Alcohol Use Addiction

What is alcohol addiction?

Australians are among some of the heaviest drinkers in the world, with many people turning to alcohol to cope with stress and anxiety. While consistent use of alcohol doesn’t always lead to an addiction, alcohol addiction (or alcohol use disorder) can be a progressive disease that develops over time to pose a significant risk to the individual’s physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Individuals suffering from alcohol addiction may be unable to control their drinking, continuing to drink even when their alcohol use leads to problems or negative consequences at home or at work. When untreated, alcohol addiction can result in chronic, long-lasting or potentially fatal health or lifestyle complications.

If you’re uncertain whether you’re in a healthy relationship with alcohol, learning about alcohol use addiction can be a powerful step in prioritising your health and control over a healthy, rewarding future. 

 

Symptoms of alcohol addiction

The symptoms of alcohol addiction can range from small, with individuals able to hide its impact from their close friends and family, to catastrophic, resulting in devastation across personal and professional areas.

Common symptoms of alcohol addiction include:

  • A strong urge to drink
  • Problems controlling the amount of alcohol consumed or drinking more than intended, including an inability to quit or reduce alcohol consumption even when the individual attempts to do so
  • Continued consumption of alcohol despite negative consequences or complications associated with drinking
  • Anxiety, depression or irritability when not drinking
  • Challenges to focus and decision-making as a result of ‘brain fog’ when not drinking
  • Withdrawal symptoms when unable to drink, including tremors, seizures, headaches, nausea, irritability and anxiety
  • An increasingly high tolerance for alcohol, with the need to consume more and more to feel the same sense of drunkenness or experience the relief alcohol may temporarily offer
  • Neglectful behaviour around personal or professional responsibilities 
  • Disengagement from previously enjoyable activities
  • Drinking even when it results in physical or psychological harm to self or others
  • Blackouts or memory loss associated with periods of heavy drinking
  • Legal or financial trouble as a result of alcohol addiction 
 

If you recognise any of these symptoms in your own relationship to alcohol, help is available to you. Specialised treatment and rehabilitation experiences can provide opportunities for healing and long-term transformation. 

 

Prevalence and impact of alcohol addiction

The prevalence of alcoholism is much more widespread than you may first assume. Alcohol addiction can affect people from all walks of life, including high-functioning over-performers who keep their addiction a secret from friends, family and colleagues. No matter your background, if alcohol addiction impacts you, it’s important to know you’re not alone. 

Over time, ongoing alcohol addiction can have serious negative impacts on an affected individual’s life, as well as the potential to impact their friends and family members negatively. A wide range of physical and mental health issues, including liver disease, depression, anxiety and the consequences of reckless, alcohol-fuelled behaviours, can wreak havoc on the everyday life of the addicted individual. Alcohol addiction can also cause significant financial instability due to disruptions in personal capacities and straining personal relationships through the toll the addiction takes. 

Alongside the impact on the affected individual and their social community, alcohol addiction has a widespread impact on society. Increased healthcare costs, lost productivity, and higher rates of accidents and criminal behaviour can cause the impacts of alcohol addiction to ripple far beyond the bounds of the individual’s experience. 

By understanding the causes of alcohol addiction and the pathways towards holistic alcoholism treatment and recovery, we can work to reduce the prevalence and impact on individuals, families and our larger society.

 

The causes of alcohol addiction

No two individuals suffering from alcohol addiction will share the same experience. The causes of alcohol addiction are complex, with a wide range of genetic, environmental, psychological and social factors contributing to the risks of alcohol addiction developing. 

Potential causes of alcohol addiction can include:

  • Genetics and family history
  • Environmental factors, including societal norms, peer pressure around drinking behaviours and responses to stressful or traumatic life events
  • Mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety and PTSD
  • Neurochemical imbalances in the brain causing disruption in pleasure and reward centres
  • A previous experience with substance abuse or addiction
  • Early use of alcohol and frequency of alcohol use, with early and frequent use increasing the risk of addiction
  • Physical factors that may motivate an individual to attempt to self-medicate with alcohol
  • Individual tolerance levels
 

These causes point to a reality that many forget when looking at the symptoms of alcohol addiction: the addiction itself likely points to a root cause. Without effective and care-filled treatment for this root cause, alcohol addiction symptoms can only be managed, not resolved. 

This understanding is integral to how Hope In Health supports each of our clients through their individual rehabilitation journey, treating the root, not the symptom, to promote long-term healing and recovery.

 

Treatments

As with many mental health and substance use disorders, effective alcoholism treatment requires a holistic approach to the whole human.

Treatment for alcohol addiction will generally involve a combination of strategic therapies that treat the physical, mental and emotional effects of this addiction. Treatments may include:

  • Alcohol detoxification – as the first step in any rehabilitation program, alcohol detoxification supports the individual in removing alcohol and other substances from the body. While this can occur in various settings, undergoing a detoxification process within a residential facility can dramatically impact its success.
  • Psychotherapy – including individual and/or group therapy that can address issues such as triggers for drinking, coping strategies and building a support system 
  • Vitamins – these can be suitable for managing cravings or withdrawal symptoms and aiding in overall recovery
  • Support groups – including the provision of peer support and a structured recovery program
  • Complementary therapies – depending on the needs and circumstances of the individual, complementary therapies can play a key role in building ongoing coping strategies and supporting long-term sobriety
 

Start your journey to sobriety

At Hope In Health, we understand that individual experiences require individual treatment. That’s why our treatments take place within an integrated, holistic approach to rehabilitation, supporting each of our clients’ physical, mental and emotional needs as they work towards their individual goals.

We offer the highest quality of clinical care within a collaborative, multi-disciplinary environment. You’ll never find a one-size-fits-all approach to an alcohol addiction rehabilitation program here – instead, we’ll work with you from our initial consultation in order to develop a program that’s strategically shaped around your individual needs, circumstances and recovery vision.

Find warm, welcoming support within our evidence-based treatments at Hope In Health. No matter where you are in your alcohol rehabilitation journey, we’re here to walk with you into a brighter and healed future.

CONTACT US TODAY

Looking to learn more about our alcohol addiction or detoxification treatment pathways? Contact our expert team today and take the first step in your journey towards alcohol rehabilitation in Australia.

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