Behavioral characteristics of an alcoholic

Understanding the Term Alcoholic

What is an alcoholic? An alcoholic is a term used to describe someone suffering from the medical diagnosis of an alcohol use disorder. AUD is one of the most common diagnoses when it comes to abuse of substances. Broken down into everyday language, alcohol use disorder is a chronic illness where someone can’t stop using alcohol, even when suffering negative consequences from it. 

Risk Factors for Alcohol Use Disorder

There are several risk factors for developing an alcohol use disorder. The most common risk factors are the age of first use, genetic factors, environmental and social situations, and mental health issues. 

Age of first use: The younger someone is when exposed to copious amounts of alcohol, increases their risk of developing an addiction. This is due to the brain and hormones still developing. The brain’s reward system gets re-wired to expect the presence of alcohol to feel happy and satisfied.

Genetic Factors: Family history of addiction plays a huge role in whether or not someone becomes addicted to a substance. There are specific genomes carried throughout families that make them more susceptible. If your father, grandmother, or cousin suffers from an addiction, the chances you could develop one too dramatically increase. 

Environmental and Social Factors: The places you live and spend time and the people surrounding you. If there are drugs or alcohol readily available, and people use them often, it is more likely you will use them as well. 

Mental Health Issues: Mental health plays a significant role in our coping and decision-making skills. Suppose you have poor or questionable mental health. In that case, you are susceptible to using drugs or alcohol to make yourself feel differently.  

Behavioral Characteristics of an Alcoholic

An alcoholic may show many behavioral characteristics. Some common behaviors include: Drinking in secret, lying about drinking, struggling to control alcohol intake, withdrawal symptoms, neglecting responsibilities, and continuing to drink even when the consequences are vast.

Drinking alone or in secret: People with alcoholism may try to hide their drinking habits from others and may drink alone to avoid detection.

Lying about or minimizing alcohol consumption: Downplaying or lying altogether about their drinking is a typical behavior found in alcoholics. 

Struggling to control alcohol intake: An alcohol use disorder may make someone have a hard time stopping once they start drinking or may struggle to limit their alcohol intake to a certain number of drinks. Uncontrolled drinking can be very dangerous and lead to addiction quickly.

Experiencing withdrawal symptoms: People with alcohol dependence may experience physical symptoms such as tremors or seizures when they stop drinking after heavy alcohol use.

Neglecting responsibilities: Whether at home, school, or work, people suffering from an alcohol issue may neglect their duties due to their drinking habits. 

Continuing to drink despite negative consequences: One of the most defining characteristics of an alcoholic is that they may continue to drink even when it is causing problems in their relationships or leading to negative consequences such as legal or financial issues.

It is important to note that not all people with alcoholism will show all of these behaviors. The presence of one or more of these behaviors does not necessarily mean that an individual has alcoholism. A diagnosis of an alcohol use disorder should be made by a qualified healthcare professional.

Are There Successful Treatments for Alcoholism?

Many evidence-based treatments for alcoholism are effective in helping people overcome their addiction and maintain long-term recovery. Some of these treatments include:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of therapy helps you identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors related to alcohol use.

Motivational enhancement therapy (MET): This approach focuses on helping you increase your motivation to change your alcohol use and adopt healthier behaviors.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): Several medications are effective in treating alcoholism, including naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram. These medications can help reduce cravings and prevent relapse.

Inpatient or outpatient treatment: Inpatient treatment for alcoholism involves living at a treatment facility for a period of time. In contrast, outpatient treatment allows you to receive treatment while living at home. Both types of treatment can provide a structured environment, professional support, and access to therapy and other treatments.

12-step programs: These programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, provide support, guidance, and accountability through a network of peers who are also in recovery. This is a step to take after a formal treatment program has been completed.

How Can Agape Treatment Center Help an Alcoholic?

Agape Treatment Center can help with alcohol addiction treatment and mental health diagnoses. We have many programs, such as partial hospitalization, medication-assisted treatment, dual diagnosis, intensive outpatient, and outpatient to fit whatever situation you may be in. 

Our admissions staff is highly trained in answering any questions and helping you prepare a plan of action to become a healthier version of yourself. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery journey, please get in touch with us today!

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