Trenton Outpatient Alcohol Addiction Treatment: 9 Early Signs of Alcoholism

February 9, 2023 | Alcohol Addiction

Trenton outpatient alcohol addiction treatment

Trenton Outpatient Alcohol Addiction Treatment: What to Know

While alcohol is legal (at least if you’re age 21 or older) in the United States, it’s still a drug that can adversely affect drinkers. Drinking can be a social activity; some people can imbibe it socially without drinking too much at any given time or losing the ability to function without alcohol. However, not everyone can drink this way. Many Americans develop a tolerance and eventually an alcohol dependence. The early signs of alcoholism are a warning that Trenton outpatient alcohol addiction treatment may be needed to overcome alcohol dependence.

If alcohol is causing problems in your life, you’re not alone. Nearly 15 million adults in the US have alcohol use disorder (AUD) and may need to get help to quit. The good news is that an evidence-based treatment works for all different kinds of people to help them stop drinking and stay sober. You don’t have to continue a life where alcohol controls your decisions; instead, you can get help and take your life back.

outpatient alcohol addiction treatment in Trenton

What Is Alcoholism?

This is the most problematic type of alcohol abuse. Once you can’t manage your drinking, Trenton outpatient alcohol addiction treatment may be needed. If one drink is too many (because you can’t stop at just one drink even when you want or need to) and a thousand isn’t enough, you’re well on your way to alcoholism. 

AUD can be mild, moderate, or severe. It’s progressive, meaning most people with alcohol addiction in Trenton start off in the early stage as opposed to jumping right to severe drinking. The bigger the problem you have with alcohol, the more help you’ll need to stop drinking and enjoy your life. 

When you’re in the mild stage, you have a problem, but it’s not too significant yet. Typically you might experience some of the following:

  • Binge drinking, where you drink a lot within two hours (though you can certainly go on to binge for more than two hours.) This is defined as five drinks for men and four for women since women and men metabolize alcohol differently.
  • Not keeping promises to yourself about drinking. For example, you know you have to work the next day so you tell yourself you’ll only have one drink, but you close down the bar.
  • Blackouts, where you are conscious and moving around but forget what you did while in the blackout.
  • Most of your social life has to do with drinking.

When you’re in this stage, you may be in denial about how much Trenton’s outpatient alcohol addiction treatment is needed. A social drinker or someone who doesn’t abuse alcohol wouldn’t have the abovementioned experiences. If you keep drinking past the mild stage of AUD, you may recognize that you have a problem. You’re probably dependent on alcohol at this point. Some other signs that you’re at the moderate stage of alcoholism include:

  • You’re OK with drinking and driving since you feel like you have to drive everywhere and often drink. As a result, you might face DUI charges or other legal issues due to the alcohol.
  • You may feel anxious or depressed, and you’re having trouble sleeping. You might have trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep, or both.
  • Your social relationships have started to go downhill because your family and friends don’t want you to drink so much. You might also be embarrassed about the things you did while drinking and not want to face them.
  • Instead of drinking to enjoy the taste, you’re trying to numb out or avoid emotions like grief, anger, or sadness. You might also be drinking compulsively in situations that tend to bring out these emotions in you.
  • Your hangovers are likely affecting your work.
  • You need to drink more alcohol to get the same effects you used to get with fewer drinks. In other words, you’ve built up a tolerance.
  • Physical changes, like weight and reddening face, are likely noticeable.

If you continue to drink even with the above symptoms, beyond the early warning signs of alcoholism, you’ll reach the severe stage at some point. You’ll have withdrawal symptoms if you go too long without a drink, and you’re considered fully addicted in the late stage of alcoholism. These are some of the signals that you’ve got severe AUD:

  • Obtaining alcohol and drinking it comes before everything else in your life: your own personal hygiene, your friends, work or school, intimate relationships, family members, and pets.
  • You start to lose things like jobs, homes, vehicles, and connections with loved ones.
  • Significant physical health issues such as liver problems appear.
  • Similarly, mental health conditions like dementia and paranoia are more common.
  • Physical withdrawal symptoms include tremors (“the shakes”), hallucinations, and delirium tremens (“DTs”) which can be fatal.

