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Alcoholism vs. Alcohol Addiction at Wyoming Recovery

While you may hear the terms alcoholism and alcohol addiction used interchangeably, they aren’t exactly the same thing. As an experienced alcohol addiction treatment center, Wyoming Recovery is here to help you distinguish the main differences between alcoholism and alcohol addiction. Our alcohol rehab facilities provide personalized treatment plans to help patients overcome alcohol addiction and achieve sobriety. Read on for more information concerning alcoholism and alcohol addiction. Feel free to contact us to request additional details regarding our alcohol addiction treatment in Wyoming.

What Is Alcohol Addiction? When Would You Need Treatment?

A person is said to have an alcohol addiction when they’ve established a regular drinking pattern that’s harmful to their health, relationships with others, and day-to-day functionality. Continued drinking may result in the person missing work or school obligations or driving under the influence, creating legal woes and strains on their interactions with those around them. Although an alcohol addiction may not disrupt an individual’s life to the degree of alcoholism, it can turn into alcoholism over time. However, a person with an alcohol addiction may be able to learn from their mistakes and amend their behavior to reduce the cumulative damages to their mind, body, and spirit. There are many alcohol rehab centers such as Wyoming Recovery that are committed to helping individuals overcome their alcohol addiction one step at a time. It’s never too early or too late to seek alcohol addiction treatment. The first step is admitting you have a problem and understanding you need help.

What Are the Most Common Signs of an Alcohol Addiction?

In a culture in which drinking socially is considered widely acceptable, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to recognize the difference between being a casual drinker and being someone with an alcohol addiction. It can be a slippery slope. How often you consume alcohol and your ability (or lack thereof) to control your actions when drinking can be indicators that something is amiss. Do you drink too much, too often? A person with an alcohol addiction may drink past the point of control several times a week, affecting their health and ability to handle responsibilities. Common signs pointing to alcohol addiction include:

  • The need to drink alcohol to relax or ease tension regularly
  • Social isolation from friends or family (opting to drink alone)
  • Covering up your frequency or amount of alcohol use from others
  • Increased hangovers and temporary blackouts from drinking
  • Shirking obligations in favor of drinking
  • Decreased work or school performance

What Is the Definition of Alcoholism? Can It Be Treated?

The primary difference between alcohol addiction and alcoholism is that the latter is considered a chronic disease. Whether caused by genetic or environmental factors, alcoholism is detrimental to a person’s mental and physical well-being. Often, an alcoholic has a chemical brain dependency on alcohol that makes it more challenging to overcome their alcohol addiction through mere willpower. Alcoholism is a disease that affects a person throughout their lifetime, although it is possible to seek treatment and achieve sobriety with help. Many recovering alcoholics find solace in 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) that incorporate group therapy and encourage a vast support network.

What Are the Most Recognizable Signs of Alcoholism?

Are you a compulsive drinker, no matter the consequences? Alcoholism is also referred to as alcohol use disorder (AUD). AUD may range from mild to moderate and severe. It’s estimated there are over 16 million Americans with AUD with varying degrees of symptoms. It’s also estimated that nearly 90,000 Americans die due to alcohol-related complications every year. With so much at stake, the need to recognize the symptoms in yourself or a loved one is of the utmost importance. The most common signs of alcoholism include:

  • Experiencing intense cravings for alcohol (physical or psychological)
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not consuming alcohol, including:
    • Headaches
    • Tremors
    • Seizures
    • Insomnia
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Hallucinations
    • Fever
    • Fatigue
    • Nausea
    • Mood swings
  • An increased tolerance for alcohol causing you to drink more than intended
  • Engaging in heavy or binge drinking frequently
  • More likelihood to drink in high-risk situations, such as when you have to drive
  • Continuing to drink despite being able to see the consequences of actions (rationalization)
  • Increased social isolation from friends and family and giving up other interests
  • Allowing alcohol to interfere with responsibilities and relationships with others
  • A desire to stop drinking but being unable to do so through willpower alone

