Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Melbourne, Victoria
Alcohol addiction is often misunderstood because so many Australians consume alcohol in moderation and lead normal, healthy lives. Unlike other substances, alcohol is both legal and socially acceptable. As a result, the destruction that can result from alcohol addiction is often underestimated until a drastic event occurs, such as the end of a relationship, an accident, job loss or serious illness.
At Riverside Clinic, our goal with our alcohol addiction treatment is to show individuals how to take back control of their lives and to replace the sense of despair and disempowerment, which is often the root of addiction, with one of hope and confidence. Alcoholism is a disease. With proper, professional treatment, the addiction to alcohol can be overcome and individuals can go on to thrive in their lives.
Our clinicians have years of experience in working with alcohol dependent individuals and know how to reach out to the person rather than further giving relevance to the alcoholism. Committed to offering quality, forward-thinking care, they continue to enhance their knowledge and skill with ongoing professional development for alcohol addiction treatment.
Alcohol addiction is not an end. Riverside Clinic is here to offer caring and effective rehabilitation services that can transform lives. This is not something that can be overcome alone; we are here to help.
Alcohol Addiction and Dependence
Alcohol addiction is one of the most common substance use disorders, with alcohol dependence accounting for 32% of nationwide drug treatment and rehabilitation programs.
Alcohol dependence can also be one of the most difficult drug addictions to recover from as drinking alcohol, even on a daily basis, is so socially acceptable. It can take years before the addicted person recognises they have an alcohol addiction.
The difference with alcohol addiction is that the person will have a physical dependence on alcohol and start experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms if they don’t have a drink.
Long term alcohol abuse may lead to various health problems and mental health disorders. Alcohol alters the chemistry of the brain and can cause aggression, anxiety, and depression. Those who drink to temporarily relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression often find themselves drawn into a vicious cycle as regular drinking lowers levels of serotonin in the brain, which amplifies negative feelings and emotions.
Alcohol Addiction Signs and Symptoms
There’s not always a clear line between an alcoholic and someone who simply drinks too much. While physical symptoms of alcohol abuse such as slurred speech and loss of coordination are obvious, a one-off episode due to binge drinking does not necessarily indicate substance abuse.
People dependent on alcohol will continue to drink, despite negative consequences on their health, relationships, finances and work.
Drinking in inappropriate or risky situations may be a sign of alcohol dependence. This may mean needing to drink in the morning, at work, alone, or drinking before driving a car.
Alcoholics also feel that they need to drink in order to relax and are unable to cope with life on a daily basis without alcohol. They may give up other activities, so they can drink.
Regularly getting drunk can lead to neglecting responsibilities such as taking care of children, frequently being late to work and increased arguments and violence towards a spouse or other family members. Alcohol related violence is currently on the rise in Australia – a concerning trend.
Alcoholics often try to hide their excessive consumption by buying alcohol at different stores and hiding bottles around the house.
Why Is Alcohol Addictive?
Alcohol affects levels of chemicals in the brain, including dopamine and endorphins. These chemicals are responsible for alcohol’s relaxing and euphoric effect.
Associating these pleasurable feelings with consumption of alcohol can soon trick the brain into craving more, but the body also becomes more effective at processing alcohol over time, so more is needed to achieve the same effect.
This can lead to long term alcohol abuse and addiction in order to produce more of the happy chemicals, and may eventually cause the drinker to feel like they need alcohol just to function normally on a daily basis.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol withdrawal can happen to anyone who drinks heavily for many months or years and then suddenly stops.
As the body is used to having alcohol in its system, it has adjusted to reduce the sedative effect by keeping the brain in a more alert state. When the alcohol level drops, the body will take some time to catch up.
This can result in the following withdrawal symptoms:
- Shaking hands
Alcohol withdrawal is best treated in a supportive and therapeutic environment with plenty of time to relax and ride out the unpleasant effects.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Recovering from alcohol addiction and dependence can be challenging, but help is available if you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction.
An intervention process may be needed to help the alcoholic realise they are dependent on alcohol, to connect their use of alcohol with other problems in their life, and to demonstrate the negative effect their alcohol abuse is having on friends and family.
Once an alcoholic is ready to accept help, there are various therapies and strategies that can be used to help overcome addiction including support groups, 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, acceptance and commitment therapy, and learning techniques for avoiding high-risk situations and relaxing without using alcohol.
Riverside Clinic, Melbourne offers a holistic program, working with the person dependent on alcohol and their family to help overcome the addiction together.
We offer this short term, residential, program as a circuit breaker for individuals in crisis.
Research indicates that most individuals require a minimum of 90 days in treatment to begin to arrest the addictive cycle.
Amanda F. – ex-alcohol addict
Patient of Riverside Clinic
Amanda booked herself into rehab from her beach house in a fit of drunken desperation. “I’m ringing them and I’m ringing my husband saying I’ve got to go here otherwise I’m going to drink myself to death or die.”