Alcohol is the most popular addictive substance on the planet, and addiction to it is accordingly quite common.

The terms alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction are sometimes used somewhat interchangeably although there are small differences between the two. Alcohol abuse refers to generally excessive and heavy drinking which, when it becomes habitual, can often evolve into a dependency. Dependency, understood as involving a mental reliance on the substance in question, can easily turn into an addiction, where the body actually needs alcohol in order to function normally and not drinking can result in withdrawal symptoms.

About Alcohol Addiction

Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

It is not always easy to spot the signs of alcohol addiction, either in yourself or in someone you live with or are close to. Many people who have an addiction can still live normal lives and be what is known as a functioning alcoholic, holding down a steady job and seemingly being in control of their lives. The signs of alcoholism can be subtle but if you are spending time with someone there are certain things that you might notice regarding changes in their physical and mental wellbeing.

If some of the following apply to you or someone close to you, there is a chance that the person in question is suffering from alcohol addiction:

  • Worrying and constantly thinking about where your next drink is coming from, and re-arranging and altering plans based around where you will be able to get your next drink
  • Finding it difficult to get through the day without having a drink, and finding it difficult to stop drinking once you’ve started
  • Drinking in the morning soon after you have woken up or feeling like you would like to
  • When you don’t drink for a few days you start to suffer from withdrawal symptoms, these could be shaking, sweating, or feeling faint
  • Building up a bigger tolerance to alcohol, realising you need to drink larger amount and more often on order to achieve the desired affect
  • Finding yourself irritable or angry more often especially if you stop drinking
  • Experiencing problems with sleeping, waking up in the middle of the night or finding yourself unable to get to sleep without a drink
  • Weight gain, redness in the face, and blood vessels beginning to appear on the skin

What causes alcohol addiction?

There are several different factors that could lead to the onset or continuation of alcohol addiction or dependency. Many of the factors that can contribute to alcohol abuse are related to people’s environment, such the ready availability of alcohol and its frequent consumption within a household. Biological factors can also play their part – some people are more susceptible than others to addiction.

Previously experienced trauma can be another big reason why people become addicted to, or dependent on, alcohol. Alcohol as a depressant helps to dull the senses as well as the emotions that you are feeling. Many people who struggle to deal with difficult experiences can turn to drinking in order to suppress negative emotions.

Alcohol Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms result when you stop drinking after you’ve become physically addicted to alcohol and your body becomes dependent on it to function normally.

Once you stop drinking, sometimes even for a few days, you can experience symptoms which come about as your body tries to continue operating while missing something that it has become very used to. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can range from the mild to the severe and in the most extreme of cases can be life threatening. If you start to get withdrawal symptoms during a period of alcohol detox, then it is a clear indicator that you are addicted to alcohol and may require medical intervention, or at least some professional care.

What causes alcohol withdrawal symptoms?

When you drink heavily over a sustained period your body becomes reliant on the alcohol to operate. One of the key effects it has is supressing the fight or flight function in our brain which is how we respond to danger and assess whether we should either confront or flee from a dangerous situation. When you drink consistently it affects the chemical balance in your brain, which means that you can go straight into the fight or flight mode once the alcohol wears off when there is no immediate danger present.

Alcohol abuse also alters dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that acts as the body’s reward system and regulates things like enjoyment, energy and motivation. When you drink, it releases dopamine, which creates a happy feeling. However, as the body begins to develop a higher tolerance, the brain starts to depend more on dopamine to feel food and when you stop drinking the dopamine output is halted abruptly which can lead to both physical and mental symptoms.

What are the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal?

As previously mentioned, there are both mental and physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. The severity of these will be dependent on a series of factors such as how heavily the person in question was drinking, and how long it has been since they last had a drink. Physiological factors will also come into play, such as body size. Symptoms will generally manifest themselves around two or three days after the person’s last drink and will be most severe for the 48 hours after symptoms first start.

Common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal:

  • Feel agitated, nervous, restless and anxious
  • Inability to think properly and difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling nauseous, vomiting as well as uncontrollable sweating and severe headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping both waking up and falling asleep
  • The shakes- can be slight hand tremors or whole body shaking
  • In some of the more serious cases of long-term dependency people can fall victim to visual and audio hallucinations as well as seizures

Overcoming alcohol withdrawal

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of withdrawal you will need a medically monitored detox. Withdrawing from alcohol without medical care can results in seizures which can be fatal.

It is not advisable to stop drinking suddenly without any specialist care.

At Moving Forward you will be assessed by our specialist Doctor who will prescribe medication that will prevent seizures and reduce the unpleasantness of withdrawal symptoms.

A sudden detox from alcohol can cause severe damage to your health unless medically monitored by specialists. Your safety and wellbeing are paramount and we will ensure that your withdrawal from alcohol is as comfortable and stress free as possible.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

It is very important to seek medical assistance when trying to overcome alcohol addiction. Medical intervention can help an individual stop drinking, and it can also mitigate any damage caused by severe withdrawal symptoms.

Here at Moving Forward we offer a wide range of different treatment programs designed to help you get well again, no matter what stage of your journey you’re at. With qualified nurses and specialists available available 24/7, help is on hand whenever you need it.

