Have you ever done this or something like it? You had plans to go out on Saturday night but at the last minute, your friends cancel. That’s frustrating, but you have a wine and Netflix. No problem. After settling in for the night, you realize it’s time for another bottle of wine. You fall asleep on the sofa and wake up the next morning to find empty wine bottles. Again. No problem. You tell yourself, Everyone deserves to relax after a long week. Right? Right. Or maybe wrong. It’s hard to know with alcohol. When does enough turn into too much? The differences between healthy drinking, harmful use, and alcoholism are not always clear.
If you are struggling with whether your alcohol use is beneficial, you are not alone. Many people need an objective perspective to assess their drinking habits, and they find that perspective through counseling. A therapist can clarify the difference between healthy and unhealthy alcohol use and treat any abusive or addictive habits.
Thriveworks Reston, VA offers therapy in Fairfax that allows clients to evaluate their alcohol use. With counseling and treatment, many clients have also overcome abusive habits or alcoholism.
Alcoholism and Its Effects
Alcoholism is also known as alcohol addiction and alcohol use disorder. It is a disease that disequilibrates a person’s brain. The chemicals that release pleasure during alcohol use and the chemicals that curb impulsiveness become unbalanced so that pleasure during alcohol use increases and control decreases. Alcohol use disorder manifests as a loss of control with regard to alcohol. Alcoholics drink impulsively and compulsively, and they often experience a depressed mood when not drinking.
Devastating social and physical effects can accompany alcoholism.
By itself, alcoholism is a challenging health problem, but high and/or sustained blood alcohol levels may cause other health challenges, including…
- Liver disease
- Diabetes complications
- High blood pressure
- Birth defects
- Atrial Fibrillation
Health effects are not the only havoc alcoholism can wreak on a person’s life. When alcoholism destroys control over drinking, people can lose control of behavior in many ways that affect their friends, family, community, and work.
During alcohol use, people may become emotionally unstable. Tensions often rise while the ability to cope with frustrations falls. Alcoholics may engage in harmful behavior and even become violent, whether they are drinking or not. It is difficult to quantify the amount of relational harm can be caused, but it is often severe.
Adding to tensions, alcoholism can cause financial stress. Alcoholics frequently miss work or are less productive at their job. They may miss wages or receive a pay-cut.
When dealing with their loved one, friends and family often become increasingly frustrated and confused. They may desire to help the alcoholic find treatment, but if their loved one does not want to seek help, they may be limited in what they can do. Furthermore, some forms of help may enable the addiction. At times, friends and family members may also need to protect themselves from harm.
The most effective treatments for alcoholism usually take a multifaceted approach. Many people think of detox when they think of treating alcoholism, but ridding the body of alcohol is often only the first step. Once sobriety is achieved, it needs to be sustained. Long-term treatment of alcoholism may include one or more of these components:
- Counseling – a therapist can explore the root causes of the alcoholism. Counseling may unearth why a person began drinking and/or any unhealthy thought processes that exacerbate the alcoholism. A counselor can then teach new coping strategies and healthy thinking processes.
- Support Groups – group therapy has long been a component of successfully treating alcoholism. Alcoholics often find understanding and empathy among fellow alcoholics, but they can also hold each other accountable to their sobriety goals.
- Medication – for certain people and at certain times in the recovery process, medicine may be appropriate and/or necessary. An appropriately licensed therapist or doctor can advise when medication may benefit.
Appointments for Therapy in Fairfax, VA
Consider when and how you use alcohol. Can you recognize your own behavior in this list?
- Feeling annoyed or angry when sober
- Attempting to quit or curb drinking without success
- Drinking more and more for the same buzz
- Using alcohol alone or in secret
- Fibbing about alcohol use
- Craving alcohol
- Shaking, sweating, and/or vomiting when going too long without a drink
If you recognized one or more of these behaviors in your own life, it may be time to seek a professional’s help.
The therapists at Thriveworks Reston, VA have guided and supported many people as they recover from alcoholism. We provide client-centered care from the first time you call to schedule an appointment.
When you call to make an appointment, a scheduling specialist (i.e., a person) will answer and help you. We offer convenient appointment times, and often see first time clients within 24-hours. We also accept many insurance plans.
There is hope and help for alcoholism. Call today for an appointment.