AA Meeting Topics

AA meeting topics

A Quick Summary of Alcoholics Anonymous

AA or Alcoholics Anonymous is more than what you see in the movies. Alcoholics Anonymous is an inclusive and welcoming support group. Since its humble start in 1935, AA has grown to the largest support group model in the world.

With free and open-to-all meetings across the globe, there are over two million Alcoholics Anonymous members. The only requirement for entry into an Alcoholics Anonymous group is the desire to stop drinking.

The Typical AA Meeting Format

The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, outlined in The Big Book, starting with admitting the control alcohol has over us and ending with the spiritual practice of AA principles, are guidelines for overcoming addiction to alcohol.

If you’ve never attended an AA or 12-step meeting, you may be wondering what to expect. The typical AA meeting format has a few different components. First, expect to take a seat in a semi-circle surrounding the meeting chairperson who sits in the middle.

To start, the chairperson will read the AA Preamble, which outlines the AA mission and values and lead the group in the nondenominational Serenity Prayer. After, members will read aloud sections of The Big Book before newcomers are given the chance to introduce themselves.

Don’t worry if you’re not ready for this step, introductions are optional. While the preamble, prayer, and introductions are generally part of every meeting, what happens next may change depending on the type of AA meeting you are attending.

Different Types of AA Meetings

There are four major types of AA meetings, including:

  • Discussion meetings.
  • Speaker meetings.
  • Beginner meetings.
  • Study meetings.

In a discussion meeting, a member of the group acts as the leader, opening the meeting and selecting a discussion topic. In a speaker meeting, one individual or multiple will share their story, focusing on their journey with alcohol abuse and recovery goals.

Beginner meetings are led by AA members who are further along in their recovery journey. These meetings typically follow a question-and-answer format to help newcomers get a feel for what happens in AA.

Rather than diving too deep and risking overwhelming newcomers, leaders of beginner meetings often focus on the first three or the twelve steps. This brings us to the last type of AA meeting, a study meeting.

These are sometimes also called step meetings, tradition meetings, or Big Book meetings. By any name, study meetings focus on an in-depth look at one of the AA steps or traditions. And no matter the type, most AA meetings end with the Serenity Prayer or a moment of silence.

Open vs. Closed Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings

AA Meeting Topics

Sometimes, bringing a friend or family member to a meeting makes it easier to open up and share with the group. In an open AA meeting, any community member is welcome, and you can bring someone with you if they agree to respect the members’ anonymity.

Most open meetings are speaker meetings. Closed meetings, on the other hand, are usually more informal. Attending a closed meeting is limited to existing AA members and new participants who want to stop drinking.

This is an ideal setting for discussing vulnerable topics with other group members who understand them. But both open and closed AA meetings can provide members with support and valuable learning opportunities.

Choosing AA Meeting Topics

If you are leading a discussion meeting, you will get the chance to open the meeting and choose the topic for discussion. Choosing AA meeting topics can be a daunting task for some. But remember that participating can help you gain more from your time here.

The member acting as the meeting’s chairperson may choose a topic and lead the discussion. And there are endless potential AA meeting topics to choose from.

Potential AA Meeting Topics: A Short Listing

Potential AA meeting topics can range from those listed in The Big Book to the current emotional state of the chairperson. The 12 steps and the 12 traditions are two of the most common topics of discussion, but they are far from the only ones.

Some groups discuss one Big Book chapter each week, while others read from the book each week and discuss the chapters as they move through them. But while these are common courses of discussion, AA literature provides dozens of other suggestions.

A shortlist of potential AA meeting topics:

  • Acceptance
  • Forgiveness
  • Freedom through sobriety
  • Hope
  • Inventory
  • Making amends
  • Patience and tolerance
  • Participation and action
  • Sponsorship
  • Willingness
  • Working with others

Click here to read the full list of suggested topics for AA discussion meetings.

What to Bring to an AA Meeting

If you’re not gathering AA meeting topics to lead the discussion in your meeting, you may be wondering what else you need to bring. As we mentioned before, Alcoholics Anonymous is free, and membership is less formal than many other groups.

All you need to bring to an AA meeting is an open mind and a desire to stop drinking. There are no forms, applications, fees, or other formal requirements. Members are free to come and go and participate or observe as they wish.

Getting the Most Out of a 12-Step Meeting

AA Meeting Topics

Sharing your story with others who are on the same journey is a great way to make connections for lasting sobriety. Having a sober social circle or support group you can turn to at any moment provides the social support necessary for true recovery.

Social support helps you better relate to your environment, understand those around you, strengthen your place in the community, and develop healthy communication skills. Social support groups like AA allow you to connect with others with shared goals.

They promote feelings of belonging and shared purpose, while on an individual level boosting our self-esteem and confidence. There are many benefits to attending 12-step and other social support meetings during and after recovery.

And getting the most out of your meetings depends on what you are willing to put into them. If you’re wondering where to start, we recommend that you start by paying attention to the length and frequency of your meeting attendance, combining AA meetings with other treatments, and finding a sponsor.

Alcoholics Anonymous vs. Treatment for Alcoholism

While AA and other support meetings are crucial tools in recovery, they are rarely sufficient as the sole treatment methods for alcoholism. Depending on the severity of your addiction, we can recommend several different treatment types and settings, including:

  • Inpatient care (starting with medical detox)
  • Partial hospitalization program
  • Intensive outpatient program

This list starts with the most high-level program and works down to the most flexible. In an inpatient program, you temporarily relocate and work toward sobriety from the comfort and safety of one of our facilities.

With 24-hour access to medical support and recovery guidance, inpatient programs offer the highest level of care. This makes them ideal for those with moderate to severe addictions and withdrawal symptoms, a history of relapse, or a stressful home life.

In a partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient program, you live at home while attending weekly counseling sessions, support group meetings, and other recovery treatments at our facility. Partial hospitalization is common for those battling both addiction and mental illness.

These programs feature an average of 20 hours per week spent with us. Stepping down another level of care, intensive outpatient programs typically require nine to 19 hours of attendance per week. These are best for people with intermediate-level substance abuse problems.

It bears mentioning that while this is a step down in time requirements, it is not a step down in treatment or effectiveness. And it is also worth mentioning that we do not expect you to know which program will best suit your needs.

If you are unsure of where to start, call our 24-hour line for guidance.

Forging Your Path at Pathfinders Recovery Center

If you’re looking to start your journey with Alcoholics Anonymous, we can help you find a local meeting to aid the other treatments in your recovery plan. Addiction treatments work best when they are well-rounded and holistic.

We can help you build a treatment plan that addresses your emotional, physical, and spiritual recovery needs. The road to recovery starts right here at Pathfinders Recovery Center. Call us today at 866-263-1820.

Never Drinking Again

Never Drinking Again

Making The Decision Not To Drink

Making the decision to abstain from alcohol is extremely difficult. If you’ve gotten to that point, good for you. Keep in mind that a lot of alcoholics and problem drinkers never get to that point.

If you actually make the decision to stop drinking, that alone is a huge feat. If you slip up and go back to it, at least you know you can stop again because you’ve done it before. The reasons why people swear off alcohol may vary. Some people do it for their health and their overall well-being.

Some do it because it’s ruining their personal life. Regardless of how you’ve come to this conclusion, you’ve recognized that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. That is the first step.

Sometimes drinking is the symptom and not the problem. There’s a reason why a lot of addicts get as bad as they do. There is typically some sort of past trauma or tragic event that triggered you to use drugs or alcohol.

This isn’t the case with every single addict, but it’s a common thing they all have in common. A bad childhood. Mental health issues. Stress and anxiety. The list goes on and on. Whatever it is that led you to substance abuse, it needs to be taken care of as you begin your journey into sobriety.

There is something powerful to be said about dual diagnosis and drinking cessation. There are all sorts of therapy methods for alcohol abstinence, but dual diagnosis is an increasingly popular one.

