Have you ever found yourself in this situation? You’re out, and after a few drinks, you tell yourself it may be time to stop. It’s late. You have to work tomorrow, but your favorite late-night show came on the TV closest to you so you have another. Life is hard, you tell yourself. Everybody needs a way to relax. No problem. Right? Well, maybe not. When it comes to alcohol, knowing when to stop is tricky. Many people use alcohol as a part of their healthy lifestyle. Others struggle with alcoholism and alcohol dependence. So, when does alcohol use turns into a problem?
Many people have found therapy invaluable if they are having trouble regulating when, where, and how they drink. Counselors can assess whether a person’s alcohol use is healthy, harmful, or possibly dependent and then offer strategies that allow the person to gain more regulation over their drinking. Treatment for alcoholism at Thriveworks Kennesaw can help people assess their alcohol use and regain control over any unhealthy dependencies or abuses.
Alcoholism and Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol use disorder, or alcoholism, is an illness that upsets the chemical balance in a person’s brain. The chemicals that release pleasure during alcohol consumption increase while the ones that control impulsiveness are reduced. This imbalance is manifested as a loss of control with regard to alcohol intake and negative emotions when alcohol is not in the body’s system. Alcohol use disorder can be mild, moderate, or severe.
It is hard to know what causes alcoholism, but people’s genes may put them at greater risk for it. Another risk factor is the age people begin to drink. Drinking before the age of 15 may increase a person’s risk for alcoholism later in life. There are many drinking habits that may be harmful to people and their loved ones, but do not necessarily signify alcohol use disorder. Therapists and doctors may need to diagnose the difference between an unhealthy drinking habit and alcohol use disorder.
Possible Red Flags for Alcoholism
Everyone, to some degree, minimizes their problems. Overcoming denial is difficult for anyone, and alcoholics are no different. There are always reasons for people’s behavior that may seem plausible at the time, but in reality, they cover over harmful behavior. While denial is understandable, the problem is that alcoholism is a dangerous illness. Left untreated, alcoholism and the harm it can cause may become more and more severe. The longer people wait to seek help, the longer they may be missing out on the benefits treatment for alcoholism may bring to their lives.
Seeking help from a therapist may be a good idea if you or someone you love has one or more of the following habits:
- Expressing anger or annoyance at not being able to drink
- Drinking while alone or in secret
- Forming a ritual or habit that involves alcohol
- Prioritizing drinking above work, family, hobbies, and friends
- Cravings for alcohol
- Drink more to experience the same buzz or good feelings
- Legal, relational, monetary or professional problems that are linked to alcohol
- Attempting to quit or reduce alcohol intake without success
- Experiencing shakes, nausea, or sweating when trying to stop drinking or going too long without a drink
Health Challenges that Can Accompany Alcoholism
While alcoholism in itself is a significant medical challenge, sustained and significant levels of alcohol within people’s bodies can cause other health challenges. A host of serious diseases may accompany alcoholism, especially if left untreated. These may include…
- Sight loss
- Liver disease
- High blood pressure
- Birth defects
- Atrial Fibrillation
- Diabetes complications
Schedule Alcoholism Therapy at Thriveworks Kennesaw
Think about the list of possible red flags for alcoholism. Do you see any of those behaviors within yourself or within someone you love? You may not be sure if you are using alcohol in a way that is healthy or a way that is harmful. That’s okay. If you want to speak to someone about your alcohol use, Thriveworks Kennesaw has appointments available with our supportive and experienced therapists.
Alcohol addiction can devastate people’s lives. If you are struggling to control the amount of alcohol you drink, it may be time to seek treatment. Thriveworks Kennesaw, GA has appointments for alcohol addiction therapy available, and if you are ready to start treatment, we are ready to support you. Call today.