For many people, the line between social drinking and alcohol abuse can be very thin. Alcohol is such a prevalent part of our social lives, that it can be easy to justify your alcohol consumption, even if it is significantly more than just one or two drinks a day. Nearly 15 million Americans over the age of 12 have an alcohol use disorder, and yet less than 10 percent of them seek help for their drinking problem. Without the help of an alcohol addiction treatment program, nearly all of these people will continue drinking – no matter how much it impacts their lives and their health.
Alcohol use disorder, or AUD, is the clinical term for an addiction to alcohol. This chronic brain disorder can range from mild to severe, with the worst cases often being referred to as alcoholism.
Much like other hereditary issues, genetics can play a role in a person’s likelihood of developing an AUD. Another factor is the environmental influence of growing up with a parent with AUD, which can also increase your risk.
Surveys and studies have found that people who begin drinking before the age of 15 are more than 5 times as likely to develop an AUD than people who waited to drink until age 21 or older. This risk is even higher for females than males.
A number of different mental health conditions can contribute to your risk of AUD. These include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Having experienced significant trauma in your life, especially during childhood, is also a risk factor for AUD.
If you are not certain whether or not you have a drinking problem, there are some questions developed by physicians that you can ask yourself. These include:
Alcohol detox is the process of getting all of the alcohol out of your system. For people with an AUD, this process is often unpleasant due to a number of different withdrawal symptoms they are likely to experience. These symptoms can occur anywhere from a few hours to a few days after your last drink.
The most common symptoms include:
For people with a severe AUD, there is also the risk of delirium tremens, or DTs, a very severe type of alcohol withdrawal. The symptoms of DTs include:
Trying to go through alcohol detox at home is a bad idea for a number of reasons. First and most importantly, you will not have the help of a trained medical staff in case you have an emergency. For people with moderate to severe alcohol addictions, the risk of having a life-threatening withdrawal symptom is very real – and very serious. At an alcohol detox center, staff will be on hand 24 hours a day to administer emergency medical care anytime it is needed.
The second reason to not detox at home is simple: you will not have access to continuing care for your addiction. When you have an AUD, getting better does not simply mean trying to stop drinking. AUD is a disease that needs proper treatment to help you to learn how to manage. An alcohol detox facility will be able to help you get enrolled in additional addiction treatment programs that will not only help to address the mental and physical toll AUD has had on you, but also help you learn ways to avoid drinking again in the future.
If you think you may have a drinking problem, and are interested in learning more about alcohol detox, contact us today.