Dual diagnosis refers to the process of tackling your addiction and your mental and/or emotional health issues at the same time. It may seem like a lot, but it worked wonders for me.

I had a lot of very serious emotional problems that I would cover up through drinking. When I got to Pathfinders for treatment, they offered a great dual diagnosis program that helped me work on all of my issues simultaneously.

It’s going to take a while to fix everything that you’ve been avoiding because of your addiction. When they say one day at a time, they mean it. You don’t have to worry about the next day or the next week.

The only thing that matters is how you are doing today, and what you are actively doing to work on yourself. There is a lot of rebuilding that needs to be done before you achieve long-term sobriety. If you’re up to the challenge, you can make it work.

Why is it so hard to stop drinking alcohol on your own? Because it is an all-powerful addiction. Recognizing that you are powerless to alcohol will help you through your initial period of recovery.

Some addicts try to convince themselves that they can have a couple of drinks and be ok. Some think they can figure out a way to keep their drinking under control. This usually doesn’t work out so well.

Even if you can control your drinking for a little while, it’s an addiction that’s designed to get worse and worse. Moderation and making drinking changes might work for non-addicts, but if you’re a true addict, you will know it sooner or later.

Self Knowledge And Drinking

Self Knowledge And Drinking

There is a lot of soul-searching to be done when you enter recovery. You learn a lot about yourself and what triggers you. You learn a lot about why you react the way you do in certain situations.

Even if you learn to cope with the triggers that may affect you, they can still overwhelm you at times. No one is perfect. When you attend meetings and therapy groups, you will meet a wide range of people from all different backgrounds, yet you all got there the same way. You couldn’t control it.

I’ve heard a lot of people say that they are never drinking again. It’s one thing to be confident in yourself, but it’s very hard for any addict to say this definitively and make it actually happen.

Plenty of people in recovery never do end up drinking again. But coping with never drinking again is a lifelong battle. You have to be strong every day. You have to recognize the triggers and how to avoid them. It’s a huge responsibility to put on yourself, but it will reward you greatly if you keep at it.

When you make the decision to quit drinking, picking the right place for recovery is key. Treatment centers are incredibly helpful for you to build a sober foundation. I was extremely pleased with my time at Pathfinders. I couldn’t have picked a more compassionate place.

Luckily, there are so many different forms of therapy and so many different recovery centers. What works for one person may not work for another. If you find the right treatment center, you will know it. Does alcohol detox work for casual drinkers? It may, but there may be alternative methods as well.

There is a lot that can be said about quitting cold turkey vs. home detox. Alcohol can be a very dangerous substance to detox from. It’s one of the few drugs where detox can be fatal if not done correctly. If you choose to do an at-home detox, you should make sure that you are doing it the right way.

Going through detox under medical supervision is the best way to do it, but if you’re going to home detox you need to recognize and be aware of the dangers and look into natural detox remedies. I strongly do not recommend quitting cold turkey if you are a late-term alcoholic.

It’s shocking that alcohol is legal, yet it can do more damage to us mentally and physically than most illegal drugs. I’m not here to argue that drugs should be legal, but it’s a strange reality.

You are allowed to legally drink yourself to death, but not to snort yourself to death. Alcohol is probably the most abused substance in the country because of its acceptance and availability. People make jokes about alcoholism and drinking to excess.

We think it’s funny until it hits us too close to home. When someone you know dies of alcoholism, it makes you think a lot more about how you view it. We often view drinking as a way to have fun and relax. That isn’t the case for a lot of addicts.

Milestones And Commitments To Stop Drinking

Milestones And Commitments To Stop Drinking

You have every reason to celebrate when you hit a milestone. When I was sober for one year, it was a surreal feeling. I was a bit worried though. I didn’t want to make a huge deal out of it, because I didn’t want to feel the external pressure to keep it up.

I still have off days and I still have times where I feel triggered to drink. Again, it’s a personal decision. If you feel like celebrating your milestones is a positive thing for you then by all means celebrate as much as possible!

You’ve done something worth celebrating. I like to spend some time on my sober anniversaries to reflect on how far I’ve come, and what I need to do to continue being sober.

There are several different schools of thought when it comes to recovery. There are some programs that claim they can cure you of your addiction and you will never go back. In my experience, that is not always the case for a lot of addicts.

When we talk about AA vs. other methods of sobriety, there are some differences but a lot of similarities. The AA approach is that you are powerless to your addiction, and seeking a higher power will help you achieve sobriety. Some people aren’t into the whole higher power thing, and that’s totally fine.

I try to keep in mind that I didn’t get here all by myself. I know there were a lot of people that helped me along the way. I try to celebrate those people as much as I celebrate my own progress. When I know someone has reached a milestone, I tell them how proud I am of them.

I don’t put any pressure on them, I just let them know they’ve done something commendable. The peer support I’ve received has helped keep me sober, so I try to lend a helping hand and give encouragement whenever possible.

Denial is a big part of the addiction process. We have to let people make the decision on their own to get help. You can only help someone so much. If you can’t help yourself, no one else is going to get through to you.

You can offer someone all the encouragement in the world, but if they don’t really want sobriety they won’t be able to attain it. I remind myself of this as well.

I can only do so much for other people, but I can do a lot for myself. Almost all of the days I’ve strung together are because of the decision that I made. That gives me a lot of faith in myself that I can keep it going.

Am I An Alcoholic?

Am I An Alcoholic

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is an addiction to alcohol. While this explanation sounds simple enough, it can still cause a lot of confusion.

There are different types, levels, and experiences that alcoholics experience. 

It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re not an alcoholic if you haven’t experienced financial or relationship troubles, lost your license, or been in an accident while intoxicated.

Alcoholism isn’t always this straightforward. 

So, how do you know if you have a problem if it doesn’t look like our overgeneralized idea of what alcoholism is?

We’ll break down the answer to this question throughout the rest of this article. 

Am I An Alcoholic?

At some point, many binge drinkers ask themselves: do I have a drinking problem?

Generally, when your drinking reaches the point that you have to ask yourself this, the answer is likely yes.

But we will help you further evaluate and understand this complex concern. 

Use, Abuse, Dependence, and Alcoholism

Use, Abuse, Dependence, and Alcoholism

Addictions to alcohol are exceedingly unique for a few different reasons.

First, alcohol is an entirely legal substance, and therefore, generally goes unregulated for those over 21. Second, it is normalized enough to be a staple in most gatherings and celebrations. 

When was the last time you attended an office party, holiday gathering, or birthday party where no one had even one drink?

Third, it can be confusing and upsetting to try to understand why some people become addicted and others do not. 

So, how do we distinguish normal, healthy alcohol use from abuse, dependence, and alcoholism?

Nearly 18 million American adults have an alcohol use disorder. Every one of these disorders is unique.

They range from mild to severe and are never one-size-fits-all. 

But what separates normal use from abuse is the frequency.

What separates abuse from dependence is compulsive use.

Dependence is a key factor in alcoholism, as well. As your body builds a tolerance and dependence, you crave alcohol more. 

And you experience additional withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop drinking, too. Withdrawal symptoms are some of the most common red flags. 

Alcoholic Stereotypes: What If I Don’t Fit the Mold?

For many years, the media has perpetuated alcoholic stereotypes that aren’t always entirely accurate.

On TV shows and in movies, they all tend to resemble each other.

They’re down on their luck, broke or alone, got fired from their job, or changed course after an accident. 

While these situations surely exist, alcoholics come in many other forms that we don’t always acknowledge the way we should.

Addiction is a chronic disease that affects our brain chemistry.

Depending on our medical histories, mental health, and other individual factors, it can affect us in different ways. 

High-functioning alcoholics tend to break all the rules associated with alcoholic stereotypes.

Rather than appearing to be at rock bottom, high functioning alcoholics often live relatively normal lives.

They work, often in high-paying jobs, they’re educated, they have families and spouses, and balance daily responsibilities alongside their drinking. 

Signs of Alcohol Dependence

So, since alcohol use disorders come in different forms and levels, how do you know if you’re an alcoholic?

