Alcohol has many effects on an individual, with profound consequences if an individual does not moderate the frequency or amount of alcohol ingested. However, there are many long-term effects of alcohol use in addition to its short-term dangers. Those overcoming alcohol use disorder (AUD) may experience a number of challenges related to their use of the addictive substance. Understanding the effects of AUD is paramount, not only for creating a comprehensive recovery plan but also for loved ones to understand the challenges of the healing journey ahead for the most effective communication and support during this transformation.
Understanding the Effects of AUD as a Disease
Addiction is devastating to entire families, with alcohol being a common addictive substance used. It can be difficult for families to understand the disease while also having such an emotional connection with a loved one with AUD. However, understanding AUD as a disease is paramount for creating a healthy approach to healing as a family.
First, addiction is not a kind of moral failing of any kind, nor is it the product of ill wishes. Many of those who engage with addictive substances do not do so out of malice or with the intent to harm another, despite any prevalent feelings. While feelings of resentment are common among families with at least one member overcoming AUD, it is important to understand that a loved one does not continue to engage with the substance with malintent. A loved one themselves may still feel great regret, shame, and more while engaging with the substance, and may even feel compelled to continue using alcohol against their own wishes or better judgment.
Rather than holding on to blame, resentment, and other feelings that may hinder the healing process, approaching AUD as a disease that needs to be overcome together is necessary to begin the journey to familial healing.
Persistent use of alcohol can hijack the brain’s own normal processes and functions, and many of those overcoming addiction may feel that the use of drugs or alcohol is as necessary to their life or emotional state as much as eating or drinking, and may sacrifice other areas of their lives in order to fulfill these basic survival needs. Working together to change this idea and address the physical and chemical effects of alcohol use is paramount.
Recognizing the Signs of AUD
AUD can manifest in various ways, and may not affect each individual in exactly the same manner. Knowing the signs of AUD is necessary in order to know when to pursue the proper treatment. Being cognizant of the various signs of AUD is necessary for the most proactive approach to recovery and sobriety.
Some of the possible signs or symptoms of AUD include:
- Feeling the need to engage with alcohol multiple times a week
- Being unable to stop drinking once beginning, even if an individual does not drink often
- Increased feelings of anxiety, depression, or mood swings if unable to engage with alcohol
- Other withdrawal symptoms
- Creating daily routines around the availability of alcohol
- Difficulty managing other responsibilities or obligations, such as at-home responsibilities or professional tasks
- Continuing to engage with alcohol, even after experiencing negative consequences
- Engaging with alcohol at inappropriate times, such as gatherings where alcohol is not otherwise offered
- Increase in risk-taking behavior
- Feelings of shame or guilt following the use of alcohol, but continuing to use it anyway
- The use of alcohol to cope with anxiety or depression, even if the use of alcohol is causing such emotions
- Feeling the need to use more alcohol to achieve similar intended effects as before
It is not necessary for all of these signs to be present for an individual to benefit from professional help for overcoming their use of alcohol. Rather, talking to a loved one and dedicated treatment facilities can be necessary when observing only some signs.
Each of these effects of AUD can fundamentally affect a person’s personal and professional life in equal measure. Missing work to engage with alcohol or as a result of a hangover is common, just as much as changing relationships and emotional states. AUD is a devastating disease that can continue to develop until professionally addressed. Overcoming its effects is incredibly difficult on one’s own. Professional treatment and communities, such as those available at Redpoint, are instrumental in addressing the use of alcohol and its impact on each person’s life as a whole.
Finding Treatment for Overcoming the Effects of AUD
AUD is incredibly complex, with many emotions, physical needs, emotional needs, and more. Overcoming the effects of AUD takes professional and comprehensive support. From education and personalized outpatient care to creating new life routines, skills, and strategies to cope with the emotional and familial impact of AUD, Redpoint takes a unique and comprehensive approach to a sober life. Identifying the signs of AUD is just the first step in a long recovery journey, but a community of peers and an array of trained staff are available to help individuals and families heal from its effects for a healthier, happier life.
Alcohol can be wholly detrimental when its use begins to usurp and replace other needs and responsibilities, and overcoming AUD can be incredibly complex. At Redpoint, we understand the difficulties and stresses inherent in the recovery process and are prepared to help you take your recovery and sobriety into your own hands. We combine professional support and effective, supportive communities in our dedicated outpatient programs, allowing you to pursue a healthy sobriety while managing your life outside of the facility. With multiple locations and programs across Colorado, we are committed to helping you find your best approach to a healthy future. For more information on how we can help you, call to speak to us today at (303) 710-8496.