Do I have an alcohol problem - the signs, support and next steps
Having a psychological and physical dependency on alcohol can happen to anyone, no matter what your age, social group or financial status.
If you think that you have an alcohol problem which is affecting your work or personal life, or you know someone close to you that is struggling with alcohol addiction, read on to find out more about the signs of addiction as well as the support and treatment available at Priory.
Educating yourself on the recovery process and recognising that you need professional help and support are both important first steps on your road to sobriety.
Signs of alcohol addiction
The signs and symptoms of alcoholism become apparent when you increasingly rely on alcohol to help you cope with symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression, or simply as a means of escapism from problems encountered in your life.
Further signs that you or someone you care may be addicted to alcohol include:
- Prioritising drinking alcohol over spending time with family or friends
- Developing a tolerance to alcohol so you need to drink more to achieve the same effects
- Falling into a pattern of drinking heavily after trying to stay abstinent
- Finding it hard to manage how much alcohol you drink and when
How much alcohol is too much?
The recommended weekly intake of alcohol is 14 units. If you regularly drink much more than six pints of beer, seven 175ml glasses of wine or 14 25ml measures of spirits, you may have an alcohol problem or addiction.
Treatment and support for recovery
While it can sometimes feel as though overcoming an alcohol problem is impossible, receiving the right treatment and support can allow you to regain control of your life.
When you first visit your nearest Priory site for a free addiction assessment, you will embark on a recovery programme tailored to your specific needs and the severity of your addiction.
This can include alcohol rehabilitation involving self-help groups and therapy sessions, counselling for alcoholism and even medically assisted withdrawal detoxification to remove alcohol from your body within a safe environment.
The ultimate goal of addiction treatment will usually be to abstain, where we can help you give up alcohol completely. This process is completed in structured phases, which is similar to how organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) help people on their sobriety journey.
What happens after I have left treatment?
We recognise that recovery from alcohol addiction doesn’t end once you leave one of our treatment centres. This is why our personalised addiction treatment programmes offer 12 months of aftercare and family support, which helps ensure you don’t relapse back into old habits or visit places where you may be tempted to drink alcohol.
The coping techniques you will have learned that help you to manage your emotions and relationship with alcohol will help with your continued sobriety, while there are further ways you can help yourself abstain, including:
- Removing temptations to drink, ensuring your home and work areas are free from alcohol
- Seeking out positive influences by surrounding yourself with people who actively support your continued recovery
- Learning from your past through working out what has and hasn’t worked when you have tried to stop drinking before
- Finding new interests beyond alcohol and discovering a sense of purpose through volunteer work or a new hobby, which will see alcohol become less appealing as your self-belief grows
- Visiting support groups, as even if you have completed an addiction treatment programme, your chances of staying sober improve with outpatient treatment programmes such as those offered at Priory