There are mild, moderate, and severe alcohol use disorders, alcoholism, and binge drinkers.

At the different stages, many of the signs and symptoms may overlap. 

This can cause some confusion. But there are red flags to look for in those with alcohol dependence.

What makes someone an alcoholic is the inability to stop drinking without experiencing cravings and other withdrawal symptoms.

In the next section, we will go over common risk factors for alcohol use disorders. 

Causes and Risk Factors for Alcoholism and other Alcohol Use Disorders

Causes and Risk Factors for Alcoholism and other Alcohol Use Disorders

Addiction develops from several different pathways. Mental health disorders, genetics, and environment are three of the most significant pathways.

Understanding the risk factors for developing alcoholism can help us avoid or overcome it. 

Some of the most common risk factors for alcohol use disorders include: 

  • Having more than 15 drinks per week if you’re male
  • Having more than 12 drinks per week if you’re female 
  • Having one or more parents with an alcohol use disorder 
  • Having pre-existing mental health disorder(s), most commonly depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia 
  • Having a stressful school, work, or home life 
  • Having low self-esteem 
  • Having a social circle that prioritizes drinking over all else or pressures others into participation even if they prefer not to drink 

Getting Answers and Understanding Your Addiction

It is not always easy to determine if we have a problem or not. The list above offers guidance into how alcohol use disorders develop.

But what do the symptoms look like once it has already developed? One of the first signs is personality changes. 

This might mean drinking alone or avoiding daily activities or responsibilities to drink more.

It might mean avoiding gatherings or activities where alcohol is not served, sneaking drinks there or in other inappropriate situations, or hiding your drinking from your loved ones.  

Needing more alcohol to get drunk because your body has built a higher tolerance is another sign of trouble.

Another sign is someone lying or becoming defensive, angry, or violent when their drinking is questioned. 

Lastly, drinking even after problems arise in your work-life, finances, relationships, or health is another sign of trouble.

If you are looking for additional signs or have unanswered questions, you can take a self-assessment quiz.  

Self-Assessment Quizzes

There are three free and confidential online screening tests you can take to better understand your drinking habits: 

The CAGE quiz is a good first step in determining whether your habits have become a cause for concern.

Developed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, this four-question quiz is an easy starting point. 

The MAST test is 22 questions with a simple scoring system at the end.

A score of six or higher indicates hazardous drinking habits or alcohol dependence.

The experts who created the test at the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence recommend calling a healthcare professional if you score above a six. 

The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) is a simple, effective alcohol consumption screening.

This is the most widely used, as it is based on data from a multinational World Health Organization (WHO) study. 

Choosing the Right Treatment for Alcoholism

Choosing the Right Treatment for Alcoholism

In the same way that there are different types and levels of alcoholism, there are also different types and levels of treatment for it.

What works for one person may not work for another.

That’s why we personalize our treatment programs based on the needs of the individual rather than the needs of the majority. 

Pathfinders: A Full Continuum of Care Options

Someone with severe dependence or withdrawal symptoms, little support at home, and a history of relapse might be better suited for an inpatient or residential program.

This gives you 24-hour access to the care, guidance, and support of our expert teams. 

In the comfort and safety of our luxury-level facilities, you will work toward your goals through a variety of proven treatment methods.

A few of the most common treatment methods include behavioral therapies, support groups, and holistic remedies. 

Someone with a milder addiction, support at home, or full-time work and family obligations that prevent a full-time stay might be better suited for an intensive outpatient program or another option.

But we do not expect our clients to have all the answers before they come to us. 

We will work with you to determine which course of action will best fit your addiction and needs.

Because one-size-fits-all solutions are ineffective. We treat each of our clients on an individual basis.

That is the Pathfinders difference. Call us today at (866) 263-1820 to learn more.

Can You Die from Alcohol Withdrawal?

Can You Die from Alcohol Withdrawal

When your body becomes dependent on alcohol, cravings and other withdrawal symptoms appear after you stop drinking or significantly reduce your intake. In many cases, alcohol withdrawal can be mild. 

But in others, it can be more severe, even life-threatening. Because alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, its side effects are achieved by slowing down the brain.

As your body and brain get used to this effect, changes in your drinking patterns throw you off balance. 

Your central nervous system becomes overexcited as it tries to restore balance.

This imbalance shows through in the form of withdrawal symptoms ranging from mild to severe.

Alcohol withdrawal deaths are usually attributable to a condition called delirium tremens. 

Death may occur in up to 5% of delirium tremens patients.

But the risk of death is reduced for those who receive adequate medical support and medication. 

What is Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome?

 

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is what we call the wide range of symptoms that appear when alcohol-dependent individuals stop drinking.

Those with alcohol withdrawal syndrome will experience a combination of emotional and physical symptoms. 

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome symptoms range from minor, like insomnia and tremors, to severe, like withdrawal seizures and the condition we mentioned before, delirium tremens.

No two people experience addiction or withdrawals the same way. 

But we can give you an idea of what to expect by evaluating the most common side effects of alcohol withdrawal, outlining the detox stages, and detailing your treatment options. 

Common Side Effects of Alcohol Withdrawal

Common Side Effects of Alcohol Withdrawal

If you have tried to stop drinking and found that overwhelming cravings or other uncomfortable physical or emotional symptoms brought you right back to the bottle, you may already be more familiar with withdrawals than you realize.  

Some of the most common side effects of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Restlessness 
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors or shakes, particularly in the hands
  • Headaches

Troubling Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal: Seizures

The most common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are not the most concerning ones.

Seizures, high blood pressure, high fevers, and confusion are some of the more troubling symptoms of alcohol withdrawals. 

While these may not be the most common symptoms, they can be the most detrimental when they occur.

Dangerous withdrawal symptoms are not a risk you have to take. Choose a better way with a supervised detox. 

Other Dangerous Physical Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

Seizures and delirium tremens are two of the most dangerous complications of alcohol withdrawals.

These physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening. Delirium tremens can cause vivid delusions and hallucinations. 

It can also cause confusion, shaking, fever, and high blood pressure.

The sudden and severe mental or nervous system changes associated with delirium tremens can be fatal.

But it doesn’t have to be. Delirium tremens is treatable by a medical professional. 

The average onset is approximately three days into withdrawals. If you or someone you love needs to detox from alcohol, we recommend doing so in the comfort and safety of a certified addiction treatment facility. 

During a supervised detox, you will benefit from the 24-hour care, support, and guidance of a dedicated medical team.

They will ensure that you stay properly hydrated, monitor your progress, and guide you through the appropriate next steps. 

Alcohol Detox Stages

 

Alcohol detox symptoms vary depending on the stage you are in, how long you have been drinking, how often and how much you drink, and other individual factors.

The average alcohol detox lasts between three and seven days. 

The length and severity of your detox can vary based on the details of your addiction and mental health.

But one thing that is true for everyone is that remaining patient and accepting the help available to you is crucial. 

Recovery is possible for anyone. And recovery from alcohol dependence occurs in three distinct stages.

When you attend a detox program like the ones we offer at our Pathfinders Recovery Centers, these stages become significantly safer and easier to manage.  

Stages One, Two, and Three

Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal After Detoxification

Stage one is often characterized by mild withdrawal symptoms that appear within eight hours after you stop drinking.

These stage one symptoms can be mild enough to feel like a hangover.

Nausea, sweats, insomnia, and anxiety are some of the most common symptoms in this stage.

Stage two starts around 12 to 24 hours after your last drink and typically involves moderate symptoms, like high blood pressure, fever, confusion, and irritability.

Finally, stage three usually involves the most severe symptoms you will experience. 

This stage starts between 48 and 72 hours after your last drink.

High fevers, seizures, confusion and agitation, and hallucinations can occur during stage three of withdrawals.

Delirium tremens can also occur during this stage. 

This condition is the one we are the most concerned with. Roughly 3-5% of alcohol-dependent patients experience this condition during detox.