Trenton Outpatient Alcohol Addiction Treatment: 9 Signs of Alcoholism

When you stop drinking sooner rather than later, your body and brain may be able to repair some of the injuries that alcohol addiction has already caused. But in later stages, the damage is often irreversible. You may have heard of the concept of “rock bottom,” where an alcoholic is so low that they almost have no alternative but to seek help. But one alcohol user’s rock bottom can be very different from another. 

You don’t have to lose everything before deciding to stop drinking and start living a fun and fulfilling life. If you have two or more of the symptoms described below, consider them the early signs of needing Trenton outpatient alcohol addiction treatment. It’s time to think about quitting.

  1. You think you should cut down on your alcohol intake.
  2. You get annoyed when family and friends (or even colleagues and supervisors) criticize how much you drink.
  3. Sometimes you feel guilty about how much you drink or feel bad about it.
  4. You’ve had a drink when you wake up to feel steadier or ease the hangover.
  5. Even though you realize drinking makes you feel worse, maybe more anxious or more depressed, you continue to pick up the bottle.
  6. You’ve felt a strong urge to drink whether or not you have alcohol in your system.
  7. You’ve experienced withdrawal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, irritability, and headaches after you haven’t had a drink for a while.
  8. More than once, you’ve had more to drink than you originally planned.
  9. There are times when you’ve taken risks when drinking that you wouldn’t while sober, such as getting in a fight or driving.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Alcoholism?

Even though it’s a legal substance, drinking can cause serious damage to you, your body, and your relationships. The longer you continue to drink, the more damage alcohol can do to you. That’s why even if you haven’t reached the late stage of alcoholism or even the middle one, it’s never too early to quit.

Like it does with other drugs, including illegal ones, your brain adapts to the presence of alcohol. It changes the way it manufactures some neurochemicals because the alcohol is there. Short-term changes give you a buzz after you’ve had a drink. But the longer you drink, there are more long-term changes for Trenton’s outpatient alcohol addiction. 

Specifically, alcohol is a depressant, so over time, people who need alcohol rehab in Trenton may experience more depression and anxiety due to how alcohol changes the brain. It affects the neural systems that are linked to inhibition, which is what (normally) prevents people from taking risky actions like hitting other people and driving under the influence. 

People can get aggressive due to this lack of inhibition and feel suicidal and more likely to harm themselves. Sometimes, for very heavy drinkers, psychosis where you completely lose touch with reality can occur. 

Alcohol damages the brain in other ways as well. Long-term drinkers may have difficulty remembering things or thinking logically, whether or not they’ve been drinking. Of course, it’s not just mental problems that accompany AUD. Alcohol damages your body too, and the consequences can be severe.

  • Liver problems

Alcohol is metabolized in the liver, and long-term drinking affects your liver. Cancer of the liver is common, and so is cirrhosis. When you drink too much, the liver tries to repair itself and ends up with a lot of scar tissue from these repairs. The more scar tissue there is, the harder it is for the liver to do its job. 

  • Cancers, including breast, mouth, rectum, voice box, and bowel (among others)

All types of alcohol are linked to cancer, and the more you drink, the more likely you are to end up with cancer as a result. The body breaks alcohol down into a substance that damages your DNA, so your cells cannot repair themselves and function normally.

  • Pancreatitis

Your pancreas, which helps you digest things like sugar, can become inflamed from too much alcohol. Severe pancreatitis can be life-threatening.

  • Heart disease and stroke

Alcohol tends to increase your blood pressure and heart rate. Long-term use stiffens the walls of your blood vessels, which makes heart attacks more likely. It also causes irregular heartbeats, which can cause blood clots that block blood from reaching portions of your brain (stroke).

Your heart is a muscle, and alcohol can weaken it and make it harder to pump blood throughout the rest of your body. You may get to the point where it can’t pump the blood by itself, which is known as congestive heart failure.

It’s important to know that many of these long-term effects come from a heavy drinking career. If you realize that you’re exhibiting the early warning signs of alcoholism, you don’t need to wait until things get worse to stop. If things are already worse, you must get help to stop. Sudden withdrawal from alcohol during the late stages of AUD can be dangerous without medical supervision.

