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Last Updated on June 28, 2022

Except in more severe cases, addiction is a difficult thing to self-diagnose. As a result, the average person that is at risk of developing an addiction isn’t aware that they’re on the path toward addiction.

Except in more severe cases, addiction is a difficult thing to self-diagnose. As a result, the average person that is at risk of developing an addiction isn’t aware that they’re on the path toward addiction.

But there are tell-tale signs that can point to the fact that addiction may already be taking hold. 

For example, a person developing an alcohol addiction may not even be aware that moderate drinking is an occasional drink, not to exceed eight drinks a week for women and fourteen drinks in a week for men. 

Other more apparent signs of being at risk of alcohol addiction may include:

Drinking alone: If a person has a tendency to drink alone on regular occasions, justified as “relaxing or decompressing,” chances are they are developing alcohol addictions. Just because a person has an occasional drink alone doesn’t portend alcoholism, but an issue may develop when it becomes a common coping mechanism.

Binge drinking: Binge drinking is defined as drinking more than five drinks in a single setting, drinking to the point of intoxication, and drinking in excess on more than one occasion. Binge drinking typically occurs in social settings and masks the developing alcohol addiction tendencies.  

Lack of impulse control, a concern for consequences, and emotional regulation:

Someone that is developing a dependency on alcohol will exhibit a change in behavior and mood swings. 

Symptoms of behavioral changes will be a lack of impulse control, especially while drinking, a lack of consequences for those impulsive actions, and an increase in taking unnecessary risks. Additionally, emotional regularity will suffer, and mood swings and irritability will become the more common emotional state. 

Traditional Treatment Options

Traditional addiction therapy will address the severity of the addiction and manage the overall mental well-being of the individual. The two, mental health and addiction, are seen as correlative, meaning that treating one without the other will only show short-term gains. 

In severe cases where people may be a danger to themselves or society, most treatment options are voluntary. 

For example, a person seeking alcoholism treatment may choose to undergo in-patient, private, and group therapies with voluntary rehabilitation, intensive in-patient, or residential care. 

Traditional options include group care built around honesty and accountability to voluntary care for medically supervised care. The third option for moderate dependency or persons further along in recovery may be available, such as the use of apps and therapy classes online. 

Voluntary Treatment Options

The two main types of voluntary treatment are programs like the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program or choosing in-patient care. The difference between these two types of treatments is that the 12-step programs are built on a support group and mentoring program. In contrast, an in-patient treatment program may have private and group therapy directed by addiction and medical specialists. 

12-step Programs

12-step programs are built around support networks creating accountability for the person seeking treatment but relying on the honesty of the patient seeking care. As a result, therapy and care are less directed by professionals than in-patient care options.

In-patient Care

In-patient care is directed under the auspices of medical professionals, whether it’s in-office meetings or more intensive residential care. Therapy may include private treatment, group sessions, and medical care but is more supervised by a doctor than the 12-step programs. 

Treatment Alternatives

In addition to traditional treatment options, the individual may choose alternative options for more moderate addictions. Like with more traditional rehabilitation, understanding that the individual’s emotional well-being and mental health must be taken care of as much as the addiction is the only way to treat the causes of addiction and maintain an addiction-free life. 

Displacing addiction to healthier actions: Giving up one vice, say drinking, and substituting that with another isn’t the recommended way of treating addiction, but some people find that channeling energy into healthier activities like exercise can help them overcome the urge to drink. 

Creating new habits: One of the ways to channel the urge to drink is to devote time and energy to learning new habits. 

Much like taking up exercise, learning a new habit that breaks the urge to drink takes time and can yield a positive outcome. 

Some classes can be taken, and there are addiction recovery apps designed to create a confirmation loop and reward system that stimulates your brain in much the same ways that drinking would stimulate the dopamine response are good options. 

The goal of recovery is to make healthy choices and develop positive, reinforcing habits. There are various options for treatment available, and if one type of therapy doesn’t work, there are still other options available. 

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