This is one reason why many experts deem supervised, professional detoxes crucial rather than recommended.  

Medical Detox for Severe Alcohol Withdrawal

Severe addictions and withdrawals may warrant medical detox rather than a traditional one.

Medical detoxes offer a higher level of support. During medical detox, an experienced professional will safely prescribe or administer medication to ease your withdrawal symptoms. 

There are several different medications they may choose.

These medications may help you get through the crucial stage of early sobriety in several different ways.

For example, one of the most common of these medications reduces alcohol and drug cravings. 

In a traditional or social detox, there are many of the same benefits, including a safe and comfortable space where you can focus on your sobriety and access to a dedicated medical team.

The biggest difference is the medication. Not every case will need it. 

But we will work with you to determine which path will be better for you.

And both social and medical detoxes are significantly safer than quitting cold turkey and withdrawing alone at home.

After your detox, we have a range of continued care programs available. 

Treatment After Detoxification

Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal After Detoxification

 

Alcohol is one of the hardest addictions to recover from. But people do it every day.

Experts recommend attending treatments for a minimum of three months.

While these treatments can take place in different forms and settings, the timeline is what is more important in this regard. 

Longer treatment programs and plans are associated with better results.

That’s why we make it easy to get the help you need – where, when, and how you need it.

From full-time residential programs to part-time intensive outpatient programs, we offer every opportunity you need to change your life. 

Whether full-time or part-time, our personalized treatment programs feature many of the same proven, research-based, and holistic treatments.

Behavioral therapies, support groups, and exercise classes are some of the most common.  

Getting Help for Alcohol Addiction at Pathfinders

Building a better, happier, healthier life starts here. With luxury-level facilities in Colorado and Arizona, help is always right around the corner.

Our addiction specialists are on call to answer your questions, guide you through the next steps, and verify your insurance. 

You do not have to face your recovery alone.

Call them today, day or night, at (866) 263-1820 to get started. From detox through aftercare, help is waiting for you here at Pathfinders.

Binge Drinking by College Students: The Risks

A young man drinking a large mug of beer, looking sad, to illustrate the dangers of binge drinking by college students

Unfortunately, binge drinking by college students is relatively common, and comes with a host of worrying side effects for mental health.

According to the National Institutes of Health, a 2018 study found that 37% of college students had engaged in binge drinking within the previous month.

The National Institutes of Health also reports that binge drinking among college students is linked to suicide attempts.

A study in the Journal of American College Health found that students who engaged in heavy drinking were more likely to experience poor mental health.

Given the high prevalence of binge drinking among college students, some students may require rehab in order to stop drinking and avoid the poor mental health and suicide risk that can come with heavy alcohol use.

Lean (Purple Drank) Addiction and Abuse Pathfinders - A young woman speaks with an addiction specialist during an individual therapy session to discuss her addiction to sipping lean or drinking purple drank to try and determine the best treatment plan for her specific circumstances and needs.

Consequences of Binge Drinking Among College Students

Beyond the risk of suicide and mental health problems, heavy, frequent drinking among college students can have a variety of negative consequences, including increased chances of missing classes or earning low scores on tests or assignments.

Heavy binge drinking among college students is also associated with assault, sexual violence, and deaths from accidents and injuries.

Unfortunately, the research shows that every year, about 1,500 college students are involved in fatal accidents involving alcohol, including motor vehicle crashes.

Other consequences of binge drinking among college students include health problems, risky sexual behavior, and involvement with police.

Heavy alcohol use may be common and socially promoted on college campuses, but the reality is that it can have devastating effects.

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Binge Drinking Among College Students Can Lead to Addiction

As previously stated, over one-third of college students engage in binge drinking within a given month, placing them at risk of developing an alcohol abuse disorder.

As the National Institutes of Health explains, binge drinking occurs when a college male consumes five or more drinks within a two-hour period, or when a female consumes four or more drinks within the same time period.
Unfortunately, college students may not realize they are drinking in this way, because large portions of beer or mixed drinks consumed during college parties could actually exceed what is considered a single drink. This makes it easy for college students to lose track of the number of drinks consumed, resulting in high rates of binge drinking among college students.

What is even riskier is the fact that some college students drink twice the amount that is considered binge drinking, a pattern that experts call “high intensity drinking.” Over time, this can lead to an alcohol addiction or an alcohol use disorder. According to the latest research, nearly 10% of college students meet the diagnostic criteria for an alcohol use disorder within a given year.

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Signs of an Alcohol Use Disorder

Signs of an alcohol use disorder include being unable to cut back on drinking, giving up other activities in favor of alcohol use, or drinking larger quantities than intended. Other signs of an alcohol use disorder can include drinking in situations in which it is dangerous, continuing to drink despite relationship problems, and drinking to the extent that it is difficult to fulfill duties at work or school.

A college student who is struggling with an alcohol addiction may ruin friendships because of alcohol abuse, involve themselves in dangerous situations, such as drunk driving, and begin to fail classes because drinking interferes with studying and completing schoolwork.

Treatment for Binge Drinking Among College Students

If you are a college student who has become involved in drinking to excess on a regular basis, you may benefit from alcohol rehab. Excessive bouts of focused drinking among college students can lead to an alcohol use disorder, which is a brain disorder that negatively affects numerous areas of life.

Fortunately, treatment can help you to identify your triggers for alcohol abuse and develop strategies for living a life that is free from the grips of alcohol addiction. Experts recommend behavioral interventions and cognitive-behavioral treatments to address binge drinking among college students.
When you seek rehab for alcohol abuse, an addiction professional may provide a specific type of counseling called cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help you to think differently about alcohol and cope with situations that may trigger you to abuse alcohol in the future.

 

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Treatment for Mental Illness and Binge Drinking Among College Students

Excessive drinking among college students is linked to poor mental health, and it can even increase the risk of suicide. One study, published in Issues in Mental Health Nursing, found that college students who were heavy drinkers scored significantly higher on a depression scale when compared to those who did not have drinking problems.
Alcohol abuse can worsen mental health among college students, leading to depression and even suicidal thoughts. Many college students who seek treatment for alcohol abuse may also be in need of mental health care to address mental health conditions like depression.
To ensure the best treatment outcomes, college students with both an alcohol addiction and depression should seek treatment at a dual diagnosis center, which can address both conditions. For example, if you get treatment for alcohol abuse but ignore the underlying depression, you may return to drinking in order to help you cope with mental health symptoms.

Crack Addiction in Arizona Pathfinders - A group of individuals attending an inpatient rehab for crack addiction in Arizona are engaging in a group therapy session led by an addiction specialist to discuss healthy coping mechanisms, build sober support systems, and share experiences in an open and safe environment.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Colorado and Arizona

If you are struggling with binge drinking and are in need of rehab, Pathfinders Recovery Center has facilities in both Colorado and Arizona, and we are happy to provide services to those in surrounding states.
We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so we can help with both alcohol addiction and mental health concerns. Our leadership team has over 25 years of experience in the addiction field, and we are proud to offer premier dual diagnosis rehab services.
We also have a range of treatment levels, including inpatient, partial hospitalization, detox, and outpatient services.

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Paying for Dual Diagnosis Treatment

As a college student, you may worry about covering the costs of treatment for alcohol abuse and mental health concerns.

At Pathfinders Recovery Center, we take some of the stress out of the process for you by offering a free insurance verification program.

Simply visit our website and provide us with your insurance information, and a member of our team will tell you what you can expect to pay for treatment.

If you are without insurance coverage, we will work with you to create a cash payment plan.

Call us today to discuss your options and begin your treatment journey, so you can move forward from the consequences of binge drinking among college students.

Types of Alcoholics

Types of Alcoholics

Am I An Alcoholic?

If you’ve ever felt like alcoholics on TV and in movies all resemble each other, you’re not alone. In reality, alcoholics come in many different forms. Addiction, whether to alcohol or drugs, is a chronic disease. 

