4 Reasons to Enter Treatment for Your Drinking
Some people let the United States’ cultural acceptance of drinking cloud their judgment about alcohol. It’s difficult for anyone to admit a problem with drinking, especially if it’s a significant part of interacting socially with friends and family, but around 17 million Americans suffer with an alcohol use disorder and need help according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
Coming face to face with a drinking problem may require an uncomfortable look at the truth. Getting professional help may seem unreasonable at first, but the following four reasons bring clarity to the importance of seeking treatment for excessive drinking:
Alcoholism Responds to Treatment
Perhaps the most important reason to get help for alcoholism is the promise of a better life. Treatment programs offer hope and once someone gets past the worry of feeling embarrassed or ashamed, he can make decisions that lead to real change. NIAAA research shows one-third of people who are treated for alcohol problems are symptom-free at one-year post treatment and many others successfully reduce their drinking and report fewer problems. Treatment brings significant quality of life improvements including fewer feelings of regret about things said or done while drinking.
Problem Drinking Is More Common Than People Realize
It can be easy to lose track of the number of drinks in a sitting or the number of drinks in a day. This number, along with the size of each drink, is a good way to monitor excessive drinking. Some people who drink too much can successfully cut back by becoming aware of the problem while others need treatment to address the underlying reasons of problem drinking. Other people are addicted to alcohol and need a more intense form of treatment to manage the addiction and develop new habits that promote healing.
In the United States, a standard drink contains 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The amount of alcohol in a beverage varies; the following are standard drink amounts:
- 12 oz. of beer – 5 percent alcohol content
- 8 oz. of malt liquor – 7 percent alcohol content
- 5 oz. of wine – 12 percent alcohol content
- 5 oz. of 80-proof – 40 percent alcohol content (distilled spirits or liquor like gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, etc.)
The CDC recommends men limit themselves to two drinks a day and women limit themselves to one drink a day. A person is drinking excessively if he has five or more drinks in a sitting (four or more for a woman) or has 15 or more drinks in a week (man) or 8 or more drinks in a week (woman).
Alcohol Abuse Is a Serious Health Risk
Researchers at the CDC know people experience adverse health effects from excessive drinking. Women, for example, are more vulnerable than men to the health risks of drinking, particularly to the brain, heart and liver.
Over time, excessive drinking leads to chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, liver disease and digestive problems. It also leads to certain forms of cancer, learning and memory problems and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.
People Who Struggle With Severe Alcoholism Benefit From Specialized Medications
Currently there are several approved medications for treating alcohol use—naltrexone, acamprosate and disulfiram. An injectable form of extended-release naltrexone also is available. The medications have the following uses according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Revia (naltrexone) – It blocks the body’s ability to experience the good feelings associated with alcohol. This can reduce heavy drinking or end the urge to drink. The injectable form of the drug, Vivitrol, produces the same effects but may increase compliance rates because it is injected once a month.
- Antabuse (disulfiram) – It produces uncomfortable physical sensations when a person drinks alcohol such as flushing, nausea, vomiting and headaches.
- Campral (acamprosate) – It may reduce cravings for alcohol.
The existence of specialized medications for alcoholism helps many people successfully begin recovery and avoid relapse.
Need Help Finding Treatment for Alcoholism?
When a person becomes dependent or addicted to alcohol, responsible treatment addresses his cravings as well as any psychological and social needs that may be at the root of his need to drink alcohol.
Do you need help for a loved one or yourself? If you are looking for addiction treatment that manages mental health and substance abuse issues, call us today for advice. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day, every day. We help people find the best fit for addiction treatment including therapies that address a person’s needs for day-to-day support. Don’t wait to start the road toward recovery. Call our toll-free helpline, and get started on a fulfilling and enriching life.