Everything is Bigger in Texas
San Antonio, the second most populated city in the great state of Texas, is home to roughly one and a half million people. As the seventh most populated city in the United States, the city of San Antonio has plenty of luxuries for residents and visitors alike to enjoy. Being a popular tourist destination, San Antonio is a one-stop destination for just about everything you could imagine.
Home to such historical and beautiful locations such as the San Antonio River Walk, a network of walkways and pedestrian streets along the banks of the San Antonio river, Marriage Island, which plays host to roughly 225 weddings a year, the 750-foot tall Tower of the Americas, an observation tower built for the 1968 World’s Fair, several Spanish colonial missions, and of course, the famous Alamo.
Shopping, dining, dancing, and having fun, everything is bigger and better in San Antonio. Unfortunately, that tagline applies to the negatives as well, as Texas suffers from an increasingly severe alcohol problem. San Antonio is no exception to this and many of it’s residents suffer from alcohol abuse. Fortunately, there is help.
What Defines a Problem?
Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in the world and has been for centuries. Alcohol is prevalent in almost every culture in the world in the form of wine, beer, whiskey, mead, vodka, and the list goes on. It’s uses span from festivities to religious ceremony and everything in between. Unfortunately, there have always been those who drink to excess and end up unable to control their drinking. Examples can be found across the globe and throughout history.
Accompanying the most commonly abused substance in the world is denial, the utter refusal of a person to believe they have a problem. This is just as common as the abuse itself and can be seen in almost any heavy drinker to some extent, especially when family and friends first start to speak up.
When does the drinking become a problem? Some people have more tolerance than others, that’s common, but what constitutes alcohol abuse? Simply put, at it’s most basic level, it is a pattern of drinking that leads to harm of a person’s interpersonal relationships, personal health, and ability to work.
When a person repeatedly calls off work because they are hung over or worse, goes to work still drunk, that’s a problem, as it is affecting their ability to work. When a person’s relationship with friends, spouse, and family become strained because of how much they drink or the way they behave when they drink, that’s a problem, as it is harming their interpersonal relationships. When a person suffers liver damage, withdrawals, hangovers, or something more tragic such as an automotive accident, that’s a problem, as it is obviously harming their health.
Drinking alcohol isn’t, in and of itself, a bad thing. Even drinking a lot isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Alcohol abuse occurs when it starts to affect a person’s behavior and their ability to carry out and maintain day-to-day tasks. That’s when it becomes a problem and a danger. Even functioning alcoholics, who still go to work and maintain their productivity and seem perfectly fine on the outside, can still be suffering the effects of their alcohol abuse.
What Are Signs of Alcohol Abuse?
• Lying about or hiding drinking
• Feelings of guilt or shame when drinking
• Needing to drink in order to relax
• Regularly drinking more than intended
• Blacking out after drinking
• Family & friends worrying about the drinking
• Blowing off responsibilities in order to drink
Individually, each of these warning signs is cause for concern. More than one, however, is indicative of a genuine problem with alcohol. Any of these signs may manifest in a heavy drinker and they may appear in any order, as this is not a progressive list.
Additionally, it’s important to understand the difference between dependence and addiction. Addiction is characterized by cravings, compulsive and continued use despite the harm it causes, and impaired control over use. Someone suffering from addiction cannot control themselves and cannot stop without help.
Dependence, on the other hand, is true to it’s name and is a literal, physical dependence on a substance. This means that should a person abruptly stop drinking, withdrawal symptoms will appear. These symptoms can appear as quickly as two hours after the person’s last drink and, in the case of alcohol withdrawals, can be life-threatening.
What Do Withdrawals Look Like?
Most people think they have a fairly good understanding of what withdrawals are. It’s not uncommon to see withdrawals portrayed on TV or in movies and thus we get a pretty good idea that withdrawals are horrible. Are they really as bad as Hollywood makes them appear, though?
Well, yes they are, frankly. The exact nature and severity of withdrawal symptoms vary depending on a number of factors, including the substance in question. In the case of alcohol, however, withdrawals can be extremely dangerous, even life-threatening.
The most common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are depression, anxiety, fatigue, shakiness, irritability, mood swings, inability to think clearly, and chronic nightmares. Symptoms can also include headaches, loss of appetite, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, dilated pupils, sweating, and rapid heart rate. The most severe form of alcohol withdrawals are delirium tremens, also known as DTs. DT’s can cause tremors, fever, agitation, hallucinations, severe confusion, and life-threatening seizures.
That Was Scary. What About Detox?
Yes, withdrawals are scary and are sometimes part of what deters people away from getting sober. The detoxification process, however, is absolutely vital to treatment. Detox is the process of flushing all the toxins from alcohol and/or drugs out of your body so it can start the healing process.
Naturally, withdrawal symptoms are going to be present during detox and given the dangerous nature of alcohol withdrawals, medical supervision and assistance is absolutely necessary. Alcohol detox is often handled with specialized medications that simulate the chemicals the body is withdrawing from, easing the withdrawal symptoms and slowly weaning the body of it’s dependency.
It is very important that you don’t try to detox from alcohol on your own. Some substances have less severe withdrawal symptoms but detoxing from alcohol is extremely dangerous and can be lethal. It is absolutely critical that you get professional medical assistance when detoxing from alcohol.
Journey of a Thousand Miles
It’s said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Recovery is certainly a journey and it may well be a long one, but it’s one worth making. Making the decision to get help is that single step that starts it all. In some cases, that journey isn’t just metaphorical, but literal.
In many cases, a person’s home environment can contain triggers that can make treatment difficult. In some cases, not all, but some, the home environment contributed in some way to the alcohol abuse. It might be family issues, financial stress, or any number of factors.
If such is the case, it may be wise to travel for treatment. A new environment and a removal from one’s comfort zone may be a healthy and positive change for someone struggling with alcohol abuse. In order to make real change, changes have to be made. It sounds trite, but something as simple as new surroundings can make a world of difference.
I Can’t Afford Treatment
Fear of the cost is one of the most common reasons people don’t seek help. They think they couldn’t possibly afford it and once upon a time, they might have been right. However, while it’s true that treatment is costly, it may not be as costly as you think.
Once upon a time, substance abuse was viewed as a moral shortcoming or a bad choice made by a bad person. Fortunately, the world has caught up with the reality of the situation in realizing that addiction is a medical condition that requires proper medical care.
As such, many health insurance providers recognize substance abuse as a medical disease and treat it accordingly. This means that rehabilitation may be covered by your health insurance. Substance abuse is treated like any medical condition and it’s important to understand what you are covered for.
Some insurance plans offer complete and total coverage for treatment, while others only provide partial coverage. Your healthcare plan is unique to you, as is your treatment program. You can find out exactly how much your insurance plan will cover simply by calling your healthcare representative and asking them about treatment options.
At A Better Today, we are dedicated to providing top quality care in clean, comfortable facilities staffed by compassionate and professionally trained experts in the field. We provide the care you need, complete with luxury facilities and absolute confidentiality.
Don’t let yourself become a statistic. Help is available and more affordable than you might think. Call (510) 246-8864 today and get the help you need to stop the cycle of abuse. You can live free of alcohol.