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
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
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
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.