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Has your drinking habit escalated to a point you are no longer comfortable with? If so, it is time to consider checking into an alcohol detox program and get your life back on track.
Nearly 7% of American adults struggle with an alcohol use disorder, meaning 15 million people have a drinking problem. Of all abused psychoactive substances, those which cause altered consciousness, alcohol abuse is the most prevalent. The good news is that it is possible to overcome alcoholism and lead a full, healthy life.
How Alcohol Abuse Turns Into Alcoholism
While true that not everyone who engages in alcohol abuse will become an alcoholic, a certain number of drinkers do. Why is that? Science has not yet provided clear answers as to why some people become addicted to alcohol while others don’t.
However, there are some risk factors that increase the chances that someone may develop a drinking problem. These factors include:
- The age you started drinking. The younger you begin experimenting with alcohol, the higher the risk of becoming an alcoholic in adulthood. In those who started drinking at age 14, 47% developed alcohol dependence vs. 7% in those who first drank at age 21.
- Family history of alcoholism. While a specific gene has not yet been found, just being exposed to heavy drinking in the family can predispose a young person to alcohol abuse later.
- Poor coping skills. Someone with undeveloped coping skills may lack the resilience needed to bounce back from negative events in life. They may gravitate toward alcohol as a maladaptive coping tool.
- Mental health disorder. Those who struggle with mental health challenges are more prone to using alcohol as a way to self-medicate. This can become habitual and evolve into alcoholism.
As tolerance to the effects of alcohol increases, so does your drinking. You’ll notice that over time it takes more alcohol to achieve the effects you once enjoyed. Meanwhile, the brain’s neurotransmitters begin to adjust in response to the consistent presence of alcohol. This changes the neural pathways and sets the stage for alcohol dependence.
Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder
You may not be sure if you actually have a drinking problem. These questions can help you identify any signs of alcohol use disorder you might have:
- Do you drink more or for a longer period than you intended?
- Do you hide alcohol bottles to prevent people from finding out about your drinking habits?
- Do you ever want to drink so badly that you cannot think of anything else?
- Have you tried to cut down on alcohol, or stop drinking, but couldn’t?
- Do you have blackouts?
- Do you spend a lot of time drinking, or getting over the effects of drinking?
- Does your drinking prevent you from taking care of your daily responsibilities at home or at work?
- Do you continue to drink even though it is causing distress in your relationships?
- Have you chosen drinking over spending time on activities you used to enjoy?
- Has your drinking caused you to endanger your health or well-being through impulsive or reckless actions?
- Do you continue to drink even though it makes you depressed or anxious?
- Do you find yourself drinking more alcohol to get the effects you want?
- Do you have withdrawal symptoms when the effects of the alcohol wear off?
How Long Are Alcohol Detox Programs
If you answered, “yes” to two or more of those questions, you meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder. This means it is time to search for an alcohol detox program that best meets your needs.
If your alcoholism is moderate to severe, you will need to be guided through detox and withdrawal by a medical detox team. Alcohol withdrawal can be unpredictable, so it is important to be supported through this first step of recovery.
During detox, you will experience three stages of withdrawal, each with its own features. The three phases involve the following:
- Early phase. On days 1-2 withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Peak phase. Withdrawal symptoms peak on days 2-4 and may include:
- Elevated blood pressure
- Irregular heart rate
- Elevated body temperature
- Increased respiration
- Mental confusion
- Mood disturbances
- Delirium tremens (rare)
- Final phase. On days 5-7 withdrawal symptoms begin to subside. Residual withdrawal symptoms might include:
- Sleep disturbances
Consider Treatment Options
After detox, you will begin the treatment phase of recovery. This is when you will learn how to remain sober, and how to rebuild your life in recovery. To accomplish this you will engage in a variety of therapies and activities to help you build new coping skills.
There are two types of treatment settings to consider:
Outpatient rehab. An outpatient treatment setting is a good fit for someone who has been proactive in addressing the drinking problem early on. You will reside at home, and then attend several hours of treatment programming weekly at an outpatient center.
Residential rehab. A residential treatment setting provides on-site housing and 24-hour support. This is a good fit for someone with a more advanced drinking problem who needs an intensive, structured program.
How to Stay Sober in Recovery After Alcohol Detox and Treatment Program
Sustaining sobriety is the challenge in recovery. To aid this goal, consider adding some of these activities to your routine:
- Take up golf. Grab a sober foursome and hit the fairways. Golf gets you outside in the fresh air and exposes you to plenty of sunshine, and time to socialize.
- Join a cycling club. Another great outdoor hobby is taking up cycling. Whether it is a street bike or a mountain bike, there are groups for both types.
- Start a garden. Starting plants from seed and watching them grow and bear fruit or vegetables is a meaningful and productive hobby.
- Volunteer. Volunteer for a favorite cause or lend a hand at a local charity. Volunteering is a great way to gain a new sense of purpose in recovery.
- Tackle a home project. Whether your passion is decorating or DIY home projects, there are plenty of ways to apply those hobbies in recovery.
Golf Drug Rehab Alcohol Detox Program
Golf Drug Rehab is a luxury coastal addiction recovery program that offers the added benefit of golf therapy. If you are ready to enter an alcohol detox program and treatment, please reach out today at (877) 958-5320.