Researchers and medical professionals are still working hard to determine why some people become addicted while others do not. But one thing we do know is that every addiction is unique. Your experience and side effects won’t look the same as anyone else’s. 

Nearly 18 million American adults have an alcohol use disorder. These disorders are never one-size-fits-all. Alcohol disorders can range from mild to severe. Many alcoholics continue to go to work, spend time with family and friends, and manage other daily responsibilities. 

In the following sections, we will break down the risk factors and different types of alcoholics to give you a better idea of where you stand. 

Risk Factors for Alcohol Use Disorders

Risk Factors for Alcohol Use Disorders

The exact cause of alcohol use disorder is unknown. Currently, we have a deeper understanding of the risk factors that can increase your risk of developing it. Some of the most common risk factors for alcohol use disorder include: 

  • Having over 15 drinks per week if you’re male and over 12 drinks per week if you’re female. 
  • Having more than five drinks on the same day at least once per week. 
  • Having one or more parents with an alcohol use disorder. 
  • Having pre-existing mental health concerns, including anxiety disorders, depression, or schizophrenia. 
  • Having a high pressure or stressful work or school life. 
  • Having low self-esteem. 
  • Facing consistent peer pressure or spending time with others who treat alcohol abuse as something normal. 

Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

The same way that your risk factors and side effects can vary, the symptoms of alcohol use disorder can vary, too. You may notice that you or your loved one has been drinking alone or dodging responsibilities to spend more time drinking. 

You may also notice that you need to drink more to get drunk because your tolerance is higher than it used to be. Others battling alcoholism can become angry or violent when questioned about the frequency of their drinking. 

Continuing to drink after problems arise, whether in your relationships, work, or finances, is another symptom of alcohol use disorder. And neglecting your hygiene or developing unhealthy eating habits due to uncontrollable alcohol intake are other signs of trouble. 

Different Types of Alcoholics 

Individuals battling alcoholism fall into several different categories: 

  • Young adult alcoholics
  • Young antisocial alcoholics
  • Functional alcoholics
  • Intermediate familial alcoholics
  • Chronic severe alcoholics

According to the same research that helped identify these different types of alcoholics, young adults account for more than half of alcoholics in the United States

Young Adult Alcoholics

Young adult alcoholics are the largest group. They account for a total of about 32% of alcoholics in the country. This group is characterized by binge drinking rather than frequent drinking and has an average onset alcoholism age of 20. 

Young Antisocial Alcoholics

In the young antisocial alcoholics’ group, the average age is 26. This group also tends to start drinking earlier than alcoholics in other categories, with most starting to drink by 15 and becoming alcoholics by 18. 

More than half of the individuals in this category also have an antisocial personality disorder. Most also smoke marijuana or cigarettes. Because of these notable differences and the age gap, individuals in the young adult and young antisocial categories don’t overlap.  

Functional Alcoholics

Functional alcoholics are often closer to middle-age. Functional is the keyword here. Most individuals in this category have stable marriages or relationships, are educated, they work, and have higher incomes than those in other groups. 

Most functional alcoholics average five or more drinks per day every other day. Despite many media portrayals of alcoholism, it is possible to maintain a relatively normal social life, schedule, and career while battling alcohol use disorder. 

Intermediate Familial Alcoholics

The intermediate familial group is about the same size as the functional alcoholics’ group. Each account for nearly 19% of all alcoholics in the country. In the intermediate group, individuals often start drinking around age 17 and become alcoholics early in their 30s. 

Chronic Severe Alcoholics

At just 9% of the total, this is the smallest group on the list. Chronic severe alcoholics are typically men. Individuals in this category experience the highest divorce rates and are often also illicit drug users. 

Many people are surprised to find that this stereotypical category is so small. When many of us imagine alcoholism, someone who fits into this category may be the first person that comes to mind. This proves that our first judgments are not always the most accurate. 

Alcoholism is more common among youths and young adults than most of us previously realized. No matter what it looks like, alcohol use disorder is a severe disease that can have a significant impact on your physical and mental health. 

Types of Alcoholics – Slang Names 

Most people are more familiar with slang names than the groups listed above. You might recognize the terms binge drinker, weekend warrior, drunk, or wine-o rather than recognize the difference between a functional alcoholic and an intermediate familial alcoholic. And that’s okay. 

We offer the knowledge, guidance, and care you need to leave your addiction behind you. No one expects you to have all the answers or to face your addiction on your own. The expert team at Pathfinders has decades of experience in addiction care. 

The first step in getting help and building a better life is learning more about the problem itself. No matter what type of alcohol use disorder you have or what category you fall into, alcoholism gets worse over time and will not go away if you ignore it. 

Determining What Types of Alcoholics You Are

If you are worried that you or someone you love is an alcoholic, the signs, symptoms, and risk factors listed above could help you make that determination. Not every alcoholic will struggle to get out of bed in the morning or hold down a job. 

But not every alcoholic will find it easy to function, either. Every addiction is as unique as the person who is experiencing it. No matter which type of alcoholism you are battling, it is a battle just the same. And help is available to make it easier to overcome. 

While the risk factors, signs, symptoms, and side effects may vary, each type of alcoholism can be improved with the right addiction treatments. At Pathfinders, we offer personalized and proven addiction treatments. 

From full-time inpatient care to convenient and flexible part-time programs, we will meet you where you are in your recovery journey and help you get where you need to be. With safe, comfortable, and luxurious facilities in Colorado and Arizona, help is closer than you might think. 

Seeking Help for Alcoholism

Seeking Help for Alcoholism

If you have experienced the symptoms above or are worried about someone you care about, don’t wait another day to seek treatment. Alcohol and drug addictions only get worse and harder to combat over time. 

Call our addiction counselors any time, day or night, weekday, or weekend at 866-576-4892. They are on call to help confirm your insurance and start to put together a program that meets your unique addiction, goals, and recovery needs.

What is a Functioning Alcoholic?

What is a Functioning Alcoholic

Functioning Alcoholics

Across the country, nearly 18 million adults have an alcohol use disorder. With such a high number, it would be impossible for each of these disorders to look the same. Before we talk about the different types of alcoholism and signs of functioning alcoholism, let’s go over what it means to be a functioning alcoholic. 

Unlike the defeated scenes we see on TV, many alcoholics in real life aren’t living at rock bottom. They are getting up and going to work each day, often in high-paying careers. They have meaningful relationships and are generally well-educated. 

Functioning alcoholics can appear, on the surface, to have their lives in order. Many maintain a relatively normal life, including a full social circle, home life, and career. You may not ever know that functioning alcoholics were averaging five drinks or more just about every other day

While people in this category may function better than others, that does not mean that this is a sustainable way to live. Alcoholism is a severe, chronic disease. The disease and its side effects only get worse over time. 

Other Types of Alcoholism

Other Types of Alcoholism

We talk a lot about functioning alcoholics, but did you know that this is only one type of five? The other four are young adult, young antisocial, intermediate familial, and chronic severe alcoholics. You may notice that two out of five of these categories mention a specific age group. 

That is because young adults account for over half of the total number of alcoholics in the country. In the past, alcoholics were generally imagined to be middle-aged, divorced, and otherwise down on their luck. 

But this is not always the case. In fact, it is not even the case half of the time. In the same way that every person is unique, every addiction is, too. It is time for us all to learn more about alcoholism so that we can be better prepared to overcome it, no matter how it looks for you. 

Signs of a Functioning Alcoholic

As we mentioned above, functioning alcoholics average five drinks in a day about every other day. They are generally working, older adults with stable social and familial relationships, more education, and higher incomes. 

Additionally, they will carry out daily tasks of living with minimal disruptions. Work, hygiene, childcare, bill paying, and social activities can be completed without exhibiting the impairments that are normally associated with an alcohol use disorder. 

But the compulsive drinking of a functioning alcoholic can make it harder to tell when you’ve crossed a line. If your drinking tolerance has increased, you have started to hide your drinking from others, or you become defensive when your drinking is questioned, these are all signs of a functioning alcoholic. 

