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Alcoholism – Alcohol Addiction

Knowing when you have crossed the line from being a social drinker to an alcoholic can be difficult, because drinking is part of our culture and integral to celebrations. Members of the UK branch of Alcoholics Anonymous describe alcoholism as a mental obsession coupled with a physical allergy / compulsion that one does not have the ability to control.

Alcoholism is a problem or struggle for millions of people worldwide.  Many people who struggle with alcoholism are able to recover with support from friends, family, mutual aid groups (e.g. AA), and the help of an alcohol addiction counsellor.

Characteristics of Alcoholism

If you are reading this article because you think that you might have a problem, well done, you are taking a very important step towards reclaiming your health today. Know that you are not alone and that there are places where you can get the support you need in order to recover.

Alcoholism can stem from a diverse range of interrelated factors, such as a family history of alcoholism, a history of mental illness, genetics, your social and familial environments as a child, or experiencing a trauma at some point in your life. One or more of these factors can contribute to the development of a drinking problem., as a coping strategy for the uncomfortable feelings that arise from the earlier experience.

People who have a drinking problem might…

  • Feel ashamed about their drinking
  • Have drinking related “black outs”
  • Hide their drinking from others, or lie about its frequency
  • Use drinking as a way to cope with stressful events
  • Drink more than intended on a regular basis
  • Have loved ones who are concerned about how much they drink
  • Exhibit symptoms of withdrawal when they have not had a drink (e.g. sweating, shakiness, anxiety, insomnia, nausea/vomiting)

They also might not have the symptoms above, they are not fixed nor apply to everyone, some people hide their alcoholism very well, fit it into their lifestyle and justify drinking a ‘glass of wine of an evening’ as part of life, the problems occur when the drinking stops more often. The main thing is its a self declared problem, no one can ‘diagnose’ you, they can help you decide but thats where it ends.

Because drinking is so intertwined with our culture, the line between a drinking problem and social drinking can be difficult to identify.  If your drinking causes problems for you, or your loved ones, it might be worth seeking professional help to see where the problems lie and what can be done about it.

Alcoholism Treatment Resources

The most important thing to remember about your journey towards healthy living is that admitting you need help, and getting support is key. A good support system will help you to get through the tough days and celebrate every accomplishment, no matter how small.

Support can come through many avenues. Some people find success through spending time at an inpatient rehabilitation centre, where they can focus on their alcoholism / addiction without distraction. Some get therapy either through the rehabilitation centre, independently, or both.  Others find success through self-help programs or a self-directed treatment approach or mutual-aid such as AA. Regardless of which approach is best for you, know that you don’t need to do it alone; there are people who can help and who have experienced this.

How Can Alcohol Addiction Counselling Help?

Counselling for alcohol addiction / Alcoholism has similarities to other forms of counselling in that it will take place in a safe, confidential environment where you can feel assured that you can speak without fear of judgement.

A therapist will help you to:

  • Make peace with your- choices past and present
  • Understand why you drink and learn different strategies to cope with those stressors
  • Identify additional struggles and help you learn to address them in a healthy and safe manner
  • Understand thoughts and emotions linked to drinking
  • Help you get further support you need in order to recover
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