If you checked one to three boxes from each of the two checklists, there’s a strong chance that your loved one has an alcohol problem. However, some of these signs could also be red flags for a mental or physical illness. Encourage your loved one to be evaluated by a physician or therapist. Talk to him or her about alcohol abuse, and express your support for further treatment, such as therapy, counseling, or a 12-step program. You or your loved one can also call a free alcohol hotline for more information.
Oral medications. A drug called disulfiram (Antabuse) may help prevent you from drinking, although it won't cure alcohol use disorder or remove the compulsion to drink. If you drink alcohol, the drug produces a physical reaction that may include flushing, nausea, vomiting and headaches. Naltrexone, a drug that blocks the good feelings alcohol causes, may prevent heavy drinking and reduce the urge to drink. Acamprosate may help you combat alcohol cravings once you stop drinking. Unlike disulfiram, naltrexone and acamprosate don't make you feel sick after taking a drink.
Addiction can be terrifying. If you or someone that you care about has been struggling with a substance use disorder, then you are well aware of the devastating impact that this insidious disease can have on virtually all aspects of life. You know all about the sleepless nights, the despair-filled days, and the pervasive fear that, just when you think it cannot get any worse, it will.
As the brain matures, experiences prune excess neural connections while strengthening those that are used more often. Many scientists think that this process contributes to the steady reduction in gray matter volume seen during adolescence (depicted as the yellow to blue transition in the figure). As environmental forces help determine which connections will wither and which will thrive, the brain circuits that emerge become more efficient. However, this is a process that can cut both ways because not all tasks are desirable. The environment is like an artist who creates a sculpture by chipping away excess marble; and just like bad artists can produce bad art, environments with negative factors (like drugs, malnutrition, bullying, or sleep deprivation) can lead to efficient but potentially harmful circuits that conspire against a person's well-being. Coming KLEAN: Stories of Overcoming Addiction, The Documentary (Rated R)
If the patient has an antisocial personality (ie, severe problems with family, peers, school, and police before age 15 y and before the onset of alcohol problems), recovery is less likely. If the patient has primary depression, anxiety disorder, or another potentially contributory disorder (the other disorder must antedate the problems with alcohol or it must be a significant problem during long periods of sobriety), treat this primary problem aggressively.
The signs of addiction vary from drug to drug. Some drugs take longer to produce noticeable symptoms. In some cases, the symptoms blend in with normal behaviors, making it difficult to tell that the person is addicted. Common signs of addiction include needle marks on the arms of people who inject drugs and constant nose sores on people who snort drugs.
Getting alcohol out of the addicted person’s system is the first part of recovery. People with a severe alcohol addiction can experience intense withdrawal symptoms. A supervised alcohol detox is usually necessary for people addicted to alcohol to prevent potentially fatal complications. Shaking, sweating, seizures, and hallucinations are possible alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Woman Turns to Rehab After Struggling With Drugs, Alcohol: Part 1
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