Alcohol is so commonplace in today’s society, it can be difficult to differentiate between moderate drinking to heavy use. It can be even more difficult to realize you or someone you love has progressed from a social drinker to an alcoholic. But as of 2019, nearly 15 million people in the United States ages 12 and older were living with an alcohol use disorder. Of these individuals, only about 7% will have sought treatment.

What Are the Key Signs of an Alcoholic?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) is the resource professionals utilize to assess an alcohol use disorder. The criteria are used to not only determine the presence, but also the severity of a disorder.

Have you (or your loved one) experienced any of these situations in the past year:

  • Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer, than you intended?
  • More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
  • Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over other aftereffects?
  • Wanted a drink so badly you couldn’t think of anything else?
  • Found that drinking—or being sick from drinking—often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
  • Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
  • Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
  • More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unprotected sex)?
  • Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
  • Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
  • Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, restlessness, nausea, sweating, a racing heart, or a seizure? Or sensed things that were not there?

The presence of at least 2 symptoms indicates alcohol use disorder. The severity is then indicated by the number of symptoms: mild is 2-3; moderate is 4-5; severe is 6 or more.

A Word About High Functioning Alcoholics

High Functioning Alcoholics (HFA) have the same disease as “regular” alcoholics but their symptoms present or progress differently.

Some experts estimate that HFAs account for 75-90% of alcoholics. These individuals often go unnoticed because they don’t fit the stereotypical mold of an alcoholic. They are successful in school or their careers; they maintain good relationships with friends and colleagues; they’re involved in their family life.

Because of their ability to maintain their life, the high functioning alcoholic is more likely to be in denial about their alcoholism. They often use alcohol as a reward or justify their drinking as a form of stress relief. But much like regular alcoholics, one drink often sets off cravings, and intoxication results in personality and mood changes.

Why is a Detox Program Essential?

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms will vary from one individual to another, but the physical and mental discomfort can be difficult to handle and is the primary reason for relapse. More serious side effects such as hallucinations, seizures, status epilepticus, and delirium tremens (DT) can even result in death. This is why a detox center in Florida is imperative for safe and effective treatment.

Detox centers such as St. Johns Recovery Place in Crescent City, FL employ professional medical staff to treat and care for individuals as they progress through the withdrawal phase of recovery. Going “cold turkey” can result in tragedy. Round-the-clock care means that we can mitigate situations before they become emergencies.

Treatment for AUD

Alcoholism treatment can be on an inpatient or outpatient basis and often depends on the severity of the addiction as well as the individual’s life circumstances.

If you have family or work obligations and your addiction is milder, outpatient treatment is likely a great fit for you. On the other hand, if you’re dealing with a more moderate to severe addiction, or if your home life would make abstaining from alcohol too difficult, then inpatient rehab will be the better choice.

After an initial assessment, treatment begins with detox. Attending a detox center in Florida usually means you’ll have access to medical detox and medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Deciding to go to rehab can leave an individual feeling ashamed and vulnerable. Utilizing medication to lessen the side effects of withdrawal is one such way that we at SJRP allow our clients to stay in control of their treatment and feel more empowered.

Once your body has detoxified and gotten rid of all or most of the alcohol in your system, you’ll begin your therapy regimen. In both inpatient and outpatient settings, you’ll be engaging in a mix of individual behavioral therapies as well as mutual support groups. The length of treatment will depend on several factors, though most programs tend to last 28-30 days.

Upon completion of your rehab program, you’ll want to participate in aftercare treatment. This will be a continuation of individual therapy and support groups to help maintain your sobriety. As time passes, most individuals will need these services less often. Alcohol use disorder is a chronic disease, meaning it can’t be fully cured and always has a chance of relapse. However, with effective treatment and proper maintenance, an individual absolutely can live a sober life.

St. Johns Recovery Place – A Rehab and Detox Center in Florida

If you’ve noticed alcohol becoming too present in your life you may be wondering, am I an alcoholic? Or maybe it’s not about you, but you’re worried that you’re living with an alcoholic.

Our detox center in Florida ensures a comfortable and caring atmosphere that fosters the motivation to complete your rehab treatment and provides for a pathway to lifelong recovery. If you’re ready, or even if you’re not, give us a call at 833-397-3422 to find out more information on how we can help you start living the sober life you deserve.