Dependency on alcohol can sneak up on you without ever having realised there was a problem. A habit that is hard to break, it becomes all-consuming.
A few harmless drinks or a few too many?
Rewarding yourself with a few drinks at the end of a hard day has become somewhat of a norm. Whether in a social situation or even once home alone, the draw to have a drink or few in order to relax and unwind can quickly become a habit that creates a false sense of security and an ultimate escape from reality.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines ‘at risk’ drinking to be three drinks per day for women and four drinks per day for men. These figures often surprise many regular drinkers who may consider themselves to be in complete control of their intake. However, regularly drinking over time will inevitably lead to developing a tolerance, which therefore increases the risk of higher intake.
There are various reasons as to why an individual may become dependent on alcohol. Genes play a part in the equation, as well as a variety of social and environmental factors.
Signs of addiction
So how do you know that you might well be heading towards a habit that is not only hard to break but with ramifications that can quickly spiral out of control? What does it actually mean to become addicted? Whether an addiction relates to alcohol, drugs, gambling or even smoking, it is a physical or psychological need to engage in something to a stage where it becomes harmful to you or those around you.
Signs that may indicate an addiction to alcohol can oftentimes go ignored and include:
• An overwhelming concern relating to where your next drink is coming from
• Organising events, whether social, work or family related around the consumption of alcohol
• Realising that once you start drinking it is difficult to stop
• Physical withdrawal symptoms, such as excessive sweating, nausea and shaking
• Feelings of anxiety and depression
Despite the fact that the results of heavy drinking can wreak havoc on both the mental and physical state, many people suffering from such an addiction choose to ignore these facts, often taking on the attitude that it couldn’t possibly happen to them. Physically speaking, excessive consumption of alcohol can cause heart problems, high blood pressure, liver disease and weight gain, while mental health issues include anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts.
How to get help
Realising that you may have developed a dependency on alcohol is often a hard truth to face. Consider your habits; do you drink alone? Do you find yourself craving alcohol or relying on it to ease your stress? Have you created situations that make drinking more acceptable to you, such as rewarding yourself with alcohol as it is a certain time of day or because you’ve finished a task and ‘deserve a drink’.
If you are concerned about your drinking habits, keep a diary of what and when you are drinking. Write down how much you are spending. Oftentimes, seeing such facts in writing can open your eyes as to how much you really do drink and depend on its effects to deal with daily life.
Admitting to any issue that causes you or others concern is the first step in taking back control. There is no shame in admittance. It is important to speak with someone who you trust. Seeking professional help to deal with any addiction is an imperative part of overcoming its grip.
Our treatment programmes
The Wave Clinic provides dedicated treatment that is tailored to each individual suffering from any form of alcohol addiction. Using both behavioural and developmental forms of treatment, the involvement and support of family is also encouraged to enable in the full recovery process.
During treatment, five key elements are applied; medical support, structure, intensive care and ongoing treatment, family interaction and aftercare. These processes have been carefully structured to meet the specific needs of every individual who enters the programme.
With support and treatment provided by trained professionals in an environment that encourages growth, our programmes give you the tools that you need to maintain ongoing sobriety so that you can lead a fulfilling life that is alcohol free.
If you are in the grips of an alcohol addiction or know somebody who is, contact us to learn how our treatment programmes can help.