28 Mar The Rise in Alcohol Abuse: Why Doctors Treat It, Or Not
Difference Between Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
There is a difference between alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction. However, how each is treated, can be different. An example of alcohol abuse is when you often enjoy going out to a bar and you have a drink. Now you are feeling rather happy and relaxed, and you have another, maybe another one after that.
You might also have enough that you lose that high as if you did not have a drink at all. Your next step is to have a cup of coffee and then drive home. It was a fun evening and you enjoyed it. You may do this several times a week.
If you find you are doing this more and more, even adding a drink in before you go out for the evening, then have a lot of drinks while out, you could be headed towards dependency and/or addiction. Abuse tends to refer to actions taken on a regular basis, but you do not have a physical need to have those drinks.
Addiction, however, is more a case of needing alcohol to get through the day. It is a dependency of needing alcohol that may cure physical pain for a short while, or you have mental issues with depression, and you want to get away from thinking about your problems. One way to know whether you abuse alcohol or are addicted is to go without alcohol for several days.
If you begin sweating, become irritable, cannot sleep, and want to have alcohol, then you are dependent or addicted to alcohol. There is a combination of character and mental issues one has when dependent on alcohol. You realize you are having problems with not drinking, so you visit your doctor to get help. Maybe there is a magic pill you can take to solve the problem.
Doctors Can Treat the Problem, Maybe
When you visit your family physician, tell your doctor that you think you have an alcohol abuse problem. What the doctor will do first is a complete physical assessment and ask you questions related to how and why you drink alcohol.
Remember that your doctor can treat you but only if you tell the doctor about your problem. At a certain level of symptoms, your doctor may refer you to a rehabilitation center instead, either for out-patient treatment or an in-patient treatment program.
Your doctor can determine what level of alcohol abuse you are on, such as a case of mild alcohol abuse (two to three symptoms), a moderate level (four or five symptoms), or a severe level (six symptoms or more). Symptoms of alcohol abuse refer to whether you can cut down on your drinking or not, your drinking is causing problems at home and work, and whether you have withdrawal symptoms when you do not drink for more than a day.
If your doctor does not do an assessment for you and cannot treat you (for whatever reason), visit the alcohol addiction rehabilitation center in San Diego, CA on your own, talk with a counselor, and ask if you can get an assessment. You can have a copy from your doctor’s office sent over that has your blood and charts which offers insights into your chemical makeup. You must give permission to have this done.
Once the assessment is back, it is time to figure out whether you can just be an outpatient, requiring a monitoring program along with various forms of medical (pills like acamprosate and disulfiram) prescriptions. Acamprosate helps the brain work properly again although it does not assist a person with withdrawal symptoms. Disulfiram will make you somewhat ill if you take a drink. You may experience a headache, nausea, blurred vision (do not drive!), and other problems. This drug does not cure alcohol abuse but certainly discourages drinking. You should have access to medical help immediately if your reactions become serious. If you need this drug, you may consider checking in to a rehabilitation center where you have available medical help around the clock.
Why Doctors May Refuse to Help You with Your AUD
Many doctors and nurses may not feel they have enough training to help your case properly, and some may also be users themselves. AUD occurs in 12 percent of medical professionals, but they do not always admit to this for fear of losing their licenses and livelihood. They may also feel they are at risk if anything goes wrong with their patient, such as prescribing a medication that causes physical medical problems leading to death.
Call Us Immediately if You or a Loved One Needs Help
Our alcohol addiction treatment center can help you with any substance addiction and/or mental issues you might have so you can regain a happy and functional lifestyle again. Call us for a free consultation and to set up an appointment to start getting help as soon as possible. 619-350-8220.