Have you ever done this or something like it? It’s Saturday evening. You had plans to go out, but your friend had to cancel. No big deal. You open a bottle of wine and turn on Netflix. You didn’t pay attention to how much you drank before you fell asleep in front of the TV. In the morning, you find more than one bottle open. It was a long week, you tell yourself. It’s ok to kick back on the weekends. Obviously. Or maybe not so obviously. Maybe you use alcohol in a healthy way, but maybe you are forming an alcohol dependency. Alcoholism, especially if left untreated, can cause serious harm, but knowing where the line is between healthy and unhealthy alcohol use can be tricky.
When making decisions about how, why, when, and where to use alcohol, many people seek the help of a therapist. Counseling has helped many people gain more control over their drinking habits.
The therapists at Thriveworks Fredericksburg together with their clients, can assess alcohol consumption and provide treatment for any habits that may be unhealthy or harmful.
What Is Alcoholism?
Alcohol use disorder, more commonly known as alcoholism, is a disease wherein people lose control of their drinking habits because of an imbalance in their brain. The chemicals in the brain that release pleasure when alcohol is drunk increase while the chemicals that control impulsivity decrease.
Alcoholics usually drink compulsively, have negative feelings when they are not drinking, and are unable to regulate their alcohol consumption.
There are many drinking habits that may be harmful or abusive but are not alcoholism. Alcohol use disorder has to do with control. It is a progressive disease with mild, moderate, and severe symptoms.
The Symptoms of Alcoholism
Take a moment to consider how to use alcohol. Can you resonate with any of these behaviors?
- Drunk by yourself
- Lied about how much, where, why, or why you drink
- Kept your alcohol use a secret
- Formed a ritual involving alcohol
- Felt annoyed or angry when you could not drink
- Lost interest in work, family, friends, or hobbies because your prioritized drinking
- Craved a drink
- Drunk more to get the same buzz or good feeling you usually get
- Had relational, professional, legal, or monetary difficulty because of how you drink
- Tried to drink less or quit drinking without success
- Felt sweaty, nauseated, or shaky after going too long without a drink, trying to quit, or drinking less than normal
Did you recognize any of these behaviors in your own life? If you or a loved one exhibits one or more of the items on the list, seeking professional help may be necessary.
Alcoholism is an awful illness, but therapists and doctors have made great strides in providing treatment for it. There are many possible paths to treatment and recovery, depending upon a person’s level of alcohol dependence. Thriveworks Fredericksburg, VA’s therapists work with each client to tailor a treatment plan that meets their specific needs.
In general, therapists take a multi-faceted approach to treating alcoholism. They often combine pharmacological, psychological, or psychosocial elements when forming a treatment plan.
Pharmacological – Because alcoholism is brain imbalance, certain medications may benefit people. These medications may be used to reach a specific goal and then discontinued, or they may help certain people achieve and maintain sobriety for a lifetime. A trained therapist or doctor should supervise any medicinal treatment for alcoholism.
Psychological – Therapy that helps alcoholics explore when and how the alcohol dependency formed can often help during treatment. Counseling can also teach people new coping skills that give them more control over the choices they make.
Psychosocial – Group therapy and/or support groups have long played an important role in treating alcohol dependency. These groups often provide the understanding and accountability that alcoholics need.
Setting Up Treatment
Are you concerned about your drinking habits? As you considered the list of symptoms for alcoholism, did you recognize anything that you have done? Reaching out for help may be a good idea. A therapist at Thriveworks Fredericksburg can help you assess your alcohol consumption and treat anything dependencies that may be forming.
We know that life is stressful enough and that scheduling an appointment for counseling should not be stressful. Here are a few things we have done to make it easier to set up treatment for alcohol dependency:
- A real person will answer your call and schedule your appointment
- We offer weekend and night sessions
- First time clients often see their therapist within 24 hours
- We do not keep a waitlist
- We work with many insurance companies.
Help for alcohol dependency is available. Call Thriveworks Fredericksburg, VA at 540-322-5424 to set up your appointment with an experienced and caring therapist.