Alcoholism is the inability to control drinking due to a dependence on alcohol, often coupled with destructive behavior.
Alcohol use disorder (also referred to as AUD or Alcoholism) is a pattern of alcohol use that involves difficulty controlling your drinking, a preoccupation with alcohol, continued use of alcohol even when it causes problems, increasing drinking to get the same effect, or experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking. The social acceptance of drinking can make alcohol addiction hard to spot. Despite its legal status, alcohol’s potential for abuse exposes users to many health risks and possible addiction.
If your pattern of drinking results in frequent distress and consistent problems in your daily life, you may have an alcohol use disorder. An estimated 16 million people in the United States have AUD. Disorders can range from mild to severe. However, even a mild disorder can escalate and lead to serious problems, so seeking treatment early on is important. At Valley, we understand AUD and how to treat this all too common disorder.
Facts & Figures
Alcoholism Averages & Statistics
What Are the Symptoms of Alcoholism?
Unhealthy alcohol use includes any alcohol use that puts your health or safety at risk and causes consistent problems in your everyday life. It also includes binge drinking – a pattern of drinking where a male consumes five or more drinks within two hours or a female downs at least four drinks within two hours.
Alcohol use disorder can be mild, moderate or severe, based on the number of symptoms you experience. Signs and symptoms may include:
- An inability to limit the amount of alcohol you drink
- Unsuccessful attempts to cut down on how much and how often you drink
- Spending a lot of time drinking, getting alcohol or recovering from alcohol use
- Feeling a strong craving or urge to drink alcohol
- Failing to fulfill major obligations at work, school or home due to repeated alcohol use
- Continuing to drink alcohol even though you know it’s causing physical, social or interpersonal problems
- Giving up or reducing social and work activities and hobbies
- Using alcohol in situations where it’s not safe, such as when driving or swimming
- Developing a tolerance for alcohol so you need more to feel its effect or you have a reduced effect from the same amount
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms—such as nausea, sweating and shaking—when you don’t drink, or drinking to avoid these symptoms
How is Valley Treating Alcoholism?
Paying regular attention to your mental well-being is good and should be a normal part of healthy living. At Valley, we know there is no one-size-fits-all approach to mental health, which is why we take the time to care for each client individually and consider their broader story. Every client that walks through our doors is assessed holistically and provided comprehensive care within a solution-focused approach.
We offer a wide variety of counseling and counseling environments for a wide variety of clients:
Our individual counseling focuses in on each client and their unique story in order to discover the solutions that are right for them. After pairing our clients with the ideal therapist, we take the time to press into the cognitive, behavioral, and motivational aspects of our client’s recovery while also considering dual-diagnosis.
At Valley, we offer FDA approved medication-assisted treatment for alcohol dependence in Tippecanoe and Montgomery counties. Each medication program is prescribed by a trained clinician within a broad scope of long-term care.
Research shows that counseling within a group setting is just as effective, sometimes even more so, as individual care. At Valley, we are proud to provide robust and interactive care groups led by trained clinicians. These empowering spaces have proven to be an invaluable resource for learning coping skills, feeling acceptance, and avoiding social isolation.
While every client needs to be individually motivated to seek treatment, one of the largest factors in successful treatment is a solid support system. Our family and couples counseling partners with immediate family, primary caregivers, adopted families, and support systems to get everyone on the same page in caring for their loved ones.
Complementary & Alternative Treatments
Integrating Alternative Medicine and Activity
Incorporating complementary or alternative medicine is often referred to as an integrated approach and works best when used alongside professional treatment. Don’t replace conventional medical treatment or psychotherapy with alternative medicine.
With that said, here are some things proven to be helpful when dealing with Alcoholism:
As part of your recovery, you’ll need to focus on changing your habits and making different lifestyle choices. These strategies may help.
- Communicate with Your Support System: Make it clear to your friends and family that you’re not drinking alcohol. Develop a support system of friends and family who can support your recovery. You may need to distance yourself from friends and social situations that impair your recovery.
- Develop Healthy Habits: Good sleep, regular physical activity, managing stress more effectively, and eating well can all make it easier for you to recover from alcohol use disorder.
- Do Things That Don’t Involve Alcohol: You may find that many of your activities involve drinking. Replace them with hobbies or activities that are not centered around alcohol.
In addition to your treatment plan when recovering from alcohol use disorder, these techniques may be helpful:
- Yoga: Yoga’s series of postures and controlled breathing exercises may help you relax and manage stress.
- Meditation: During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress.
- Acupuncture: With acupuncture, hair-thin needles are inserted under the skin. Acupuncture may help reduce anxiety and depression.
Coping & Support
Many people with alcohol problems find that participating in support groups is an essential part of coping with the disease, preventing or dealing with relapses, and staying sober. Here are a few examples:
- Addiction Support Groups: Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Celebrate Recovery are self-help groups for people recovering from alcoholism. They offer sober peer groups built around 12 steps as an effective model for achieving total abstinence.
- Women for Sobriety: Women for Sobriety is a nonprofit organization offering a self-help group program for women who want to overcome alcoholism and other addictions. It focuses on developing coping skills related to emotional and spiritual growth, self-esteem and a healthy lifestyle.
- Spiritual Practice: People who are involved with some type of regular spiritual practice or community may find it easier to maintain recovery from alcohol use disorder or other addictions. For many people, gaining greater insight into their spiritual side is a key element in recovery.
Videos & Podcasts
Knowledgeable Insights from Around the Web
Great Resources on Alcoholism
Alcoholics Anonymous: The Original Text of the Life-Changing Landmark, Deluxe Edition
By Bill W.
Book description goes here
This Naked Mind
By Annie Grace
Dry: A Memoir
By Augusten Burroughs
The Sober Diaries
By Clare Pooley
High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society
By Dr. Carl Hart
Drinking: A Love Story
By Caroline Knapp
Research and Resources
Great Articles & Resources on Alcoholism
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