Alcoholism and alcohol abuse can be challenging to manage. Addiction to alcohol and drugs often causes significant complications for the lives of those managing alcoholism. If you're wondering about your relationship with alcohol, talk to an alcohol counselor. Alcohol counseling might be the key to feeling better. Alcohol use can cause issues in life, love, education, and work. But you should feel proud of yourself for recognizing a problem. That’s because one of the first steps in breaking bad habits is acknowledging they exist.
When someone depends on a substance like alcohol, they tend to focus much of their attention on obtaining their fix. Less attention gets paid to important life goals, relationships, and productivity. Instead, people may experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Unfortunately, the consequences of addiction can be staggering, like the harm that it does to your relationships because an alcoholic cannot love. But help may be closer than you think.
You can get help with your relationship to alcohol through various means, including online alcohol counseling sessions, toll-free hotlines, and group therapies in your community. Meanwhile, peer and family support are crucial.
What Is An Alcoholic?
The term “alcoholic” is somewhat outdated, insensitive, and rarely used. However, it was initially intended to describe someone who experiences the symptoms of an addiction to alcohol. Those who identify as an alcoholic may feel dependent on the substance or manage withdrawal symptoms when they cannot drink. The condition is better known as alcohol use disorder; the condition can be pretty serious and frequently leads to risky behaviors. Sometimes called alcoholism or drunkenness, those who become chemically dependent on beer, wine, and spirits often experience a steep decline in their quality of life. And since drinking can have a major impact on cognitive function, people typically need therapy to quit.
Second, only to tobacco addiction, alcohol use disorder is the most common form of addiction or substance abuse in the United States. That may be due to the prevalence and availability of the substance. However, each person should take accountability for their relationship with drinking.
As of 2019, about 25% of people ages 18 or older said they binged on alcohol within a month of being surveyed. Nearly a third of respondents were men, and around 22% were women. Meanwhile, more than 85% of people admitted that they drank an alcoholic beverage at least once in their lives. So, having an occasional cocktail isn’t always indicative of an addiction. But binge drinking is a different story.
The same study responsible for those statistics also noticed something else. It turns out that there’s a growing trend toward high-intensity alcohol consumption. That means some people may enjoy drinking recreationally and might use alcohol irresponsibly as a means to seek thrills or social acceptance. Sadly, this unhealthy and unproductive fad affects people of all ages. Plus, a person’s chances of becoming addicted to alcohol later in life often depend on their exposure to it in childhood.
Social and familial opinions about drinking can skew responsible and irresponsible lines. So, mental health therapists and addictions counselors utilize standardized criteria to determine whether or not someone has a substance use disorder. Here are a few of the things they might look for:
According to mental health experts, there are eleven official criteria for addiction to alcohol or drugs. But despite how obvious some of the symptoms of alcohol dependence may seem, many people still don’t see the red flags. So, determining whether or not you need to see a counselor for alcohol consumption can be tricky.
It’s important to monitor your thoughts and behaviors while drinking, but that can be difficult because alcohol affects the brain and body. Your favorite suds could cause short-term memory loss, long-term memory recall problems, and more. There’s even a link between alcohol use and increased risks for heart disease, cancer, and liver failure.
Thus, the importance of tailored therapeutics cannot be overstated. And today, there are more confidential hotlines for substance use disorder than ever before. Participants can receive advice, learn coping skills, and get referrals to licensed alcohol counselors – all for free. Plus, many can now get help online and enjoy similar benefits.
No two counseling sessions are the same, which means each person’s experience will differ. Some may find tremendous relief and experience measurable healing, even after only a few meetings. However, others may need more time or support for the best results. Either way, alcohol counseling is beneficial for several reasons, including these ten:
In therapy, you can open up and share painful thoughts or emotions, especially as they pertain to your propensity for alcoholic beverages.
One of the first steps in recovery is acknowledgment. So, counselors educate patients on the risk factors and symptoms of alcohol use disorder and other mental health disorders.
Social therapeutic approaches encourage active listening, candidness, and communication. In turn, that can help those in recovery feel like less of a burden or outcast because of their condition.
Excessive drinking, especially when it’s prolonged, can have a negative impact on a person’s life. It may also affect their mental or emotional wellbeing. So, counselors focus on the bigger picture.
Quitting drinking can be difficult when the withdrawal symptoms are intense. That’s why many drug and alcohol counselors provide compassionate supervision while willing patients detox.
Relying on alcohol for happiness and pleasure can be dangerous and may lead to a significant reduction in the quality of your life. So, let counselors show you better ways to cope with stress.
It’s not uncommon for someone in recovery to relapse or craves their drug of choice. But counseling helps families band together in the pursuit of sober living.
Each session is based on the last, which means your treatment will not be the same as someone else’s. Try not to let stories of bad experiences deter you from something that could change your life.
You’re not at risk of being alone as soon as you recover from alcohol addiction. Many therapists are happy to offer support, advice, and guidance long after you’ve healed.