Additional Functioning Alcoholic Symptoms

An increased tolerance to alcohol, the compulsion to hide your drinking, and becoming emotional when asked about your drinking habits are three signs of trouble. Other behaviors that you or someone you love has high-functioning alcoholism include: 

  • Regularly experiencing blackouts after drinking. 
  • Going to work in the morning still drunk or hungover. 
  • Sneaking drinks before or after a social event or at an event that doesn’t involve alcohol.
  • Getting drunk alone at home or hiding alcohol from your loved ones in the house.
  • Drinking even after you have developed mental or physical health problems. 
  • Denying that you have a problem because you still go to work and or perform other important tasks. 
  • Drinking at work or in settings that could be dangerous, including while or before you are driving. 
  • Drinking excessively to cope with stress
  • Getting overwhelming alcohol cravings when you are not drinking. 
  • Lying about the extent of your drinking to yourself or those who care about you. 
  • Comparing yourself to others who have experienced more severe alcohol-related problems. 

Are You a High Functioning Alcoholic?

As you can see, there are many signs that you may be a functioning alcoholic. You may experience a few of these events or circumstances or many of them. No two functioning alcoholics will have exactly the same experience. 

But chances are good that if you see yourself in this list, it is time to seek help. Our expert medical staff can help evaluate your concerns and look objectively at your drinking habits. They will help you determine which of your behaviors are problematic and how to fix them from there. 

You do not have to face high functioning alcoholism alone. And the ability to carry out daily responsibilities does not mean that you will be safe from more serious side effects down the line. Over time, alcoholism impairs your mental and physical health. 

Living with alcoholism long-term will not do. The sooner you decide to change your life, the sooner your life can begin to change. 

How to Help a Functioning Alcoholic in Denial

If your spouse, parent, child, or sibling is exhibiting concerning drinking behaviors, you would not be the first person to wonder how to live with a high functioning alcoholic. Many people who battle alcoholism will hide their drinking and become defensive or angry when questioned. 

These are two signs of an alcoholic in denial. It is not always easy to approach someone who is battling addiction. But early interference and treatment can save someone from years of struggles. 

It can help prevent further mental or physical health complications and ensure that your loved one can live a happy, healthy, sober life. For a mild alcohol use disorder, treatment is minimally disruptive. 

They can attend outpatient treatments, including behavioral therapy sessions, stress management training, and support groups. This type of program is ideal for those who have work and family obligations to attend to at home. 

Before considering a professional intervention, consider having an open, honest conversation with them about their drinking habits. Calmly and supportively encourage them to speak to a professional about these habits. 

It can be a counselor at our facility or their regular doctor. Getting them talking is a great first step. Talk to them about what you have learned here. And know that denial is normal at first. 

Seeking Help for Yourself

If you are seeking help for yourself instead of a loved one, the suggestions listed above also apply. Outpatient care is ideal for those with milder addictions, full-time jobs, or family obligations that make it difficult to commit to a full-time program. 

Because you have already demonstrated that you can maintain a relatively normal life and schedule as a high functioning alcoholic, full-time care isn’t typically necessary. But it is available if you need it. 

Functioning Alcoholic Treatments

Functioning Alcoholic Treatments

Behavioral therapy and medication are two of the most common treatment methods for functioning alcoholics. The medication will help ease withdrawal symptoms, including alcohol cravings, to help set you up for success. 

And behavioral therapy will help you understand and overcome the stressors, situations, and feelings that lead you to drink in the first place. 

Choosing Pathfinders Recovery Center

If you or someone you love is battling high functioning alcoholism, help is available. Through various personalized addiction programs and treatments, we provide everything you need to build a better life. 

Call our addiction counselors today at 866-576-4892 to get started. Today is a good day for a fresh start.

Alcoholism and Hair Loss

Alcoholism and Hair Loss

Does Alcohol Cause Hair Loss?

There are many different causes of hair loss. Family history, hormonal changes, medications, and aging are among the most common causes of hair loss. These are the cited the most when people ask, ‘ Does alcohol cause hair loss?’ 

With these other reasons in mind, it comes as no surprise that many people do not realize that alcoholism and hair loss are also linked. Hair loss can affect your scalp alone or your whole body. It can be a temporary loss or a permanent one. 

Alcohol and Hair Loss

Alcohol and Hair Loss

While alcohol abuse or addiction is not a direct or common link to hair loss, there is a connection between the two. It is important to note that alcoholism affects everyone differently. No two people will experience the same side effects or symptoms each day. 

Alcoholism alone will not cause you to lose all your hair. But chronic alcoholism does put you at a higher risk for hair loss than others. Primarily, this comes down to the tendency of alcoholics to suffer from physical or nutritional deficiencies. 

Ways Alcohol and Hair Loss Are Linked

Alcoholism has a way of taking over your life. This makes it harder to focus on things like work, family, friends, and your mental and physical health. As such, chronic alcoholism patients are typically deficient in certain vitamins due to a poor diet. 

Vitamin deficiencies that are often associated with inadequate dietary intake and alcoholism include vitamins A and B6, thiamine, and folate. While alcoholism itself isn’t the only cause, it is a contributing factor. 

Alcohol impairs the way your body absorbs, stores, metabolizes and activates these vitamins. Alcohol also raises your estrogen levels. This elevation of estrogen is, in part, what causes hair loss. People who struggle with alcoholism typically do not follow a healthy or balanced diet. 

The loss of vitamins, the deficiencies that follow, and the increase in estrogen contribute to increased rates of hair loss, along with other troubling symptoms. In addition to vitamin deficiencies and estrogen production, elevated stress levels and chronic dehydration are other links to hair loss. 

Alcoholism and Chronic Dehydration

Because it is a diuretic, alcohol can cause dehydration. When we drink socially, we often forget to drink enough water to avoid a hangover the next day. When someone is battling chronic alcoholism, it gets even harder to remember to drink the appropriate amount of water each day. 

Water is a crucial component in the growth of hair follicles. This means that regular dehydration can damage these follicles, causing your hair to become brittle and break. When your hair grows back, it is thinner than it was before, which makes the hair loss look more noticeable. 

To recap, alcohol and hair loss are linked through: 

  • Vitamin deficiencies from a lack of a healthy diet. 
  • An increase in estrogen levels. 
  • Chronic dehydration. 
  • Elevated stress levels. 

Other Side Effects of Alcoholism

Alcoholism can alter your mind and body in many ways. You may experience mood swings or other concerning personality changes, including depression, anxiety, excessive worrying, paranoia, or full-blown panic. Memory loss and impaired judgment are also common. 

And on the physical side, alcoholism can lead to an increased risk of

  • High blood pressure and stroke. 
  • Heart or liver disease.
  • Cancer of the liver, colon, mouth, throat, esophagus, and breast. 

These conditions are part of a longer list of potential health risks associated with alcoholism. From your relationships and work habits to your diet, mental health, and physical health, alcohol can wreak havoc on your routine. It does not impact just one aspect of your life or another. It impairs all of them.  

Treatment for Hair Loss

As we age, we naturally begin to lose our hair. But this happens faster for some than for others. If you believe that you are losing hair faster than you should be for reasons other than alcohol consumption, there are things you can do to improve it. 

In recent years, there has been a major push for aging gracefully. Accepting your hair loss and allowing it to run its course untreated and unhidden is admirable. You can also improve its appearance with a strategic hairstyle, makeup, hat, or scarf. 

If these tricks are not sufficient, there are options for hair loss treatments. They may help prevent future hair loss, restore growth after hair loss, or do some combination of the two. Your doctor can help you find the best treatment options available to you. 

But if you are losing hair due to alcohol abuse, your options may look a bit different. Thankfully, avoiding hair loss with alcoholism treatments can help you prevent further damage and improve existing damage, too. 

