Recognizing Alcoholism in Yourself
Alcohol addiction is an issue that affects millions of Americans every year, no matter what they look like, where they are from, their income or their age. When you think of an alcoholic, the first image that comes into your head is likely not a successful CEO who shows up to work every day, a happily married hard working mom, or your child’s sports coach. The media has created an unflattering stereotype of people with alcohol use disorder, portraying an alcoholic as a person who:
Is violent, angry, and unsuccessful in life and their career
Drinks every day, drinks out of a paper bag in the streets, and is always visibly drunk
Is alone in the world without friends and loved ones
Is unkempt and dressed poorly, with a stereotypical red nose
Has a depressing and tragic life, living in a bad neighborhood or experiencing homelessness
Has no morals, is unreliable, and has no control over life
This is not the case for many people. Normal people with good lives, friends, family, jobs and community can still become addicted to alcohol. Because of these stereotypes it may be difficult to self-diagnose as having a problem. If you are still doing well at school or work, and your family life seems great you may not identify as “one of them”. This may help you remain in denial instead of seeking the help you need.
Alcoholism is not a moral failing. Drinking is a socially acceptable vice that is legal for Americans aged 21 and over, so a regular drinking habit is very easy to develop, which leads to physical dependence on alcohol, into addiction. You do not need to hit rock bottom to recognize the signs that you are drinking too much, you are dependent on alcohol, or you have an addiction to alcohol. Take an honest look at your habits, the way drinking is affecting your body, and how you feel when you try to stop drinking. If you recognize even some of the signs of addiction, it is important to take them seriously sooner than later, not just for your physical health, although that is important, but also for your mental and psychological wellness, and to ensure that alcoholism does not steal away the important things in your life like your relationships, your hobbies, your job, and your community.
What is Alcoholism?
The biggest sign of alcoholism is when you feel strong compulsions (urges) to drink alcohol. There are strong physical cravings, and mental distress associated with these compulsions, and it becomes very difficult to resist drinking. Those who have been misusing alcohol by binge drinking or heavy drinking for some time may notice withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop.
Binge drinking is what it is called when you drink a large amount of alcohol at one time, bringing your blood alcohol content (BAC) up to 0.08% or higher. For men, this is usually five drinks in two hours. The US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) guidelines call five drinks in one occasion (at least once in the past month) a binge. For women, it is generally four drinks in two hours or one occasion.
Heavy drinking is fourteen or more drinks per week for men (two drinks per day), or seven or more drinks per week for women (one drink per day). According to SAMHSA, heavy drinking can also be binge drinking on five or more days in the past month.
Whether it is a few glasses of wine per day or chugging beers every weekend, abusing any type of alcoholic beverage can lead to addiction.
Signs of Alcohol Addiction
Some of the most common signs that you may be addicted to alcohol include:
- Feeling urges to drink, or craving alcoholic drinks, or wanting a drink so badly you cannot relax until you satisfy that urge
- Noticing you have an increased tolerance to alcoholic drinks; you need to drink more to feel intoxicated than you used to
- You always want your social activities to include drinking; you begin brining drinks to any occasion in case the host does not have alcohol; you try to convince people to drink with you or go out to the bar instead of another activity
- Being unable to just have one drink; losing control when you begin to drink
- Hiding how much you are drinking from loved ones; drinking in secret; feeling ashamed at how much you are drinking
- Needing to drink alcohol first thing in the morning or throughout the day just to feel normal; keeping alcohol in your purse, in a flask, in your desk at work, or around the house
- Ignoring responsibilities so you can get drunk; using bill money for alcohol; missing important events so you can drink or due to a hangover
- You begin to get into dangerous and risky situations while drinking like fights or drunk driving
- Feeling sick, anxious, or other withdrawal symptoms when you try to cut back or stop drinking
The DayBreak alcohol treatment and drug rehab center is the top-rated alcohol detox program for those living in or traveling to Levittown, Pennsylvania, in Bucks County. At our recovery center, we offer the full continuum of care for drug addiction, alcohol addiction, and dual diagnosis, a specialized program for people treating alcohol use disorder alongside mental health issues. We aim to treat every client as a unique individual, working with you to create a customized alcohol addiction treatment plan that will work for your needs, helping you create the alcohol-free life you want for yourself.