We offer a completely free alcohol addiction assessment, which can allow you to gain a deeper understanding of yourself and help you work out what would be the next best steps. This free initial assessment allows our specialist team to formulate a bespoke care plan specifically tailored to your individual needs. This can be done over the phone or in person.

Alcohol detox

Our alcohol detox program is designed to ease your body through the transitional period as it becomes used to living without alcohol. During this time, you will receive specialist treatment to help get you through withdrawal and, if necessary, you will be prescribed medication to help abate any serious symptoms. We provide an intensive treatment program with one to one counselling and thepahy sessions to enable you to understand the causes and nature of your addition.

You will have access not only to one on one therapy to understand the root cause of your condition, We also group therapy to give you exposure to others undergoing similar journeys with whom you can share and learn.

Intervention

Sometimes one the most important and useful ways to help someone with an alcohol addiction to prevent it before it becomes a serious problem. We offer a specialist service where we can either explain our process and how we can help on the phone or arrange to come in person to meet with your loved one, with or without friends and family present. These interventions are conducted by qualified experts who are trained to make sure that the entire process runs as smoothly as possible and prevent any unnecessary stress to the person in question and their loved ones

Intervention

Sometimes one the most important and useful ways to help someone with an alcohol addiction to prevent it before it becomes a serious problem. We offer a specialist service where we can either explain our process and how we can help on the phone or arrange to come in person to meet with your loved one, with or without friends and family present. These interventions are conducted by qualified experts who are trained to make sure that the entire process runs as smoothly as possible and prevent any unnecessary stress to the person in question and their loved ones

Therapy

One of the best ways to understand the underlying causes of a person’s alcohol addiction, and help address them, is through both one-to-one and group therapy sessions. We offer a range of different forms of therapeutic programs, and will help you work out which might work best for you, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
  • Life-coaching
  • 12 step approach
  • Stress Inoculation
  • Specific 1:1 counselling specialised to your needs
  • Dialectic Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

We also offer therapy to help you get back on your feet once you have finished your time with us. This includes employment and relationship counselling, and family counselling sessions that will help ensure that your transition back into day to day life is as seamless as possible. We believe addiction affects everyone in the family and we are proud of our family intervention/counselling program.

NADH Therapy

NADH (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) is a chemical found in a body and is a key part in the chemical process that generates energy production. NADH therapy has been shown to help reduce fatigue and increased cognitive ability as well as promoting the detoxification process for those battling with alcohol addiction. NADH is relatively new but has been seen to assist those battling with addiction and is now being adopted by numerous institutions across the U.S.

This is an option that will be discussed with you when you have your free initial assessment.

Holistic Care

We place great importance on taking a holistic approach to our patients and while therapeutic and medicinal approaches are of course important we believe that taking care of one’s body in the simple ways can make the road to recovery more manageable. One of our key focuses is on nutrition and wellbeing, as those who have an addiction to alcohol can easily not get themselves the right nutrient intake, and getting the right food served up by our resident cook can do a world of good.

We also offer activities such as yoga, mindfulness, meditation and nature walks within our 13 acres of land to help with the mental healing process.

We also provide ‘sober situations’ whereby clients go out for meals, coffee and shopping thus making the transition from rehab to the outside world less stressful. Other past activities have included bowling, cinema, go karting etc and every fortnight we have an optional adventure activity to increase confidence and self esteem

Facilities

We have a wide range of facilities available to make sure that there is plenty to do during your stay here and to encourage a new way of living .

This includes:

  • a heated outdoor swimming pool,
  • a fully equipped gym, with exercise classes and a personal trainer,
  • free wi-fi, and computers so you can keep in contact with your loved ones,
  • sports/team games such as football and badminton and chess club with regular tournaments.

When you leave us our aim is also to improve your physical fitness so you stronger and healthier.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does heavy drinking mean you’re addicted to alcohol?

    Not necessarily. Generally speaking if you drink consistently and heavily over a long period of time then you are likely develop a dependency, but you can drink a lot without becoming addicted or dependent.

  • Do alcoholics have addictive personalities?

    While it is true that those who have ‘addictive personalities’ are more likely to develop an addiction, you can still become an alcoholic if you have not developed any addictions previously.

  • How can I stop drinking?

    This depends completely on the person as some people with develop a dependency faster than others and when that happens you are at a risk of suffering from withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking.

  • Can you die from alcohol withdrawal?

    Some people who could be described as moderate drinkers may be able to kick the habit by going cold turkey, but this can be very uncomfortable and still carries some medical  risks. It is essential that those with long term habits seek medical help and assistance with their recovery. A residential rehabilitation centre should be the primary option for those who are alcohol dependent.

  • How long do alcohol withdrawal symptoms last for?

    Some people who could be described as moderate drinkers may be able to kick the habit by going cold turkey, but this can be very uncomfortable and still carries some medical  risks. It is essential that those with long term habits seek medical help and assistance with their recovery. A residential rehabilitation centre should be the primary option for those who are alcohol dependent.

  • How long do you need to be drinking for to get withdrawal symptoms?

    Some people who could be described as moderate drinkers may be able to kick the habit by going cold turkey, but this can be very uncomfortable and still carries some medical  risks. It is essential that those with long term habits seek medical help and assistance with their recovery. A residential rehabilitation centre should be the primary option for those who are alcohol dependent.