Avoiding Hair Loss with Alcoholism Treatments

When it comes to alcohol-related hair loss, the good news is that there are ways to regrow your hair naturally. But first, you will need to address your alcohol intake. After all, what good is addressing your hair loss if you continue to do the thing that causes it in the first place? 

When you address your alcohol intake first, your body can relearn how to properly absorb the vitamins it needs, regulate the production of estrogen and other important hormones, and find the right overall balance. 

Once you address the root of the problem, there are several things you can do to correct or improve your hair loss. Low-level laser therapy is a method that helps restore the health of your scalp, stimulate hair growth, and regenerate old cells. 

There are also supplements you can take to address and restore any nutrient deficiencies that may be contributing to your hair loss. These supplements contain nutrients that improve your hair, nails, and skin naturally. 

And of course, building a healthy routine in the kitchen will help, too. Vitamin-rich foods like avocado, nuts, and eggs can help improve the health of your hair. While hair loss can be unpleasant and uncomfortable, it does not have to be permanent. 

Treatment Options at Pathfinders Recovery Center

Treatment Options at Pathfinders Recovery Center

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, reaching out for help is the first step. And at Pathfinders Recovery Center, we have everything you need to meet your short-term and long-term addiction recovery goals. 

With our well-rounded and personalized programs, we help you improve each aspect of your health and routine. From our first phone call through aftercare and support group meetings, we will be with you every step of the way. 

Among other research-based and proven treatment methods, our alcohol addiction treatment programs feature: 

  • Monitored detoxes. 
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy. 
  • Contingency management.
  • 12-step facilitation therapy.
  • Motivational enhancement therapy.
  • Community reinforcement. 

Getting Started

The best recovery outcomes start with a personalized approach. We will help you learn how to take care of your mind and body so that they will take care of you. Whether you need full-time, inpatient care, part-time outpatient treatments, or sporadic support through peer meetings, we have options here for all different types and levels of addiction. 

And we will tailor the program you choose to better suit your unique needs from there. Call us today at 866-263-1808 to get started. Why spend another day wishing that things could change? A new life is just one phone call away.

How Can I Find Alcoholism Help Near Me

Alcoholism Help Near Me

Getting Help for the Symptoms of Alcoholism

“What do I need to do to find alcoholism help near me?” If you are asking yourself this question, you have already taken a huge step toward future sobriety. This is true because only a small fraction of affected people in the U.S. ever seek help. Such a situation is genuinely tragic, since more resources for recovery are available than ever before. Just by looking for assistance, you have made recovery a real possibility. 

When seeking help for alcoholism, it is a good idea to ask yourself some important questions. This is true whether you need assistance for yourself or for someone else. By starting from an informed perspective, you increase the odds that you will make sound decisions on how to proceed. 

One thing to consider is the steps you can take to determine when professional help is necessary. You may also want to learn about the current methods used to treat alcoholism. And of course, you will want to learn where to get help for alcoholism that will truly support your recovery. 

Alcoholism Help Near Me: When Is It Time to Start Looking

Roughly 17 million people in America over the age of 17 have a serious drinking problem. How can you tell if you or a loved one are part of this large group? Only a doctor or addiction specialist will be able to make an official diagnosis. However, as a first step, you can look for certain potential signs of a problem. Examples of these signs include:

  • Hearing from friends or relatives that they are worried about your drinking
  • Reacting to the concerns of others with anger or irritation
  • Having thoughts about cutting back and not being able to follow through on them
  • Feeling like you need to drink alcohol before you can start your day
  • Experiencing feelings of regret or guilt about your drinking

These signs are not definitive. However, if they affect you or a loved one, it is time to start looking for alcoholism help near you. 

Alcoholism Vs. Alcohol Abuse

“Do I need more than alcoholism help near me?” This question may surprise you, but it is an important one to ask. Why? Not all people with serious drinking problems have alcoholism. In fact, many of those affected suffer from non-addicted alcohol abuse. What is the difference between alcoholism and alcohol abuse? 

Alcoholism, formally known as alcohol dependence, produces diagnosable symptoms that include:

  • Having a daily routine that revolves around drinking or related activities
  • Feeling less and less affected by any given amount of alcohol
  • Attempting and failing to quit drinking at least two times
  • Making drinking your preferred form of leisure or recreation
  • Keeping up your drinking despite its negative physical and mental effects
  • Losing your ability to limit your alcohol consumption
  • Developing withdrawal symptoms when you take drinking breaks, drink less or quit

In contrast, symptoms of non-addicted alcohol abuse include:

  • Not modifying your drinking when it harms important relationships
  • Having a level of drinking that makes it hard for you to fulfill your responsibilities
  • Making a habit of doing risky things, e.g., swimming or driving, while using alcohol

The symptoms of alcoholism and non-addicted abuse are part of the same condition: alcohol use disorder, or AUD. If you have just two of those symptoms, you qualify for an AUD diagnosis. This is true if you are only affected by alcoholism. It is also true if you are affected by both alcoholism and non-addicted alcohol abuse.

Crucially, you can also receive an AUD diagnosis if you only have symptoms of non-addicted abuse. This means that even if you do not have alcoholism, you may need professional help for your drinking problems. Awareness of this fact can make all the difference in your health, safety and well-being.

Alcoholism Help Near Me: Getting an Official Diagnosis

Alcoholism Help

To make sure that you have AUD, you must seek an official diagnosis. Where to get help for alcoholism diagnosis? A convenient place to start may be a conversation with your primary care doctor. In recent years, many doctors have received training on how to screen for alcohol problems. 

You can also seek alcoholism help near you from an addiction specialist. These professionals provide alcohol and drug screenings as part of their core services. Their deep experience allows them to make a thorough assessment of your condition. Need help finding an addiction specialist in your area? The National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, or NIAAA, offers a thorough guide to locating qualified providers. 

What happens during an alcohol screening? First, your doctor or specialist will take a look at your drinking habits. This will allow them to determine if you are at-risk for AUD. If signs of a problem are present, you will receive a more detailed screening for alcoholism and alcohol abuse. The information from this screening makes it possible to:

  • Determine if you have AUD
  • Assess the seriousness of your symptoms if you are affected
  • Classify your AUD as mild, moderate or severe

If you have AUD, both primary care doctors and addiction specialists can refer you for further treatment. 

Where to Get Help for Alcoholism: Detox and Active Treatment

Alcohol Detox

Once you receive an AUD diagnosis, it is time to search for alcoholism help near you through alcohol treatment. If you are addicted to alcohol, you can expect to start your recovery in a detox program. Supervised alcohol detox makes it possible for you to safely stop drinking. It does this in several ways.

First, detox provides the support you need to cope with the effects of alcohol withdrawal. This is crucial for a couple of reasons. For starters, even relatively mild withdrawal symptoms can make you doubt your commitment to get sober. In supervised detox, you receive treatments that ease your symptoms. By doing so, these treatments decrease the odds that you will discontinue your efforts.

Professional detox also helps protect and support your general health throughout your enrollment. In addition, it provides another essential service. A small but significant number of people withdrawing from alcohol experience dangerous complications. The staff at a high-quality detox program will include personnel trained to handle any potential emergency. 

Where to get help for alcoholism detox near you? One option is to ask your doctor or local addiction specialist for recommendations. These professionals should be familiar with well-designed programs operating in your area. The NIAAA Treatment Navigator is another excellent source of quality programs. You may also choose to conduct your own Internet search. If you pick this option, be sure to focus on providers who follow modern guidelines for detox treatment. 

Active Alcohol Treatment

active alcohol treatment

Alcohol detox is followed by active treatment. Whether or not you are addicted to alcohol, you will need this kind of treatment for AUD. If you are addicted, alcoholism help near you will likely include some form of medication. There are medications available to:

  • Reduce the pleasurable effects of alcohol in your system
  • Deter you from alcohol by making you sick when you drink
  • Repair some of the brain dysfunction caused by heavy drinking

The net effect is to dial down your alcohol cravings and make it easier for you to avoid a relapse.