Our levels of care include:
- Medical detox
- Inpatient rehab
- Intensive outpatient programs
- Partial hospitalization programs
Hope is on the Horizon
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What is Alcohol Detox Like?
Although alcohol is a legal substance in the United States and is regularly used by millions of Americans, it is not widely known that alcohol is one of the most difficult substances to quit using due to intense withdrawal symptoms. The brain and body struggle to regain balance after the alcohol is removed from your system, causing mild to severe reactions depending on your level of addiction. Underlying issues including the psychological aspects of addiction and physical ailments associated with drinking must also be addressed.
The fear of withdrawal symptoms is a huge barrier for many people who want to quit drinking but do not wish to suffer the pain and discomfort associated with quitting. A medical detox is the answer to this natural reaction the body goes through when battling the loss of something it has become accustomed to.
When you detox at DayBreak, you will move into our detox center full time, 24 hours a day. Alcohol detox varies from person to person, but you will likely be inside the facility for around one week. Your room will be semi-private with one other patient (most likely also detoxing from alcohol), and the housing is gender specific, with plenty of staff and care available to you day and night in case you need anything. You will have your own TV and there are several amenities available to you as you detox including a holistic spa, massage therapy, salon services and access to a movie theater. Laundry, housekeeping and cooking is all done by our staff so you can focus on your own wellness.
We know that detoxing from alcohol is not easy, so at the Daybreak treatment center, we are committed to each patient’s comfort and care, and will do all we can to ensure you are as comfortable as possible, especially during the first little while as the alcohol is leaving your system. We believe that the more comfortable you are, the more successful your recovery will be, so our luxury rehabilitation facilities are located in the countryside, in a peaceful and serene location, so you can relax and focus on healing.
What To Expect During Detox?
When you first come to the DayBreak treatment center, our experts will meet with you and evaluate your physical health, mental health, and get to know you a little bit so that they can create the right treatment plan for you. Whether you are a casual drinker noticing addictive tendencies or have been drinking alcohol and using other drugs together for years, we will be able to build a plan to help you detox and move into a rehabilitation program that will get you back on track and in the driver’s seat of your own life once again.
Co-occurring mental health issues are also diagnosed during your initial assessment, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and others. If a mental illness is present alongside alcoholism, a dual diagnosis treatment plan is the best way to heal and manage both conditions at the same time, rather than trying to sweep one under the rug to treat the other.
Detox at DayBreak’s alcohol treatment center is a full medical detox. This means that our patients undergo comprehensive medical and psychological care, with an emphasis on comfort and luxury throughout recovery from substance use disorders. Our detox is staffed with nurses and nurse practitioners, and is overseen by a physician, so in the case of medical complications arise, there will be somebody there for you to alleviate pain, distress, and ensure you stay safe. We will help you achieve a fresh start by helping the body purge all toxins left behind by alcohol, removing it from your brain and your system, so you can regain your health and have the ability to move forward in your treatment plan with a clear head.
Instead of a one-size-fits-all detox, our alcohol detox programs have been created to best help those suffering an alcohol use disorder, as alcohol detox is a unique experience that may escalate to serious symptoms including seizures and severe hallucinations called delirium tremens (the DTs).
We can provide doctor-prescribed medications to keep you safe and comfortable as your body purges the toxins from your system and works to rebalance itself. Medications will also make the treatments more effective overall. You will be stabilized through both medical and psychosocial assistance, with full support, as you become familiar with the clinic and what types of programs we offer.
As you feel healthier and more stable, you will begin to work with therapists and counselors in individual treatment, beginning the work on the underlying causes of your addiction, as well as the behavioral addictions issues, and the psychological and social issues that contribute to addiction. Our team can move you directly into your next level of addiction treatment program, either in inpatient treatment or outpatient rehab, whichever is appropriate for your unique needs.
How Long is Detox?
Although every patient is unique with their own timeline varying depending on factors like how much and how long you have been drinking, your overall health and mental wellness, and whether you were mixing alcohol with other substances, the typical detox addiction treatment period usually lasts between three and ten days.
The basic timeline for alcohol detox is as follows:
- In the first 12 hours you will likely begin to feel off, with headaches, stomach issues and feelings of anxiety, with difficulty sleeping.