Is Alcohol Detox Essential for Alcoholism Recovery?

Whatever stage of drinking you’re currently in, you can find resources to stop. If you’re in the middle to late stages of alcoholism as described above, you will probably need help to end your drinking career for good and prevent relapse. 

It’s also usually a good idea for anyone with co-occurring mental health issues, such as ADHD, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and schizophrenia to get treatment. Rehab can address both disorders at the same time. On the other hand, if you’ve flagged some early warning signs or you’re in the early stages, you may or may not need to go to rehab.

If you go to treatment, the staff will normally assess your mental and physical health and then recommend where you should start outpatient alcohol treatment in Trenton. Be honest about how long you’ve been drinking and how much you drink at any given time. 

Most insurance carriers provide mental health coverage, including recovery services, and some states mandate it. There are several different steps to getting help, and you may need more than one to stay sober once you stop drinking.

  • Recovery meetings

Attending 12-step or Smart Recovery meetings may be all you need for those very early in their drinking. For others, these meetings are part of treatment and aftercare when you transition back to the “real” world outside treatment.

  • Detox

Not everyone needs to be supervised as they undergo detoxification from alcohol, but some do. Withdrawal symptoms result from the brain’s adjustment to the lack of alcohol and can range from uncomfortable to life-threatening. 

Late-stage drinkers need detox because stopping suddenly would be dangerous to their health, even potentially lethal, and detox can help you taper off gradually. Detox can be a good idea even if you don’t need to taper. You’ll be in a safe, comfortable environment. If you’re malnourished and/or dehydrated, you can receive fluids to help you improve your immediate health too.

Detox, if you need it, is only the first step in your journey. In addition to quitting alcohol, you need to address the reasons you started drinking in the first place. Usually, addiction is not a disease but a symptom of the underlying problem. 

  • Inpatient rehab

If you need to go to detox, inpatient is the next step in your recovery. If you don’t need detox, you may still need to start with this step. Here you’ll be living in a residential facility. Typically you’ll eat healthy, nutritious meals three times a day with the other residents. Therapy is generally provided in both individual and group settings. You’ll be in therapy most of the mornings and afternoons and then have time for fun games and activities after dinner. 

Inpatient treatment allows you to focus on your recovery in a safe and trigger-free setting. You’ll start learning healthy habits and better coping mechanisms so you never have to go back to drinking when you’re in a stressful or emotional situation.

  • Outpatient

While Trenton outpatient alcohol addiction is the next step after inpatient treatment for many with AUD, others with less of a drinking history may go straight to outpatient. If you can stop once you see the early warning signs of alcoholism, you might start here. 

If you’re in a partial hospitalization program, you’ll still spend most of your day in therapy during the week. It’s also very structured, but you go home (or to sober living) at the end of the day instead of staying at the recovery center. There are also outpatient programs that allow you to stay at work or school and are conducted after work or school in the evenings and on weekends. 

Whichever outpatient program you’re attending, you’ll still receive therapy and learn life skills that will help you prevent relapse later on. You’ll be discussing aftercare and putting a plan together for staying sober once you’ve left treatment. Aftercare plans often involve attending local recovery meetings.

  • Sober living

If you need some extra support while transitioning out of treatment, sober living can offer you community and accountability. Many sober living facilities have recovery meetings in-house, or the residents attend them together. Sober living is especially helpful if your home life isn’t as supportive of your recovery. 

Learn How Quantum Can Help with Alcoholism Recovery

We provide a customized approach to care so that with our help, you cannot only stop drinking but also stay sober and avoid relapsing. At our New Jersey location for Trenton outpatient alcohol addiction treatment, you’ll find inpatient and outpatient programs. We offer evidence-based behavioral therapy and additional treatment modalities such as yoga, meditation, art therapy, and music therapy. At Quantum, we encourage communication and connection.

It’s not too late to stop drinking and start living the full life you want and deserve. Don’t delay happiness any longer – give us a call at (609) 993-0733 today.