This article may be helpful if you are:
• Curious that you or a loved one may be displaying alcoholic behaviour.
• Looking for a private treatment program for alcohol addiction or dependency
There are many signs that may indicate alcoholic behaviour, including excessive drinking, experiencing blackouts, problems at work, and neglecting responsibilities at home. People drink alcohol for many reasons, such as relaxing, socialising, coping with emotional or physical pain, or escaping difficult life circumstances. However, when individuals consume too much alcohol regularly, they may develop an alcohol addiction or dependency.
According to the Global Drug Survey (2021), Australians are getting drunk more frequently than any other nation. This data equated to Australians, on average, becoming inebriated an alarming 26.7 times per year (that’s more than twice per month). Furthermore, The Banyans Healthcare Group report that 69% of all addiction-related enquiries to their service present with alcohol concerns. In Australia, drinking alcohol is deeply embedded socially and culturally, and is therefore unsurprising to see the nation’s rise to the top as the biggest drinkers in the world.
“While Australia has long held the title of biggest drinking nation in the world, we’ve seen presentations for alcohol addiction skyrocket since the pandemic. We saw people drawn to alcohol even more, to cope with the stress, isolation and boredom that was upon us, and sadly many of us have fallen down the slippery slope of alcohol addiction, ” explains The Banyans Senior Psychologist, Peter Hayton. This has been further demonstrated by the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, stating that in 2021 alcohol-induced deaths were the highest in ten years.
“While Australia has long held the title of biggest drinking nation in the world, we’ve seen presentations for alcohol addiction skyrocket since the pandemic. We saw people drawn to alcohol even more, to cope with the stress, isolation and boredom that was upon us, and sadly many of us have fallen down the slippery slope of alcohol addiction”
PETER HAYTON, SENIOR PSYCHOLOGIST AT THE BANYANS
Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, is an addiction or dependency to alcohol that causes uncontrolled drinking and a preoccupation with alcohol due to physical and psychological dependence on alcohol. Alcohol addiction is a chronic and relapsing disorder that consists of; an uncontrollable urge to drink alcohol, negative emotions if they cannot drink, and continuing to consume alcohol even though it causes problems in daily life.
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While drinking to ease emotional or physical pain, or to cope with difficult situations may offer relief in the moment, there are often serious long-term consequences for one’s physical and mental health. Alcoholic behaviour may not only affect relationships, jobs, and finances – it also presents several health challenges, including; poor quality sleep, digestive issues, memory problems, increased anxiety, depression and irritability. Excessive drinking can also lead to chronic diseases and other serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, oesophagus, voice box liver, colon and rectum. There is also the very real and frightening threat of alcohol-related death due to alcohol poisoning, disease, injury, murder or suicide, which is responsible for 5.3% of deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation.
It’s not always easy to tell when your drinking has become a problem. After all, alcohol is legal and socially acceptable, so how can it be bad for you? The truth is that alcoholism and alcoholic behaviour are very real problems that affect millions of people every year. So if you’re concerned that your drinking may be out of control, here’s some signs for how to know if you might be an alcoholic or are displaying alcoholic behaviour:
- Always choosing events or outings where alcohol is on offer
- Feeling the need to drink to be able to sleep
- Feeling sick when you don’t drink alcohol
- Having an intense craving or urge to drink. This includes finding excuses to drink, such as feeling stressed or to celebrate
- Needing more and more alcohol to feel the same effects. You may feel like you need to drink to function and be agitated when unable to do so
- Withdrawal symptoms when you try to cut down or stop drinking, e.g., sweating, nausea, irritability, shaking and vomiting
- Storing alcohol in hidden locations, like the office or car
- Drinking alone or in secret
- Drinking alcohol despite it negatively impacting your job, personal life or relationships
- Experiencing financial difficulties such as depleting savings, taking out loans, stealing, and lying to cover up finances
- Choosing to drink alcohol over engaging in other activities or hobbies otherwise enjoyed, including spending time with friends and family
- Blackouts, or periods of missing time that can’t be accounted for
- Participating in risky and dangerous behaviours such as drink driving, unprotected sex, or violence toward others
- Being unable to successfully cut down drinking after multiple attempts
- Neglect of personal responsibilities such as work or childcare. Neglect of personal hygiene and appearance.
