It can be difficult to recognize when casual drinking has crossed the line into abuse or addiction. It can be even harder to decide that it is time to do something about it. Knowing what addiction looks and feels like can be challenging for loved ones, let alone for the person who is addicted to alcohol. If people are aware of what the signs of alcoholism are, it can be easier to determine when it’s time to enter rehab in order to stop the cycle of addiction and work toward recovery from alcoholism.
Alcohol is a legal controlled substance that slows down the body’s vital functions when consumed in excess. Its many forms include beer, wine and liquor. Some of the physical effects of heavy alcohol consumption are slurred speech, loss of coordination and slowed reaction time. Psychological effects include inhibiting judgment and lowering a person’s ability to think rationally. Typically, drinking alcohol in moderation does not signify a problem. However, consuming more than four alcoholic beverages per day for men – or more than three per day for women – can indicate an alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Neurons communicate with each other by sending messages along axons and dendrites via electrical impulses. The axons turn these impulses into chemical signals, sending neurotransmitters across synapses. The receiving dendrite then converts neurotransmitters back into the right electrical signals, so we understand the message; for example, that bite of pie was delicious, I’ll take another one. These exchanges happen countless times in the brain, and they control mood, behavior, movement, and cognition.
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Insurance: Many types of insurance cover the cost of addiction treatment and rehab; in particular, the Affordable Care Act requires that insurance policies issued under the state health exchanges and through Medicaid programs under the ACA expansion must provide coverage for addiction treatment. It’s important to note that insurance coverage often still requires that the individual provide a co-insurance payment, and some require a deductible be paid before treatment will be free. Specific plans may have different coverage levels, so it’s a good idea to check the specific policy or talk to the insurance provider.
Substance abuse therapy: Used as a part of many inpatient and outpatient programs, therapy is one of the cornerstones of drug addiction treatment. Individual, group and family therapy help patients and their loved ones understand the nature and causes of addiction. Therapy teaches coping strategies and life skills needed to live a productive, sober life in the community. For individuals with a co-occurring mental illness, intensive psychotherapy can also address psychiatric symptoms and find the underlying issues that contribute to addiction. Inside Shalom House, Australia’s ‘strictest’ drug rehabilitation | Australian Story