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How Can I Stop Drinking Out Of Control?
The New Year is the perfect time to address an alcohol use disorder if you find yourself thinking, “My drinking is out of control!” Who knew when you began the daily habit of enjoying a glass of wine at dinner that it could lead to alcoholism? But over time, that one glass of wine slowly turned into two glasses, and then three. The scary thing is that the more you drank, the more you seemed to need to reach that relaxed state. Tolerance is the usual route of how a substance like alcohol can make subtle changes in your brain that lead to addiction. When one glass of wine might have given you a nice relaxed feeling, over time that one glass no longer had the same effect. And so it went. Now that you realize that your drinking is out of control, it is time to look at the treatment options. There are several types of treatment settings that can help you wrest yourself free from alcohol. Keep reading to learn more about alcohol use disorder (AUD) and treatment.
How to Recognize the Signs of Alcoholism
So, even though you might realize “my drinking is out of control,” how do you know if you have an AUD? Read through this list of common signs and symptoms of alcoholism:
- Increased tolerance. You become more tolerant to the effects of alcohol. This causes you to increase consumption to achieve the initial effects.
- Cannot control your drinking. You may attempt to cut back or stop drinking but cannot. Drinking has become compulsive.
- Obsess about drinking. You might find yourself thinking about drinking, planning for the next chance to drink, and making sure you have alcohol.
- It disrupts your life. You might start having blackouts and forget things you did while intoxicated. You might miss a lot of work due to hangovers. You avoid the things you used to enjoy and drink instead.
- Relationships are impacted. Because drinking is your priority it can cause problems in relationships.
- Become dishonest. You might begin lying about how much you are drinking, or hide alcohol around the house.
- Ignore responsibilities. As your drinking problem worsens you neglect your obligations.
- Begin having money problems. A drinking problem can lead to money problems due to a job loss or legal fees.
- Have withdrawal symptoms. When the alcohol wears off you begin to have withdrawal symptoms.
Effects of Alcohol on the Brain
Alcohol has a profound impact on the brain. In fact, alcohol addiction is referred to as a disease of the brain. Here are some ways that alcohol can harm your brain:
- Impairment. Alcohol-related cognitive impairment can be severe. These include short-term blackouts and memory lapses. The long-term effects on cognitive functions include trouble concentrating and memory loss.
- Increased impulsivity. This is caused by changes in the brain’s limbic system. This is the region where executive functions like decision-making and self-control are regulated.
- Brain matter shrinkage. MRI imaging studies show shrinkage of the hippocampus in alcoholics. This is the region in the brain that is related to reasoning skills and memory.
- Thiamine deficiency. Alcoholism can cause a serious brain disorder called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS). WKS is a condition that causes brain lesions leading to mental confusion and nerve paralysis in the optic region. It can also lead to psychosis.
- Dementia. Alcohol dependency can accelerate dementia.
Do I Need a Medical Detox?
When you have a deeply entrenched alcohol problem it is never advised to quit drinking cold turkey on your own. There are some very severe withdrawal symptoms that can emerge without notice. These can quickly become a health emergency if you are not in a setting where medical staff is watching over your symptoms. For this reason it is crucial that you do not attempt to stop drinking without supervision. There are three distinct stages involved in alcohol detox. These include:
- Stage I: The early phase of withdrawal begins within 6-8 hours of the last drink. This stage lasts a day or two. Symptoms include gut pain, nausea, vomiting, tremors, fatigue, anxiety, foggy thinking, and insomnia.
- Stage II: During the second phase symptoms will peak. These can include increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, fever, increased breathing rate, mental confusion, sweating, mood swings, and irritability.
- Stage III: The final stage has symptoms starting to subside. There is often depression, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, and cravings present.
Embracing Recovery from Alcohol Use Disorder
After detox it is time for treatment. There are two different types of alcohol rehab to consider: Inpatient rehab. An inpatient program involves staying in rehab housing. This level of care is best for those with a long history of heavy alcohol use. These programs last from 1-6 months. These programs are more intensive, with ongoing therapy throughout the week. Outpatient rehab. An outpatient program is less structured and allows for you to reside at home during the treatment period. Outpatient programs are best suited for mild or recent AUD. Therapy is based on the person’s addiction history and treatment needs. Once you have completed the rehab program your new sober life begins. There are many things to look forward to after treatment, such as:
- Health is restored. You are likely to lose weight, and simply feel better after you are sober for a while.
- New friends. In recovery you will begin forming new friendships and enjoy sober activities together.
- Renewed joy. As you slowly begin to feel better and restore your career and relationships you will soon begin to feel happier.
If you hear yourself saying, “My drinking is out of control,” then it is time to get some help. Reach out today!
LifeSync Malibu Provides Luxury Rehab for Alcoholism
LifeSync Malibu is dedicated to helping people in their quest to break the grip of alcohol addiction. If you think your drinking is out of control, then it is probably true. Take that first step today and call us today at (866) 491-4426.