Alcohol Addiction & Alcoholism
People use drugs for a variety of reasons. Nowadays, a lot of us face stress that overwhelms both mentally and emotionally. Because of this, there's been a steady rise in substance abuse. This includes alcohol abuse, which is the most widespread substance use disorder in the United States. The rise in alcohol addiction affects individuals and families. Alcohol treatment is available click here to see our treatment options. Read on to learn more about alcoholism and alcohol treatment.
What is alcohol addiction?
Alcohol addiction (commonly known as alcoholism) is when a person abuses or consumes alcohol so regularly that they become dependent on the drug to feel normal. Alcohol is not an illegal drug if you're over the age of twenty-one. Most people twenty-one and older can purchase alcohol with ease. While it's not illegal, it's still just as dangerous as illegal substances, and because it's so easy for people to obtain the problem becomes harder to control and monitor. For most of the population they can consume alcohol in moderation and be completely fine. However, when someone begins to abuse alcohol, or become dependent on the drug, a problem can form quickly. When individuals consume alcohol at unhealthy or dangerous rates they're not only putting themselves at risk, but others as well.
Drinking and Driving
The most common moving violations that involve alcohol and driving are DUI (Driving Under the Influence), and DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired). While they sound similar, there are differences between a DUI and a DWAI.
A DUI is when an individual has a BAC (blood alcohol content) level above the legal limit set by the local city or state. On average, the BAC that states set as the limit for a DUI charge is a BAC of 0.08%. At this level (0.08% or higher), a DUI is a misdemeanor charge. It's worth noting that in the state of Michigan you can be changed with a Super Drunk OWI for having a BAC of 0.17% or higher. Additionally, it is possible for some people to receive a felony DUI. This is a very serious charge that can include a lengthy jail or prison sentence. The felony DUI can stem from an individual already having DUI charges and/or the result of causing property/harm to an individual other than themselves.
DUI’s and DWAI’s come with a variety of punishments depending upon the specific situation. A DUI/DWAI punishment can include (but is not limited to) suspension of an individual’s driver’s license, fines, and/or jail and prison sentences. The legal system has taken measures to help people that may have mild alcohol addictions who are looking for recovery to beat their addiction.
Thanks to modern day technology, an individual who doesn't have their driving privileges revoked may be able to opt for a car breathalyzer. The car breathalyzer is programmed into the car and the engine, which means that you can't start the vehicle without blowing into the breathalyzer. If the machine detects any traces of alcohol, the vehicle won't start. Unfortunately, individuals might try bypassing the breathalyzer by having someone else not under the influence blow into the breathalyzer. If caught initiating a fraudulent breathalyzer test, a person can face criminal charges (such as tampering), which will not come with any leniency.
Why do individuals abuse alcohol?
There are a variety of reasons why people choose to use alcohol as a method of self-medication. Many individuals turn to alcohol as a way to relax their minds from the stress they are going through. At first, alcohol abuse may start off as moderate consumption of alcohol. However, when the drinker starts depending on the alcohol to feel okay, it becomes unhealthy and problematic.
Alcohol affects people differently based on several factors. These include the amount someone consumes along with a person's diet, height, and weight. There's research demonstrating that alcohol affects males and females differently. This can make it hard to accurately judge an appropriate amount to drink, or to know how drunk someone is. Another reason someone might abuse alcohol is to cope with the pain of mental illness. For example, someone might want to subdue their depression by drinking to the point that they feel good. Many people suffering from a wide range of mental illnesses including PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or postpartum depression/anxiety just to name a few rely on alcohol to make them feel better.
It is a known fact that new moms face a wide range of problems after the birth of their newborn child/children. Changes to their body might turn into a psychological fight which is perfectly normal, yet controllable in many cases. Unfortunately, when a woman does not feel like she is as attractive or healthy as she was before her pregnancy, it can bring on anxiety and depression. Alcohol is one of the easiest accessible (legal) options available to a woman experiencing postpartum depression to make this pain go away.
Alcohol addiction is particularly common among both male and female members of the military due to the frequency of PTSD. Painful memories from their time serving can make it hard to adjust when they come home back to a normal life. Again, since alcohol is technically legal (even though it is a drug as well) individuals of the army/military all too commonly fall into the habit of over-consuming alcohol to ease their minds. While alcohol addiction has become a common normality for those in the army/military, it is not something that is being overlooked. Again, alcohol treatment is available and you can click here to see our treatment options.
What are the symptoms of alcohol?
People may think that alcohol is harmless and a temporary fix or relief from the stress of everyday life. However, there are a variety of symptoms that come along with alcohol addiction. Alcohol abuse can cause a person to think irrationally unlike what they would in a normal state of mind. Alcohol abuse disorder comes with a variety of symptoms during and after active addiction.
A person struggling can experience excessive blackouts, shakiness from anxiety, sweating, and food/alcohol cravings. None of the latter symptoms are healthy, however, they are the most common signs of knowing if an individual has an alcohol addiction. Another line of symptoms include the behavioral mindset of an individual. These symptoms consist of severe agitation, extreme compulsive behavior, lack of restraint, and self-harming thoughts or actions. Many of those struggling act different when it comes to over-consuming alcohol. In a normal state, an individual may be nice, calm, and collected. However, because alcohol affects the ability for an individual to think normally and rationally, their behavior may drastically change.
From a psychological stand point, an individual who suffers from alcohol addiction can suffer from fear, delirium, and sense of being unwanted (or not loved by those around them). Psychologically when an individual is going through alcohol addiction, individuals around them may seem judgmental towards their addiction. Even though an alcoholic may feel as if they are not doing anything to anyone else with their over-consumption of alcohol, it does emotionally hurt others. Other common symptoms of active use include slurred speech, problems with normal coordination (including basic walking, driving, and decision making), and physical dependence. Once an individual becomes severely dependent on alcohol it becomes incredibly hard for them to discontinue their use.
How can someone be helped with alcohol addiction?
Overcoming alcohol addiction, like any other form of addiction, can be a difficult task. Stopping cold turkey is one of the most dangerous routes to take. If not properly detoxed off of alcohol in a medically supervised setting, a person may experience seizures that can lead to death. Seeking out professional care for the detoxing off of alcohol is very much advised.
Another common way to help yourself or a loved one through alcohol addiction is by attending AA (Alcohol Anonymous) meetings. Some individuals prefer to keep their problems to themselves, however sharing about your experiences and hearing the stories of others is incredibly therapeutic. AA meetings help individuals know that they are not alone in their addiction. When a person knows and feels the support of others, without feeling judged because of their bad choices, they can have a better mindset to overcome their addiction in the process.
Are you an individual that is going through alcohol addiction or seeking to help a loved one through alcohol addiction? We are here to assist you in the best ways that we can. We believe that anyone who makes a mistake with alcohol addiction deserves a second chance to live a better life. To contact us for more information, please feel free to contact us via phone at 833-LA-REHAB. You can also reach us via e-mail at email@example.com as well. We look forward to helping you and/or your loved one get back to having a productive and happy life without having to depend on alcohol.