Alcoholism can be just as hard on friends and family as it is for the person who drinks too much, but you can help by showing support and encouraging trigger management and self-care. Another way to assist with your loved one’s recovery journey is to educate yourself about alcohol addiction. Learn about alcoholism symptoms, treatments, and recovery programs in Florida.
The Symptoms of Alcoholism
Alcoholism as a mental health condition. Also known as an alcohol use disorder (AUD), alcohol addiction can be diagnosed using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). According to the DSM, at least two of the following symptoms must be present within the last year for someone to receive an AUD diagnosis:
- Drinking for longer or consuming more alcohol than intended
- Attempting to or wanting to cut down on or stop drinking alcohol but being unable to do so
- Spending significant amounts of time drinking or being hungover
- Having trouble thinking of anything else but drinking
- Struggling to keep up with work, school, or family obligations due to drinking or being hungover
- Continuing to drink despite negative interpersonal consequences
- No longer participating in activities that used to be pleasurable to drink
- Experiencing situations that are life-threatening or otherwise unhealthy due to drinking
- Continuing to drink despite adverse mental health effects, health problems, or blackouts
- Developing tolerance or needing increasing amounts of alcohol to feel its effects
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of or a significant reduction in alcohol use
Experiencing two to three symptoms within the last year is sufficient for a mild AUD diagnosis. Moderate AUDs feature four to five signs, while severe AUDs require the presence of at least six.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Abusing alcohol for long periods and even acutely can result in withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawals may begin only a few hours after someone’s last drink and range from mild to potentially fatal. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawals include:
- Mood swings
- Brain fog
- Dilated pupils
- Trouble sleeping
- Low appetite
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Pale skin
- High blood pressure
Around 3% of alcoholics will experience seizures after they quit drinking, while 50% of these people are at high risk for the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal: delirium tremens (DT). DT features hallucinations, extreme agitation, severe confusion, and fever. It typically outlasts milder symptoms, often sticking around for a week. Rarely, DT symptoms may become permanent.
Treatments for Alcohol Addiction
There is hope for people suffering from AUD. Research has shown that treatments like psychotherapy, peer support groups, and medication can help people stop drinking too much and overcome addiction.
Individual therapy for alcoholism has two aims. The first is to change behaviors and thought patterns that may contribute to drinking habits. The second is to treat underlying mental health symptoms that could be drinking triggers.
Peer support groups include 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Addiction and mental health experts lead these programs and allow people recovering from alcoholism to support and encourage one another.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three medications to treat alcohol addiction. These medications can reduce alcohol cravings during recovery, reducing the risk of relapse after rehab.
Tips to Help Prevent Relapse After Rehab
Approximately one in three people in recovery from an AUD experience symptom remission after one year. The risk of relapse decreases when individuals adhere to aftercare recommendations, such as the following.
Focus on Trigger Management
An aspect of therapy for an AUD is identifying triggers for drinking. Triggers can be visual cues (i.e., a liquor bottle) or emotional states (e.g., stress or grief). Avoiding and learning to manage these triggers can help reduce the risk of relapse after treatment.
Maintain a Home Support Network
Seeking support from individuals who will encourage recovery efforts is crucial to preventing relapse. Studies have found that the stronger a recovering addict’s social support network is, the better the outcome.
Learn to Practice Self-Care
Self-care can take many forms, but anything that helps individuals find balance and manage their addiction is effective. Practicing habits like mindfulness, meditation, and yoga have a measurable effect on an individual’s quality of life.
Our Alcohol Misuse Programs
The Comprehensive Wellness Centers offers full-service alcohol use disorder recovery programs, including inpatient, outpatient, dual diagnosis, and medication-assisted treatments.
Residential or inpatient treatment is ideal for individuals with moderate to severe addictions. The program begins with detox and withdrawal management. Treatment includes individual, group, and family counseling, alternative therapies, medication, and more.
Partial Hospitalization Program
Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) work well for people with moderate to severe addictions who need the flexibility to attend to family obligations. These programs may or may not involve detox, but treatments include various types of counseling, medication, or both.
Intensive Outpatient Program
Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are best for people with mild to moderate AUD who need flexibility to work, attend school, or care for family members. IOPs may require detox, depending on the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Treatments include various types of counseling, medication, or both.
Dual Diagnosis Program
Dual diagnosis programs aim to treat AUD and co-occurring mental health disorders, which can occur in an inpatient or outpatient setting. Treatments may include various types of counseling, medication, or both.
Medication Assisted Program
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is for individuals who need prescription medication for withdrawals during detox or cravings during recovery. The following anti-craving drugs can help after rehab:
Meanwhile, benzodiazepines are primarily prescribed to make withdrawal symptoms safer and more bearable.
Get Help for a Drinking Problem in South Florida
Alcoholism is a type of mental health disorder featuring symptoms like alcohol cravings. Group, individual, and family therapy, medication, and support groups are available to treat people who misuse alcohol. Loved ones can help by identifying drinking triggers, offering support, and encouraging self-care.
If you are searching for treatment options for your loved one, consider Comprehensive Wellness Centers in South Florida. We accept most insurance plans, including Medicare, Florida Blue, Aetna, and more, to make getting help more affordable. Verify your loved one’s insurance to start the admissions process.