There are several indicators that can help determine if one is suffering from alcoholism:

  • Over a period of time drinking progressively worsens.
  • The development of a strong desire or compulsion for the need to drink.
  • Tolerance develops, where one needs to consume more alcohol to get the same effect.
  • Withdrawal develops when the body does not have a sufficient amount of alcohol.
  • Multiple unsuccessful attempts are made to reduce or quit drinking.

Prior to beginning treatment for alcohol dependence, a fundamental and necessary question needs to be assessed: Is this person able to abstain from drinking in an outpatient setting or does the individual require an inpatient facility.  There are two areas that are considered when making this assessment and addressing this question:

(1) How severe is the alcoholism?

(2) What is the person’s overall general health?

There is an educational component that is part of the beginning of outpatient alcohol abuse treatment where the patient is educated about the disorder. The individual is then taught to recognize and be aware of possible triggers that can lead to a drink.  Alternative strategies are taught and reviewed to avoid picking up a drink. The key is that sobriety is maintained one day at a time and it is often recommended that the individual seek out an adjunct therapy of a support group (e.g. AA group).

Alcohol abuse like many other disorders often come with co-occurring emotional disorders.  For example, depression and anxiety often go along with this disorder.  In order for treatment to be most effective, anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders are usually best addressed after the individual has been successful at maintaining sobriety for a period of time.

Please call our office at (410) 343-9756  for more information on assessment and treatment of alcohol abuse and dependence.