The first step in recovery is deciding if you have a problem. This can be difficult, because your addicted-self will try hard to convince you that you don't have a problem. This is where a trained professional can gently help. They can keep you from tricking yourself and prevent you from slipping back into denial. They are trained to look for signs of trouble.
Upon exiting treatment, a patient may be prescribed a drug like disulfiram, which prevents the body from chemically processing alcohol, causing an unpleasant reaction if the patient relapses or attempts to relapse. Because of disulfiram’s toxicity, it has to be taken under the supervision of a doctor, as unregulated usage can cause strong, even fatal reactions.
We understand that withdrawal is uncomfortable. We also realise that the unpleasantness of withdrawal is that which persuades a lot of alcohol addicts to forgo treatment. The staff at our treatment facilities do their best to make patients as comfortable as possible and to help them through the difficult moments of withdrawal. The good news is that withdrawal is only temporary. It will eventually pass if you are willing to let it run its course.
Drug addiction is a disease of the body and brain. Also called substance use disorder, drug addiction triggers uncontrollable behaviors and renders a person unable to control their use of medication, alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs—whether they are legal or not. Addictive substances such as nicotine, alcohol, opioid medications, and marijuana are considered drugs just as much as heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine. Once you are addicted to a substance, you will feel compelled to use it, regardless of the damage that use does to your body, your brain, and your life.
What happens in the brain during alcohol withdrawal? GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is the main calming neurotransmitter of the brain. GABA and adrenaline are supposed to be in balance during normal brain functioning. Frequent drinking causes the brain to produce less GABA, because the brain begins to rely on alcohol for part of its calming. So, frequent drinking causes your brain chemistry to be out of balance with an excess of adrenaline. When you suddenly stop drinking, your brain doesn’t have enough GABA neurotransmitter to balance the excess of adrenaline, which causes withdrawal symptoms.
As alcohol abuse progresses from dependency to addiction, your need for alcohol will become increasingly overwhelming. You may start to spend more and more of your time drinking or thinking about drinking, leaving little time for anyone or anything else. This can affect your ability to take care of responsibilities at home and work, and can have a negative impact on your relationships with family members, friends, and work colleagues.
Theresa Soltesz graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Addiction Science and Addiction Counseling from Minnesota State University in 2010. Upon completion of her degree and clinical internship, Theresa began her career as an Addiction Counselor in 2010. Theresa is currently certified as a Certified Addiction Professional (CAP) by The Florida Certification Board, a Certified International Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ICADC) by The International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) since 2013. Theresa is also a Certified Professional Life Coach and is currently awaiting an additional certification as a Certified Behavioral Health Case Manager (CBHCM) by The Florida Certification Board.Theresa has worked as a Primary Addiction Counselor in various treatment centers for addiction and co-occurring disorders in Florida, Minnesota, and Colorado in various settings, including detox, residential, PHP, IOP and OP. Eager to learn, She has also worked as an Addiction Counselor for various populations, such as adolescent and adult males and females, diverse ethnic populations, homeless individuals, individuals suffering from severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI), and the LGBTQ community. As a proud recovering addict herself, Theresa understands first-hand the struggles of addiction.
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Drug addiction recovery is a long-term process, and those who attempt to overcome their drug problems must be prepared for a challenging struggle. In the end, persistence and determination will make all the difference, and if people recovering from substance use disorders are strong enough to stay the course, a happy, healthy, drug-free future will be within their grasp.
For the average person who does not suffer from alcohol addiction, a drink every now and again is both normal and non-problematic. For the alcohol addict though, a single drink every few days is not enough. The addict’s body has become dependent on alcohol for daily functioning, while the mind is convinced that it is not possible to get through the day without drinking.