Alcohol Dependence – What are the Signs?

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alcohol dependence

Over half of the population in the United States drinks alcohol on a regular basis. Alcohol dependence and abuse affect nearly 30% of the population. Almost half of those numbers suffer from alcohol dependence. Most people affected are unable to overcome this dependence on their own, but need , such as from a qualified treatment center.

Alcohol Dependence versus Alcohol Abuse

Both alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence share many characteristics. However, the abuser can stop drinking, while those individuals who are dependent are not generally able to. Whereas the one who abuses alcohol can resist an offered drink, the person who is dependent usually cannot.

Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse can typically be identified by certain behaviors and choices, including:

  • -High risk drinking
  • -Drinking despite problems it causes
  • -Consuming large amounts of alcohol
  • -Drinking that affect responsibilities or health

With normal alcohol use, the drinker doesn’t feel a specific need to drink, and can stop whenever so choosing, as there is no physical dependence on alcohol involved. Continuing to abuse alcohol can lead to alcohol dependence.

Symptoms of Alcohol Dependence

Those with alcohol dependence exhibit the same symptoms as those who abuse alcohol. The difference is that the former are also physically dependent on alcohol. Dependency symptoms may include:

  • -A strong craving, or urge to drink
  • -Being unable to stop once drinking begins
  • -Increased tolerance to alcohol
  • -Withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit
  • -Trying to quit but unable to follow through Those who are physically dependent on alcohol may try to quit more than once, but are unable to by themselves because the withdrawal symptoms become too much to bear.

Withdrawal from Alcohol

Alcohol withdrawal is a painful process that can be deadly in certain cases. This is not a reason to keep drinking, rather an indication that it is important to be admitted into a qualified detox facility to receive treatment for withdrawal. Symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol dependence include:

  • -Anxiety, depression
  • -Irritability, mood swings
  • -Tremors, shakiness
  • -Loss of appetite, gastrointestinal problems
  • -Clamminess, sweating.

In severe cases, withdrawal also includes the DTs, or delirium tremors. Symptoms of this dangerous condition include:

  • -Agitation
  • -Extreme confusion/delirium
  • -Rapid heartrate -Hallucinations
  • -Fever
  • -Seizures

DTs can be dangerous or even fatal, so those who are undergoing withdrawal from alcohol dependence need to be medically supervised during the detoxification process.

Treatment for Alcohol Dependence

Scientifically proven treatment options can significantly increase the risk of success when overcoming alcohol dependence. A psychological assessment is performed to identify the root of the drinking problem, after which an individualized treatment plan is created and implemented. Individual and group therapy sessions maximize the effectiveness of treatment. 12 step and non 12 step recovery program offers the most effective means of treatment for overcoming the dependence on alcohol. Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to get to the core of the problems leading to drinking issues, while motivational enhancement therapy helps to repattern behaviors to prevent a recurrence of abuse of alcohol. Beautiful facilities, the most comfortable detox, dual diagnosis therapies, and Healthy Activities programs prepare the individual to return to real-life situations without returning to old drinking behaviors, and to remain free of alcohol for good.

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