The signs of alcohol addiction—or alcoholism—run through a long continuum from headaches and irritability during early-stage bingeing to death from internal bleeding during end-stage abuse. It is important to remember, however, that alcohol dependence can be successfully treated at any stage: don’t ever think you are too far gone to heal.
The stereotypical side effects that most people expect “alcoholics” to display are actually symptoms of severe and end-stage alcohol abuse:
- A chaotic and collapsing lifestyle resulting in unemployment or homelessness
- Severe physical withdrawals when alcohol is not available
- Confusion and dementia
- High blood pressure and chronic illness/infections
- Cirrhosis (internal scarring) of the liver and liver failure
To imagine someone who struggles with alcohol addiction as having to fulfill these categories is not only wrong, it’s a dangerous attitude that masks the very real dangers that begin almost immediately. Intervening as early as possible and preventing further damage from dependence is always the best choice, so it is wise to be aware of early-stage symptoms and the best ways to help someone recover.
Early Signs of Alcohol Addiction and How to Reach Out to Someone in Need
Most people who develop a dependence on alcohol start drinking as teens or young adults, which usually means binge drinking on a semi-regular basis. Many students grow out of this habit as they tire of constant hangovers and missed opportunities. But for some of them, this is an incredibly dangerous time that may set the stage for years of painful struggle with an alcohol use disorder, and every time they drink the chemical addiction grows beyond their control.
If this sounds like a friend or loved one you know, the best thing to do first is open a compassionate and non-judgemental dialog. Stopping cold turkey is never a good idea, and often just results in chronic relapse that magnifies the addiction. Instead, try the following:
- Carefully pick a time and place when they will be under the least amount of scrutiny or stress
- Listen carefully and don’t dismiss any of their reasoning outright
- Make it clear that you are there to support them, no matter what
- Do the homework for them, and be ready to explain exactly how treatment works and how you will get them to the right rehab center
- Take good care of your own mental health: don’t tie your happiness to their success or failure at treatment
- Expect relapses and know that this is a natural part of the process
If you can help a loved one build a close support network that is committed to getting them into recovery, you will be doing a great service. Early intervention and treatment will add years to their lives and avoid nightmares they haven’t even considered yet.
Successful Alcohol Addiction Treatment Must Be Personalized and Well-Managed by Caring Professionals
Next Wind Recovery is an excellent, comprehensive addiction recovery and mental health treatment center right here in New Jersey. We work with our clients every step of the way to create a personalized treatment plan that runs from detox all the way through aftercare and regular support groups.
Our well-researched and holistic treatment regimen includes custom intensive outpatient plans (IOP) which:
- Are managed by doctors who carefully prescribe special medications to help with detox and withdrawal
- Feature intensive individual therapy that goes deep into your life and the triggers that surround your dependency, as well as identifying any co-occurring mental health disorders
- Provide group therapy which is guided by empathetic professionals to help build real support networks that can give you real-life strategies
- Are watched by comprehensive case management that maintains thorough monitoring of your condition all the way through aftercare
Call Next Wind Recovery Today and End Alcohol Addiction for Good
No matter what stage of abuse you or a loved one finds themselves in, there is real and lasting help out there. Contact us today at 201.331.6569 and ask us anything you want about symptoms, intervention, treatment, or any other concerns you may have about mental health. Don’t wait: the earlier you act, the more good you can do.