If one of your questions stumps a counselor, they can consult their network of colleagues for an answer. You no longer have to play guessing games with your physical, mental, or emotional health.
Tailored mental health counseling for excessive alcohol consumption can be good whether you’re addicted or not. That’s because therapists work with patients directly to define issues and develop the best treatment plans. For more information on how it works, reach out to someone in the field.
NOTE: Some therapists for substance use disorder can prescribe psychopharmaceuticals to treat patients. However, it’s never a good idea to self-medicate with prescription medicine. Instead, talk to your doctor to stay safe and receive the most effective treatment possible.
There are several treatments for people with an addiction to alcohol or drugs. So, counselors can customize their approach to suit each individual’s needs. However, certain treatments may require a diagnosis from a physician.
Doctors can also refer patients to mental health professionals for therapy. They determine a patient’s need for counseling based on a series of diagnostic steps, including:
Some doctors might also recommend a licensed mental health professional psychological evaluation. Those evaluations typically consist of more in-depth questions about thoughts, emotions, and compulsions. So, ask your physician or therapist for more detailed information. Meanwhile, you do not need an official substance use disorder diagnosis to get help.
That help can come in many forms, though. And the approach depends on your needs and goals. Treatment could be as simple as a brief intervention with friends and family. However, it can also consist of group counseling, outpatient programs, and residential inpatient treatment. The objective is to improve the quality of your life and correct your relationship with drinking and drugs.
Those objectives are generally achieved with one of the following methods:
For lasting results, therapists may also help patients create positive support systems and healthier coping strategies. Alcohol counselors might even use tailored methodologies to necessitate lifestyle changes and decrease the risk of relapse.
BetterHelp alcohol counselors are there to hold your hand as you climb out of addiction. Counseling can help you recognize the signs of substance use disorder and manage the symptoms while learning how to cope with stress and avoid relapse. A well-matched online therapist might also help you make amends with loved ones. So, revive your life and stop relying on drinking or drugs for your happiness and pleasure with counseling.
Alcohol Counseling BetterHelp Review #231672
Date of review: October 1, 2021
Review was written by BetterHelp user L.E. after working with Ryan Suhr for three months on issues concerning stress, anxiety, and addictions
“Reaching out for help wasn’t the easiest thing to do. I knew Ryan was the right therapist for me from the first session. He listened to my issues, gave me alternative ways of thinking, and provided me with the tools needed to succeed. I came to Ryan 112 days ago for help with alcohol abuse, anxiety, and stress. I have since been alcohol-free and am very grateful for his help. For anyone hesitant about online therapy like I was, this is one of the best things I’ve done for myself. Ryan is a true professional. Thanks again!!”
Alcohol use and abuse (or alcoholism) are more common than you might think. Alcohol use is positively depicted in the media, and many families keep a supply on hand, or might even encourage alcohol consumption. While alcohol can be accepted and celebrated in many arenas and social circles, alcohol does not have to be a regular part of your life. The line between alcohol use and alcohol abuse can be a thin one, and many people do not realize they are toeing the line of alcohol abuse. It is not always obvious, and neither is alcoholism.
Sometimes, we aren't aware of the effects of alcohol abuse or consumption, and we have no idea what alcohol is doing to us. We may have grown up with the normalization of drinking alcohol, and many of us can't wait to start drinking alcohol when we turn 21. But it's not often we are asked to examine our relationship with alcohol and whether it borders on abuse. In fact, it may take a serious offense caused by alcohol, or a twinge of alcoholism, to make us wonder if we are drinking too much alcohol. If you think you might be managing alcoholism, or alcohol abuse, it might be a good idea to try counseling. Counseling for alcohol abuse or alcoholism contains treatment steps proven to help manage alcoholism, alcohol abuse, and alcohol misuse.
Here are a few reasons some of us choose to drink alcohol:
Regardless of your reason or reasons for drinking alcohol, most of us have had too much alcohol before, and that's never fun. An incident of alcoholism or excessive consumption can leave us wondering if we're drinking too much. We might not even realize if we are prone to alcoholism, have been misusing alcohol, or might feel dependent on alcohol.
Alcohol abuse can start to show up in sneaky ways. Maybe you're always thinking about alcohol, maybe you're starting to smell alcohol everywhere, maybe someone close to you is managing alcoholism, perhaps there's a family history of alcoholism, or maybe you find yourself drinking even when you didn't plan to or didn't really want to. Maybe you plan to have one glass of alcohol and end up finishing several, realizing that you're not capable of having just one drink of alcohol. Alcoholism and misuse can show up after drinking.
Counseling can help you greatly, and online counseling offers anonymity that's difficult to achieve with traditional counseling. Counseling for alcohol abuse is available when you're ready. Whether you want to drink less alcohol or stop drinking altogether, alcohol abuse counseling or alcoholism counseling can help you.