Addiction is a state in which you become so dependent on a substance or activity that you can’t function without it. It shouldn’t be confused with a moral or emotional weakness; addiction is a physical disease that requires professional treatment.


How the addiction manifests in someone depends on their unique nature, but common addictions include drugs,alcohol, gambling, and sex.


At Umbrella HealthCare, Dr. John Lewis and the staff practice addiction medicine, which uses evidence-based techniques to help you overcome your dependency and regain your mental and physical health. For those suffering from alcohol dependency, now known as alcohol use disorder, here are five subtle signs that you need help and what we can do to get you on the path to recovery.


Addiction behavior


Some of the most common signs of alcohol dependency are those you typically see in movie depictions of drunk people. They include:

  • Lack of coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired thinking
  • Engaging in risky behavior like drunken driving or unprotected sex
  • Distress when access to alcohol is blocked

But there are subtle signs, as well. Here are five:

  1. Irritability, even with small things
  2. Stashing bottles away so you’ll always have a drink at hand
  3. Pervasive problems at work, home, and school because of alcohol use
  4. Neglecting nutritional health and personal care
  5. Personality changes

As the dependence grows, you generally need more alcohol to get the same high you did before, and you spend all your time and money fueling the addiction but repeatedly deny that you have a problem.


Physical problems


Alcohol dependency causes physical as well as psychological problems. MRI scans of addicts show changes in brain activity, as well as serious physical harm, including heart, lung, kidney, and liver damage. Addiction can also lead to premature death from heart attacks, strokes, overdoses, and suicides.


Why you need an addiction medicine specialist


If you’re dependent on alcohol and suddenly stop drinking, you experience withdrawal symptoms, which can start as soon as two hours after the last drink and continue for weeks. These symptoms may include shaking, anxiety, increased pulse and blood pressure, and an overwhelming desire for a drink that can lead you to self-sabotage your recovery.


You can also experience delirium tremens (DTs), a severe withdrawal symptom that comes with confusion, fever, and a rapid heartbeat.


Because some of the withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening, withdrawal and recovery should be supervised by an addiction medicine specialist.


Treating alcohol dependence


When you come into Umbrella HealthCare for alcohol dependence, we first take a complete history, including how long, how often, and how heavily you’ve been drinking. Then we draw up an individualized treatment plan, which may include:


Talk therapies


Talk therapy allows you to air your problems and learn how to circumvent your addiction. Types of therapy include interpersonal psychotherapy, which helps you process problems that make you vulnerable to addiction so you can overcome them; and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which allows you to think in new and different ways, giving you the tools you need to cope with your problems head-on.




Medications can also be helpful. Suboxone, for example, lessens the effects of withdrawal,  making it easier to stop drinking. You may also benefit from antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, as depression and anxiety often occur alongside addiction.


Do you see the signs of alcohol dependency in yourself or a loved one? If so, it’s time to come into Umbrella HealthCare in Phoenix, Arizona, today for an evaluation and treatment plan that will put you on the road to recovery. To start, give our office a call at 623-242-1389, or book online with us today.

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