Despite the widespread use of alcohol, it is by no means a safe substance, and one’s relationship with alcohol can have a myriad of negative impacts on their daily life. Alcohol addiction is a prevalent, dangerous disease, and coping with the effects of alcohol abuse or addiction involves many changes. However, the first step toward sobriety is the cessation of dangerous drinking habits and facing the withdrawal symptoms. While challenging, overcoming this crucial phase of recovery is paramount for a transformative, sober future.

The Different Forms of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse can take many forms, some more apparent than others. 

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking can present the most overt signs of alcohol addiction or alcohol use disorder (AUD) and involves ingesting a large quantity of alcohol in a short period of time, usually raising one’s blood alcohol content (BAC) to at least 0.08% within two hours. However, these metrics are not set in stone, and dangerous binge drinking can continue as long as an individual is dangerously and quickly consuming alcohol.

Heavy Alcohol Use

Heavy alcohol use is another form of alcohol abuse where an individual engages in unsafe levels of drinking multiple times per week. Where binge drinking may describe those who only drink on occasion but find it difficult to moderate or stop their drinking once they start, heavy alcohol use is a frequent engagement with these dangerous alcohol levels. An individual may even reengage with alcohol before their bodies have fully processed the alcohol already in the body.

High-Functioning Addiction

However, one doesn’t necessarily have to become completely intoxicated to suffer from AUD. High-functioning addiction is an equally dangerous form of addiction where an individual may never reach points of complete inebriation. Instead, they may constantly drink throughout the day, such as with breakfast, lunch, dinner, or any other time they can sneak in a drink. This relationship with alcohol is incredibly dangerous and can still deal heavy damage to one’s body and mind.

Identifying and Navigating Lampshading During Individual Therapy
Identifying and Navigating Lampshading During Individual Therapy

Lampshading draws attention to a topic without addressing its implications. In recovery, this can be a defensive technique. To learn more, call (866) 390-5070.

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Confronting Withdrawal

Regardless of how addiction manifests for each person, confronting one’s relationship with alcohol and pursuing sobriety means confronting withdrawal symptoms. There is nothing easy about overcoming withdrawal symptoms. However, with proper care and attention, it is possible to navigate this tumultuous time as one’s body and mind readjust to focus on a sober future. Just as the use of alcohol affects one’s body and brain chemistry, impacting one’s mental health, attitude, and much more, the sudden cessation of its use also begets a shift back toward a healthier mental and physical homeostasis.

No two individuals will experience physical, mental, or emotional withdrawal symptoms in the same way. Some of the possible symptoms of withdrawal include:  

  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shaking
  • Tremors
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Insomnia 
  • Nightmares
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Depression
  • “Clouded” thinking
  • Difficulty moderating thoughts
  • Headaches
  • Prevalence of fear/jumpiness
  • Confusion
  • Fever 
  • Hallucinations

These are the most common alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Each individual may experience their own unique symptoms or combination of symptoms depending on the extent of their use and their unique relationship with alcohol.

In cases of prolonged and heavy use, an individual may suffer from an extreme form of alcohol withdrawal known as delirium tremens. Delirium tremens (DT) is an intense form of withdrawal that carries severe symptoms and demands immediate medical attention. In addition to the aforementioned withdrawal symptoms, seizures, more intense hallucinations, and death are all possible.

There is no path to sobriety that sidesteps withdrawal, but having the right professional care and support can help each individual navigate this crucial time in detox and emerge with their sober focus still the top priority.

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Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse: What is the Difference?

Understanding the difference between alcoholism and alcohol abuse can be challenging. On the outside, they sometimes look like similar conditions but there are a few big differences that separate the two. Do you know which factors you should look for to tell them apart?

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Finding Professional Care

Overcoming withdrawal symptoms and addiction on one’s own is a dangerous and challenging effort. Even if support and family are doing everything they can, there is no real replacement for dedicated inpatient alcohol treatment. Even if one experiences short-term success in their self-detox efforts, such as going “cold-turkey,” these home efforts may not address the underlying emotional or environmental influences in one’s use of alcohol, and threats of relapse can be prevalent. Addressing the reasons and mentality around addiction is just as important as tackling the behavior itself and is essential for maintaining sobriety.

Dedicated detox facilities are invaluable throughout the beginning of one’s sober journey, both in tackling withdrawal symptoms and providing immediate medical care while setting an individual on the path towards sustained sobriety. Professional care can provide personalized supervision and a new, supportive environment to create new routines and establish fresh perspectives. 

Detox also guides an individual through healthy living practices while implementing any number of additional techniques. These techniques may include providing medication to mitigate some of the symptoms, establishing grounding techniques, or creating a community of peers that can introduce new therapies or interventions, promoting a truly transformed, sober lifestyle. 

Overcoming an addiction to alcohol is always possible, but professional care is necessary to cope with difficult withdrawal symptoms. For quality alcohol treatment centers in Hawaii, reach out to Hawaii Island Recovery. We are ready to help you take the first step toward a sober future today. We can help you take the first step through alcohol detox, guiding you through withdrawal symptoms and helping you establish a sober footing to build your new, alcohol-free lifestyle. Our comprehensive treatment options can all be personalized to your unique needs and goal while connecting you with like-minded peers and creating a culture of community and understanding. From detox in Hawaii to residential, partial hospitalization, and outpatient care, we are prepared to help you through your sober journey each step of the way. For more information on how we can help you, call Hawaii Island Recovery at (866) 390-5070.