For many people, drinking alcohol is a part of socialising, going out, and often, their weekly routine. Therefore, it can be hard to differentiate between alcohol use and alcohol abuse. Drinking addictions can slowly begin and take over users’ lives before they’ve even realised they have a problem.
Signs of an alcohol addiction can be broken down into three stages:
Occasional alcohol abuse
Drinkers will often self-medicate with alcohol, and drink with the aim to get drunk to escape negative thoughts or feelings. In this stage, users may not drink every day, and will still be able to perform usual tasks. Although, by this stage, they may need to drink more to reach the same level of intoxication, thus causing more damage to their body.
Users may feel there is no issue at this point, as they are not entirely dependent and can still maintain a job and relationships with friends or family. Yet, after consuming the first drink, they will find it much harder to contain themselves and will struggle to control the amount they drink.
Alcohol is more frequently used as a coping mechanism
Many use alcohol as a way to relax and unwind. However, users at this stage of a developing drinking addiction will see alcohol as a necessity to de-stress and believe they will not be able to cope without it.
Other rational thoughts and coping skills will begin to disappear and be replaced by a desire to address any problem with alcohol. A user will not necessarily suffer from physical addiction to alcohol, and instead, see more of a psychological reliance on it.
To friends and family, signs of an alcohol addiction may not yet be evident. Individuals may justify their behaviour by saying they enjoy cutting loose and having a good time.
The repercussions of alcohol addiction begin to show
This stage is when users may begin to notice they have a problem, although will usually be unaware of the changes alcohol has made to their life. Users may try to set boundaries by telling themselves they will only drink a certain amount, or until a specific time. However, due to the ignorance or lack of understanding of the severity of the condition, may not follow these boundaries. It is also at this point that friends and family will begin to notice the signs of alcohol addiction.
Alcoholics at this stage will revolve their lives around alcohol, and the consequences of their alcohol abuse. Alongside this, users will begin to see physical changes to their bodies; this may include weight gain, such as distended stomach or ‘beer belly’; weight loss, from replacing food with alcohol; and a change in skin colour.
Detoxification from alcohol
Long-term alcohol addiction can put users at severe medical risk if they attempt to completely withdraw from alcohol consumption without prior medical advice or supervision. Some addicts will be able to reduce their alcohol intake and then focus on their alcohol dependency. However, some long-term addicts will need to go through a detoxification process.
Our bespoke rehabilitation programmes provide all the help and assistance needed to ensure the benefits of detoxification are not lost, by preventing old habits from reforming. Our fully personalised treatment programmes are proven and effective methods of treating alcoholism.
Friends and family members of those with a drinking addiction often greatly suffer too. That’s why we can arrange family interventions where necessary, and our team offers unlimited telephone support to friends and family of those addicted.
For more information on the treatments services offered by Charterhouse Clinic for alcohol addiction, please visit our alcohol addiction treatment page.