- If someone points out your alcohol consumption, you become defensive or overreact to perceived criticism
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How to Get Rid of an Alcohol Addiction
If you, or someone you love, is struggling with alcohol addiction or dependency, there is hope, and recovery is possible. There are many ways that people try to overcome alcohol addiction. Some people go to rehab, some try to quit without support, and some try to wean themselves off alcohol gradually. However people choose to do it, a few things are essential for overcoming alcohol addiction.
First and foremost, individuals who are thinking about quitting drinking should consult their trusted treatment provider prior. Those with a physical dependence on alcohol can experience alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) which can result in serious complications.
Alcohol addiction is a serious condition, and it’s best to seek professional help from a qualified therapist or program. Many alcohol addiction therapists and programs can help you address the root causes of your addiction and learn how to cope with them in a healthy way.
Whether it comes from friends, family, or a support group, having people who will help you stay on track is crucial.
Commitment and patience
You have to be willing to make changes in your life and stick with them in order to overcome alcohol addiction. Staying motivated during recovery can be difficult, but it’s important to remember why you’re doing this. Keep your goals in mind and remind yourself why you want to be sober. Celebrate each milestone along the way, no matter how small it may seem. It takes time and effort to overcome an addiction, and there will be setbacks. But with commitment and patience, you can overcome alcohol addiction and start living a healthy life.
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Replace drinking with healthy habits
Replace your drinking habit with another activity. If you’re used to drinking to relax or socialise, find other activities that can provide those same benefits in a healthier way. For example, instead of meeting a friend for a drink after work, suggest going for a walk or meeting at an alcohol-free space.
Don’t try to hide your alcohol addiction or downplay it; being open and honest about your addiction is the first step on the road to recovery.
Make healthy changes to your lifestyle.
To overcome an alcohol addiction, you need to make healthy changes to your lifestyle. This means eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. It may also mean making some changes to your social life and relationships. Seek out positive, supportive relationships and avoid people and situations that may tempt you to drink.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment at The Banyans
The Banyans offers confidential and effective alcohol addiction and dependency treatment programs based in Brisbane. Welcoming guests from all over Australia, and Internationally, The Banyans world-class facilities are steeped in clinical excellence. Our holistic programs utilise evidence-based therapies to support guests in achieving long-lasting, measurable results. Everything we do is based on the values of care, respect, and joy to help guests feel supported, respected, and free to explore the sense of joy that comes when you experience the fullness of life.
The Banyans offer alcohol addiction treatment programs through various delivery modes;
The Banyans Residential Programs take place in our luxury accommodation nestled in Brisbane’s serene hinterland. With programs ranging from 2–12 weeks and accommodating just ten guests at a time, this program is ideal for intensive, focused rehabilitation.
The Banyans outpatient Day Programs provide the effectiveness of our Residential Programs while offering the flexibility of attending one day per week (for up to 8 weeks). The Banyans believe work, family or other commitments shouldn’t be a barrier to treatment. Therefore, our Day Program allows guests to seek alcohol addiction treatment while balancing life’s demands.
The Banyans also offer Online Programs for those who may have circumstances in life that make it difficult to travel to our luxury Brisbane facilities. Gain access to The Banyans industry-leading health practitioners from anywhere in the world.
One of the most powerful things we can do for ourselves and our loved ones if we’re experiencing alcohol addiction or dependency is truly believing that recovery is possible. Asking for help is one of the hardest steps someone can take in their journey. If you or a loved one is ready to seek help, you have made a brave decision.
The Banyans is available 24/7 to help you begin your journey towards alcohol addiction and dependency recovery. You can call our expert team any time for a confidential discussion on 1300 226 926 or submit an online enquiry to learn how we can help you rediscover the fullness of life.
This article was reviewed by Senior Psychologist and Clinical Director Peter Hayton, at The Banyans Healthcare Group.
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