What Risk Factors Increase Likelihood of Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a chronic disease that is under constant scrutiny and debate. While we know more about it than ever before, thanks to ongoing medical and behavioral research, there is still so much to be learned. Many experts agree the following factors may increase an individual’s risk for alcoholism (though not everyone with these increased risk factors will become an alcoholic):

  • Having a parent or another close relative with alcoholism
  • Having a mental health disorder, such as depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia
  • Having low self-esteem or experiencing high levels of stress regularly
  • Growing up in an environment that promotes drinking or fosters peer pressure

How Much Is Too Much? Alarming Statistics from the CDC

Although society sometimes feels a bit desensitized to the consequences caused by overindulging in alcohol, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released some alarming statistics over the years. Binge and heavy drinking seem to be on the rise, especially among young adults. Binge drinking is defined as being five or more drinks in a single use for men and four or more drinks in a single use for women. Heavy drinking is defined as being 15 drinks or more in a single use for men and eight drinks or more in a single use for women. Binge drinking is often the gateway to alcohol addiction and alcoholism, though it should be noted that not everyone who drinks in excess will go on to develop a problem with alcohol use.

What Are Consequences of Untreated Alcohol Addiction?

Diagnosing alcohol addiction usually requires answering a questionnaire from your doctor regarding your alcohol use as truthfully as possible. Additional diagnostics may be ordered to assess the damages to your health. Alcohol addiction has numerous severe consequences to a person’s physical, mental, and social well-being if left untreated, including:

  • Short-term and long-term health risks, including:
    • Injuries from falls, burns, or motor vehicle accidents
    • Alcohol poisoning (dangerously high blood alcohol levels)
    • Increased risks for mental health issues, including depression
    • Increased risks for high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, strokes, and cancers
    • Increased risky sexual behavior resulting in sexually transmitted diseases
    • Increased risks for violent domestic disputes, homicides, and suicides
    • Miscarriages or stillbirths if drinking while pregnant
    • More likely to develop alcoholism
  • Legal woes from arrests and DUI (drinking under the influence) charges
  • Child welfare concerns if you neglect small children while drinking

Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Alcohol Consumption

Not sure if you have an alcohol addiction? Check out our resources section for self-assessments and frequently asked questions about addiction. Here are a few key questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you drink more often than you intend or make excuses to drink?
  • Have you noticed an increased tolerance for alcohol?
  • Do you drink despite negative mental or physical side effects?
  • Have you experienced withdrawal symptoms from not drinking?
  • Do you often neglect your hygiene or nutrition when drinking?
  • Have you experienced any legal issues from drinking?
  • Do you frequently miss work or school because of drinking?
  • Have you ever blacked out or experienced memory loss while drinking?
  • Do you get defensive or angry when others bring up your drinking habits?
  • Have you tried unsuccessfully to stop drinking alcohol?

How Our Alcohol Rehab Programs Work at Wyoming Recovery

If you think of recovery from alcohol addiction as a journey, then it’s easier to understand that there will be several stops along the way. Wyoming Recovery takes a multifaceted approach to alcohol addiction treatment. The first phase of recovery is called detoxification. Once all of the alcohol has been purged from your system during detox, we may recommend checking into our inpatient alcohol rehab facilities. You’ll have 24-hour access to medical and clinical care, including individual and group therapy and other non-habit-forming treatments for withdrawal symptoms. From there, we may recommend outpatient alcohol rehab programs for ongoing treatment and maintenance. The most vital thing to remember about rehab for alcohol addiction is that you are not alone. Wyoming Recovery has dedicated professionals who are experienced with those seeking alcohol addiction treatment.

Contact Our Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center in Wyoming

If you suspect you or a loved one may be struggling with alcoholism or alcohol addiction, you should seek help immediately. Wyoming Recovery is an alcohol addiction treatment center in Casper, Wyoming affiliated with the Wyoming Medical Center. Please contact us today for more information about an assessment with our compassionate team. We look forward to helping our patients achieve sobriety!