Grief and Alcohol Addiction
Problem drinking can take two forms. The first is alcohol abuse, which is when drinking leads to problems, but not a physical addiction. Second, alcoholism is a condition that compels people to drink despite negative consequences to relationships, finances or jobs. Physical addiction is also a sign of alcoholism, and it will present the following symptoms:
- Continuing to drink despite harm caused to self and others
- Drinking alone
- Becoming violent when drinking
- Becoming hostile when questioned about drinking
- Inability to control drinking
- Making excuses to drink
- Missing work or school or performing worse in those areas because of drinking
- Dropping out of activities due to alcohol
- Using alcohol to get through the day
- Neglecting to eat or eating poorly
- Hiding alcohol use
- Hands shaking during periods of sobriety
About one out of six people in the United States has a drinking problem. Factors that raise the risk of developing alcohol abuse or dependence include the following examples:
- Being a young adult under peer pressure
- Depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders or schizophrenia
- Easy access to alcohol
- Low self-esteem
- Problems with relationships
- High cultural acceptance of alcohol use
Many people with alcohol problems do not realize they are in danger, but health care providers cab raise personal awareness by asking the following questions:
- Do you ever drive when you have been drinking?
- Do you have to drink more than before to get drunk or feel the desired effect?
- Have you felt that you should cut down on your drinking?
- Have you ever had any blackouts after drinking?
- Have you ever missed work or lost a job because of drinking?
- Is someone in your family worried about your drinking?
Many people find that professional treatment is necessary to overcome alcohol abuse and addiction. At recovery centers, both physical addiction and psychological dependence can be addressed. Individuals who seek help early before the condition progresses maximize their chances of recovery.
Using Alcohol to Cope With Grief
Some people use alcohol to cope with grief because the drug numbs emotional pain and disconnects drinkers from themselves. When drunk, uncomfortable emotions like anxiety, grief and stress disappear temporarily, and this false sense of escape frequently triggers both addiction and relapse. To build lasting sobriety, people must learn to manage feelings instead of anesthetizing them. In treatment, many people learn to do this through the following coping mechanisms:
- Reach out. Talking about feelings decreases stress, anxiety and grief. Call a supportive friend or professional to regain perspective on problems.
- Mix up your routine. Identify times during of the day and week when you are most likely to use. Schedule a different activity like going to the gym instead.
- Journal. Putting feelings on paper can bring relief.
- Get support. Attend a support group meeting to break the isolation created by drug use.
In recovery, many people learn that facing difficulties is the best way to overcome them.
Help for Alcohol Abuse and Grief
If you or someone you love struggles with alcohol, know that help is available. Recovery counselors are available at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to guide you and your family to wellness. Our counselors can help you understand your treatment options and find affordable solutions. Please call today and take the first step toward a better life.