Watching a friend or loved one struggle with alcoholism is difficult, which can make you wonder how to help an alcoholic and if a 12 step addiction recovery program in Mclean VA can help.
Millions of Americans struggle with drinking problems and alcoholism each year. In fact, more than 80% of American adults have consumed alcohol within the past year. Alcohol abuse is also widespread among young adults and college students, with more than 15% of college students meeting the criteria for an alcohol abuse disorder.
Long-term alcohol abuse can worsen underlying mental health and medical problems. Alcohol is processed through your liver, so abusing alcohol can lead to serious liver problems. Alcohol is also both physically and psychologically addicting. When you become physically dependent on alcohol, you can experience potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is a type of mental health disorder that causes you to compulsively abuse alcohol, even if you want to stop drinking or drinking causes you to deal with negative consequences. Alcohol causes your brain to release excessive GABA, serotonin, and dopamine, which are three neurotransmitters that cause pleasurable emotions. The rush of neurotransmitters leads to the pleasurable feelings associated with intoxication.
Alcohol is also a central nervous system depressant, making it extremely dangerous to mix alcohol with other drugs or psychoactive substances. In large amounts, alcohol can cause ethanol poisoning, which requires immediate medical intervention. Alcohol also lowers your inhibitions and impairs your judgment, which can increase dangerous behaviors.
Alcohol is also physically and psychologically addictive, meaning that when you immediately stop drinking, you can experience intense withdrawal symptoms, which can include:
- Delirium tremors
- Seizures and disorientation
- Intense cravings
- Sweats, tremors, and shakes
- Vomiting and dehydration
How to Help an Alcoholic
If you are wondering how to help an alcoholic, the best way is to help encourage them to seek treatment. Detoxing from alcohol is dangerous without proper medical supervision because of a rare but potentially fatal complication called delirium tremors. Helping an alcoholic starts with supporting and encouraging your friend or loved one to reach out for help from a treatment center.
Treatment can include both inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment options. Detox is typically done in an inpatient environment to ensure that you can safely withdrawal from alcohol. Medications and holistic treatment options can greatly reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Detox symptoms typically last for 3-5 days but can last longer depending on the severity of your alcoholism.
Inpatient treatment programs are typically for 28 days but many treatment centers also offer long term programs.
Finding Help Today
If you or a loved one is struggling with a drinking problem or alcoholism, you may wonder how to help an alcoholic. The first step towards recovery and long-term sobriety is reaching out for help. Treatment greatly improves your chances of remaining sober and gives you the tools and guidance you need to achieve recovery. Sagebrush Treatment Centers, which has the best 12 step addiction recovery program Mclean, VA offers, is here to help. Call us today at 866.488.1156 to find out more about your treatment options.