- Between 12 and 48 hours after your last drink, your symptoms will gradually become stronger, and you may feel distressed, with flu-like feelings, a fever, or pain, as well as increased nausea and vomiting. Many people trying to detox on their own will relapse at this point, as drinking will feel easier than continuing to detox. For this reason, detoxing inside rehab centers that are safe and 100% sober is a good idea.
- Between 48 and 72 hours is when things may become dangerous for many people, although delirium tremens can arise over a week after your last drink. During this time you may begin to feel agitated, have hallucinations, and feel confused. At the DayBreak addiction recovery center, you will be kept safe and calm with the help of medications if symptoms become too difficult to handle on your own.
After your symptoms have peaked, you will feel better every day until you are medically stable enough to move forward into your recommended next level of care. (An inpatient rehab, partial hospitalization, or intensive outpatient program)
Symptoms of Alcohol Detox
Of course, as you are an individual with a unique physiology, history of drinking, and background, your detoxification will affect you differently than the next person, but the most common side effects of alcohol detox include:
- Headaches and muscle aches
- Tremors and shaky hands
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood pressure fluctuations
- Irregular heart beat
- Anxiety and irritability
- Lethargy or restlessness
- Insomnia or other sleep issues
- Brain fog
- Intense cravings for alcohol
Serious symptoms like seizures may arise in the case of a severe addiction, or if other health issues are present at the time of detox. Delirium tremens is a possibility as well, especially if you have experienced it before, if you are older in age, if you are in poor general health or have underlying health issues, or if you have been drinking large amounts of alcohol directly prior to detox.
Symptoms of the DTs include:
- Aggression, agitation and irritability
- Severe nausea, sweating, and trembling
- Loss of consciousness
- Visual, auditory or tactile hallucinations
- In the worst cases, the DTs may lead to coma, brain damage, and even death.
Alcohol withdrawal is not something to be attempted on your own or at home without medical supervision, as the symptoms of withdrawal can quickly shift and become overwhelming, painful, and dangerous to your health. At DayBreak, we not only provide helpful prescriptions to keep you comfortable and safe, but we also have round-the-clock care. Nurses and nurse practitioners are on site daily, and are overseen by an experienced, credentialed physician.
Substance abuse treatment does not need to be scary or painful, and at DayBreak alcohol and drug rehab center we will do all we can to ensure you are safe, comfortable, and cared for in all aspects of your wellness.
Once you have been through the worst of your symptoms you will feel a little bit better every day, until you are medically stable enough to step down to a lower level of care like residential rehab, partial hospitalization treatment, or intensive outpatient treatment. Your aftercare rehab programming will be customized to your needs, but it is important to continue with some form of treatment after detox to get the most out of your time with us, heal, and gain new coping and recovery skills to help you when you return back to your everyday life.
When speaking about medical conditions, the term “acute” means that a condition is life-threatening, painful or dangerous, with the need for immediate medical care. In terms of detoxing from drugs and alcohol, acute treatment programs are for those who have a severe addiction and need 24-hour monitoring, seven days a week, because of the higher risk of serious issues like seizures, respiratory failure and other dangerous side effects. At DayBreak, treatment plans for those in acute detox include living inside our medical facility full time, so you can remain safe and as comfortable as possible as you recover from the ravages of alcohol abuse.
Sub-acute detox is for anybody at the addiction center who needs to detox but does not have a severe addiction with medical complications or other serious issues, and for those who were using less harmful substances. There is usually less medical supervision than there is in acute detox, and in some cases sub-acute detox takes place in an outpatient setting, although residential treatment inside the addiction center is always recommended to help you avoid the temptation to relapse. Our detox plans are customized to best suit your needs, so you get the appropriate level of care without providing unnecessary treatments or keeping you longer than we need to.
Why Choose DayBreak
DayBreak is the leading choice for West Palm Beach residents that are ready to address your alcohol addiction within a supportive, therapeutic model of addiction therapy. Our team of high therapist to patient ratio means that you will have access to therapeutic support throughout your healing journey. We pride ourselves in ensuring that each patient that enters into our alcohol rehab programs are provided with the highest levels of care to ensure that you are able to achieve long lasting success in sober living. Contact DayBreak today to speak with an intake specialist who will help you get started on your road to recovery.