Alcoholism is a problem that affects millions of Americans and their loved ones. Alcoholics may be preoccupied with alcohol, have trouble controlling their drink intake, or experience physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking for even short periods of time. Problem drinking and binge drinking can lead to alcoholism if left unchecked.
Signs of Alcoholism
There are many signs of alcoholism. These include irritability when a regular drinking time nears, storing of alcohol in unusual places, inability to limit alcohol consumption at any given time, drinking alone, and disrupting everyday life to drink. Men who have five or more drinks a day and women who have four or more drinks a day may have crossed the line into alcoholism.
There are various treatments that can help eliminate a dependence on alcohol. Treatment often begins with detox programs that can take anywhere from two days to a week to complete. Detox programs are usually done at rehabilitation centers or hospitals where sedatives can be administered to lessen the effects of withdrawal symptoms. The next step in getting help is to seek counseling and support. Psychological therapy can help alcoholics better understand their addiction, as well as provide a helping hand during the recovery process. Similarly, support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, which is known for its 12-step sobriety program, have also been proven to assist recovering alcoholics.
There are also medications available that can help alcoholics overcome their dependency. Drugs such as acamprosate, better known as Camporal, may help reduce cravings. Naltrexone, better known as Revia, can be orally ingested or injected to block the pleasurable feelings alcohol causes. Additional steps toward sobriety include maintaining a regular sleep cycle, a healthy diet, and an exercise regimen.
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