According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 15.1 million adults aged 18 or older had alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2015. About 6.7% of these individuals sought treatment, leaving an extremely wide gap. Alcoholism is known as a disease that causes cravings to drink, loss of control over drinking, physical dependence, and tolerance by needing to drink more to achieve the initial effect. People with alcoholism or alcohol use disorder experience significant distress in their daily lives, as their drinking has affected their work, home, and/or social life as well as potential health and finances. Many people who drink heavily believe they can “cut down” or “lessen” their drinking whenever they want – is this true?
Essentially, it all leads down to dependence. A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that most Americans who drink more than one or two drinks a day do not have alcoholism because their bodies would show signs of dependence. Physical dependence occurs when the body experiences withdrawal symptoms – such as anxiety, shaky hands, headaches, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and insomnia – that are very unpleasant. Other signs of dependence include worrying about when the next drink will be, planning events around alcohol, finding it difficult to stop drinking once you start, and feeling the need to drink in the morning. In other words, if a person does not have alcoholism, they may be able to have enough control to slow down.
However, many people with alcoholism will say they can “quit anytime” as an excuse to continue drinking – this is due to changes in the brain that the addiction has caused. If you have not yet developed alcoholism but have been abusing alcohol, consider keeping a journal and tracker of your drinking habits, setting a goal of when, where, and how much you will allow yourself to drink without going overboard, getting rid of any alcohol in the house, drinking very slowly when you do drink, being mindful of peer pressure, guarding yourself against temptations to drink, and more. If you or a loved one has alcoholism, treatment is the only option to ensure the right measures are being taken to move towards sobriety.
If you’re seeking a mental health and/or substance abuse recovery treatment center, call us today at 855-412-2426. Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed treatment center with licensed, experienced professionals who care about your recovery. We have a variety of methods that we can try with you to see what works and will help you develop a customized treatment plan to best suit your needs. Make the decision to place your health and happiness as top priority and call us for a consultation.