Your treatment for AUD should also include some form of psychotherapy. This is true for people with alcoholism, as well as people affected by non-addicted abuse. The therapy used in alcohol treatment is behavioral. Its goal is help you do such things as:

  • Create a workable plan for maintaining your sobriety
  • Learn how to recognize the things that make you more likely to drink
  • Take steps to avoid or successfully deal with these drinking “triggers”
  • Strengthen or create your personal support network
  • Add a self-help group to your larger recovery plans
  • Address issues in your personal life that influence your drinking behaviors

The NIAAA recommends a number of therapy options for people with AUD. Examples of these options include:

  • MET, or Motivational Enhancement Therapy
  • Family Counseling
  • Marriage Counseling
  • CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

These therapies may be used in combination or separately, depending on your circumstances.

Where to get help for alcoholism treatment near you? As with detox, your doctor or addiction specialist is a great place to start. These professionals not only make references for treatment. In addition, they may play an active role in designing your care plan. You can also look for providers through the NIAAA or from trusted Internet resources.

Outpatient Vs. Inpatient Treatment

Alcoholism help near you may take place in an outpatient or inpatient program. In outpatient programs, you continue to live at home while getting treatment. In contrast, inpatient programs require you to take temporary residence at your treatment facility. 

Your doctor or addiction specialist will help determine which of these two options suit your needs. As a rule, people with relatively mild AUD are candidates for outpatient care. People with more severe AUD symptoms are typical candidates for inpatient care.

Learn More About How to Get Alcoholism Help Near You

If you or your loved one suffer from alcohol problems, alcoholism help near you is a pressing concern. Without this help, you face an uncertain future that exposes you to major harm. Such an outcome is avoidable. That is true even if you have been drinking for years and have severe AUD. 

To learn more about where to get help for alcoholism, call the specialists at Pathfinders. Every day, we help people from all walks of life find the resources needed for their recovery. Pathfinders is also a local leader in both alcohol detox and alcohol treatment. Our customized plans will help you turn your sobriety goals into reality.

Recovering Alcoholics in Relationships

What to Know About Recovering Alcoholics in Relationships

Recovering alcoholics in relationships faces unique challenges.

This is true because your relationships and home life have a major impact on your state of well-being.

Solid relationships may help make your recovery easier.

However, dysfunctional ones have the potential to send your recovery spinning far off-track.

In a worst-case scenario, you may find yourself undoing all your hard work and returning to your old drinking ways.

No one wants to go through this kind of painful setback.

The good news is that recovering alcoholics in relationships can get help.

For some people, that help might come in the form of couples therapy.

If you have children or other loved ones, family therapy may also play an essential role in your recovery.

These options can be used separately or together to help improve your home life and support your sobriety.

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The Impact of Alcoholism on Current Relationships

Alcoholism and serious alcohol abuse are both part of an illness called alcohol use disorder, or AUD. Both of these interconnected issues can do major damage to your intimate and family relationships. For example, alcoholism can lead you to:

  • Make drinking your top personal priority, not your relationships
  • Stop taking part in other activities that you or your partner once enjoyed

Serious, non-addicted alcohol abuse can lead you to:

  • Neglect key responsibilities that your family depends on you for
  • Keep drinking even when you know that your relationships are suffering as a result
  • Use alcohol in dangerous situations that put you or your family at-risk

You can experience any combination of these problems. Why? Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are often overlapping conditions. This means that you can suffer from both of them at the very same time.

What types of problems occur in the relationships and families of alcoholics? Specific issues vary from person to person. However, some of the most common problems include:

  • Loss of communication between partners or family members
  • A decline of caring or loving interactions in your relationship or family unit
  • A rise in negative interactions
  • An inconsistent or chaotic day-to-day environment
  • Outbursts of anger, aggression, or even outright violence

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The Impact of a Stressful Relationship on Your Alcoholism Risks

The link between relationship problems and alcoholism runs in both directions. What does this mean? Not only does alcoholism increase your risks for a disrupted personal life. Pre-existing disruptions in your personal life can increase your risks for developing alcoholism. Specific reasons for this include:

  • Turning to alcohol as a stress reliever for relationship conflict
  • Drinking to cope with depression, anxiety, or other negative feelings

 

Therapy Options for Recovering Alcoholics in Relationships

Couples Therapy or Counseling

While in treatment, recovering alcoholics in relationships may receive help in the form of Behavioral Couples Therapy, or BCT. You may also receive similar forms of couples counseling. Couples therapy and counseling are often given to you and your partner at the same time. However, you may also speak with your therapist or counselor on your own.

How does BCT or couples counseling work? Key goals include helping you:

  • Learn how to problem solve within your relationship
  • Improve your ability to communicate with your partner
  • Decrease negative behaviors and increase caring behaviors
  • Enhance the general quality of your relationship

As a rule, BCT and couples counseling are for people in committed relationships. Many participants are married. In contrast, others are not. Couples therapy and counseling work alongside other aspects of your alcohol treatment. Important benefits for your relationship and alcohol recovery include:

  • Reinforcing your dedication to achieving and maintaining sobriety
  • Helping you avoid alcohol-related harm
  • Improving the overall quality of your relationship
  • Decreasing your chances of divorcing or separating if you are married

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Family Therapy or Counseling

While in treatment, recovering alcoholics in relationships may also receive family therapy or counseling. One well-regarded option here is Family Behavior Therapy, or FBT. This therapy focuses on two main areas. The first of these areas is the impact of alcoholism on your and your family unit. The second is the impact of other related issues on you and your family. Examples of these issues include:

  • Various kinds of family conflict not related to your drinking
  • Other mental health issues
  • Unemployment and other economic issues

The aim of FBT is to get your and your family members to change harmful behaviors. Those behaviors may stem from your drinking. They may also be things that make you more likely to abuse alcohol. Each person involved in the therapy helps decide on specific behavior goals. The unit as a whole also has its own goals. Periodically, you and your therapist review the progress of FBT. Goals that are met are rewarded by you or other family members.

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Continuing Care for Recovering Alcoholics in Relationships

Relationship concerns do not disappear automatically when you finish alcohol treatment. The same holds true for your risks for relapse. For these reasons, it is crucial to maintain your access to professional help after rehab. How do you do this? By enrolling in a long-term rehab or aftercare program.

Continuing care often takes place in a treatment facility. As a rule, it takes less of a time commitment than your original treatment. However, it still provides you with the things you need in your quest for sobriety and stable relationships. Continuing care is so important that it is now a standard recommendation. That is not just true for recovering alcoholics in relationships. It is true for everyone recovering from a serious substance problem.

Dating for Recovering Alcoholics

If you are not already in a relationship, should you start one while in alcohol recovery? In early recovery, this is generally considered to be a risky idea. You are in a vulnerable place while in alcohol treatment, and that vulnerability may continue for quite some time.

Even in the best of circumstances, relationships can be trying. Attempting to start one while recovering from alcoholism may just be too much for you. This is especially true before you establish a lasting pattern of alcohol abstinence. Some treatment programs make you commit to staying out of relationships throughout your enrollment.

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Learn More About Recovering Alcoholics in Relationships

Questions about recovering alcoholics and relationships are common. That is because so many relationships in the U.S. are negatively impacted by problem drinking. If you have major relationship problems, addressing them may be essential for your lasting recovery. Why? When left unaddressed, these kinds of problems can destabilize your daily routine. In turn, an unstable routine and home life may leave you at higher risk for a relapse.

If this kind of unwanted scenario sounds familiar to you, you have something in common with others all across the country. But you are not fated to live with relationship problems for the rest of your days. Couples and family therapy will help you turn things around. These therapies are often used as part of alcohol treatment. You can also continue them once you complete your primary rehab program. With their help, you will develop the skills needed to resolve your issues and support your sobriety.

For more information on recovering alcoholics and relationships, contact Pathfinders today. Our specialists will help you understand exactly how relationships and family issues affect you. And if you need treatment for alcoholism, our in-house therapy and counseling will support you every step of the way.

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