of their habit. Again, at this point, drinking and alcohol have become a problem for which treatment is vital. During this phase, one may become more depressed and anxious and possibly experience sleep difficulties. There are specific social challenges that are commonly attributed to problem drinking, which include:
- Relationship challenges or loss of relationships
- Decreased social activity due to erratic and unpredictable behavior
- A drastic and sudden change in one’s social circle
- Difficulty conversing with strangers
- Poor performance at work or school
- Neglect of responsibilities
- Legal troubles
- Choosing to drink despite knowing of the harms it causes
What are the Long-Term Effects of Alcoholism?
Identifying problems related to drinking and alcohol consumption early on is critical to help avoid dependence and eventual addiction. The longer someone has been struggling with addiction, the harder it is to take the steps necessary to achieve sobriety. The deeper into the stages of alcoholism someone goes, the more difficult it is to quit drinking, and the more likely they are to develop long-term physical side effects. A few examples of these include:
- Damage to the liver, liver failure, or cirrhosis of the liver
- Heart disease
- Brain damage
- Mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, and increased risk of suicide
How to Find an Alcohol Rehab Program in Michigan
If you or a loved one live with the daily challenges posed by symptoms of an alcohol use disorder, don’t wait another day to seek help. At Liberty House Recovery Center, an inpatient drug rehab in Michigan, we understand that seeking treatment is difficult. Many unknowns are associated with going to rehab, which often leads to worry and concern about what the experience might be like. Safely and effectively overcoming alcohol addiction requires comprehensive and careful intervention by a team of trained medical and mental health professionals. Alcohol withdrawal can produce several unpleasant and sometimes dangerous effects, best managed with support and guidance in a treatment program. If you are ready to take the first steps towards sobriety, let us help. Contact a member of our admissions team today to learn more about overcoming alcohol addiction at our luxury drug and alcohol rehab in Michigan.