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Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a disease that affects 17 million American adults every year, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. It is known as a family disease because it has such a profound impact on not just the individual, but their family members as well. Alcohol Use Disorder refers to the overuse and abuse of alcohol, categorized as alcohol abuse and alcoholism
Risks of Alcohol Abuse
Alcoholism begins as alcohol abuse. Millions of Americans are thought be alcohol abusers, not dependent on the substance, but well on their way to it. Alcohol abuse happens when people binge drink, drink and drive, or drink at inappropriate times. Alcohol abuse often leads to criminal activity, poor decision making and its consequences, and a tolerance for alcohol. It is not long before alcoholism, or dependence on alcohol, occurs. Over time, heavy alcohol use can also lead to dementia, stroke, depression, anxiety, cardiovascular problems, liver disease, cancer, and pancreatitis.
Dangers of Alcoholism
Alcoholism is described as an individual’s uncontrollable need for alcohol. Those struggling with alcoholism are usually able to consume large amounts of alcohol, and they feel the need to drink every day. In fact, sobering up and going for more than a few hours can lead to withdrawal symptoms, including shakiness, insomnia, nausea, and sweating. Someone with alcohol dependence must continue to drink in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
- Nausea and vomiting
- Irregular heartbeat
- Delirium Tremens (severe and life-threatening confusion, fever, and seizures)
Impacts of Alcoholism on Families and Loved Ones
Families suffer when a member is an alcoholic. Spouses are left holding the family together and making excuses. Many suffer from emotional or physical abuse. Parents of alcoholics feel guilt that they had something to do with the disease, and suffer as they watch their child self-destruct. Children Alcohol Use Disorder is a disease that affects 17 million American adults every year of alcoholics perhaps suffer the most because they live a chaotic life, not knowing what state of mind their parent will be in, not being able to predict what will happen if they do certain things. Children of alcoholics grow up having behavioral problems, trouble with grades, poor self-esteem, and difficulty with relationships. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence estimates that more than 7 million children live in a household where at least one parent is dependent on or has abused alcohol.
Families with alcoholism somehow find ways to deal with this destructive disease. They may put up barriers and deny there is a problem, or lie and make excuses to cover up for their alcoholic loved one. Many try to create the impression that everything is normal to the outside world, when inside they are crying out for help. Over time, many family members decide they have to get out, and they find a way to leave. Many individuals with alcoholism have lost everything that was once dear to them: their friends, home, job, and even their family.
Treatment for Alcoholism
Treatment for alcoholism involves healing physically from the damage done by the substance, and also psychologically as the person retrains their mind to function without alcohol and come face to face with the consequences of their actions. The first step of alcoholism recovery is detox, which can bring with it withdrawal symptoms.
Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous and should not be attempted alone. Families should find a trusted facility that is equipped to handle medical detoxification. These facilities can offer medication to manage symptoms and medical intervention if symptoms become severe. After detox, the recovering alcoholic must go through intense therapy to develop the skills necessary to live a normal life again.
Alcoholism recovery takes determination, and it also helps to have the encouragement and support of loved ones. It is important for family members to get help for themselves as well. Support groups like Al-Anon or Alateen help millions of Americans each year learn how to interact with an alcoholic loved one, how to encourage sobriety, and how to live productive and happy lives themselves.
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) Questionnaire
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has created the following questionnaire to help detect alcohol use disorders. If you answer yes to more than two of these questions you may have a problem with alcohol. Give us a call – we can help 1.844.867.6835
In the past year, have you:
- Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
- More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
- Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
- Experienced craving — a strong need, or urge, to drink?
- Found that drinking — or being sick from drinking — often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
- Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
- Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
- More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
- Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
- Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
- Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?
We Can Help you Find an Alcohol Addiction Recovery Program
Finding help for an alcoholic can be a daunting process. Loved ones are often unsure who to turn to, what kind of help to ask for, and how to talk to their loved one in an effective way. We at My Recovery Helper can provide the assistance you need. We work to connect families with alcohol addiction recovery that can meet the individual’s and their family’s needs. We have access to intervention professionals that can help loved ones approach their family member. We can refer individuals to the treatment program that will be effective for them, whether it is a medical detox facility for alcohol withdrawal, a drug rehab program, or a long term alcoholism recovery program. This is a free service for you, call now: 1.844.867.6835.