Did you start drinking as a way to unwind or at social functions and now wonder if it may have gotten out of control? People can cross the line from drinking a lot sometimes to developing an addiction and have trouble recognizing when this happens. You may think it takes years of steady drinking to develop a real problem, but how long does it take to get addicted to alcohol? Tampa Bay Recovery explores this topic to help you understand if you have fallen into the trappings of an addiction and need professional help. We offer outpatient programs that help you get from detox to sober with the help of our caring, experienced staff.
Signs of Alcohol Addiction
No matter how long it takes to get addicted to alcohol for each person who experiences this substance use disorder, there are common signs they exhibit. These include:
- Drinking daily or several times per week
- Binge drinking regularly
- Drinking enough to maintain at least a buzz or too feel drunk most of each day
- Developing a tolerance to alcohol and having to increase how much you drink to get the same results
- Withdrawal symptoms when not drinking
- Unable to stop drinking on your own
- Frequent hangovers
- Isolating and drinking alone
- Hiding evidence of drinking or lying about it
- Drinking to help ease feelings of depression, anxiety, or anger
- Moodiness or violent actions when drinking
- Change in weight or appetite due to alcohol consumption
How Long Does It Take To Get Addicted to Alcohol?
The answer to, “How long does it take to get addicted to alcohol?” varies depending on a few factors. For instance, it depends on how often a person consumes alcohol and how much they typically drink. Someone who drinks regularly and to excess holds a higher risk of becoming an alcoholic than someone who still only drinks occasionally or in small amounts. Some people begin developing signs of addiction after just several weeks of heavy drinking or binge drinking, while others may take years before it can be diagnosed as an alcohol use disorder.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines binge drinking as consuming five or more drinks on one occasion for men, and four or more for women. It also defines heavy alcohol usage as binge drinking five or more days in the previous month. Once someone makes a habit of binge drinking or heavy drinking, they may have already crossed the line and become addicted to alcohol.
What Causes Alcohol Addiction?
Does the answer to, “How long does it take to get addicted to alcohol?” depend on what causes a person to begin abusing alcohol? Not really, because addiction can come about as a result of different things without regard to how long it takes between the first drink and the time a person needs treatment. Some people have a genetic predisposition to becoming an alcoholic. They often have a family history of addiction, including close relatives who struggled with their ability to stop drinking. As well, growing up around untreated alcoholism can normalize the disease and make a person more likely to follow in the footsteps of family members who abuse alcohol.
Many people end up turning to alcohol to help deal with difficult emotions or mental health disorders. Drinking regularly and excessively initially may feel like a good way to cope with feelings of anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. However, the effects are temporary and the addiction only covers up the real issues, rather than resolves them. A great benefit of attending treatment for alcoholism is that it includes therapy that helps treat the underlying causal factors so that the individual has less of a need to drink.
How is Alcohol Addiction Treated?
No matter how long it takes to get addicted to alcohol for each person, the treatment approach remains the same. It begins by going to detox, which provides medical supervision to help people stay safe while they undergo the first several days of becoming sober. From there, outpatient programs can provide the perfect vehicle for learning to develop healthy coping skills that allow a person to avoid relapsing. Options for outpatient care include Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP). IOP can be done in the day or evening and virtually for those who qualify.
Exposure to different types of therapy that benefit people recovering from alcoholism is the key to learning to get sober and stay that way. Tampa Bay Recovery offers therapy modalities that include:
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Trauma therapy
- Holistic therapy
- Red Light therapy
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR)
Begin Treatment for Alcohol Addiction Today in Tampa, FL
When someone becomes addicted to alcohol, it can prove difficult to recognize the problem right away. How long it takes to get addicted to alcohol depends on a few factors, but the bottom line is that once alcoholism is a reality, the person needs to get treatment. Tampa Bay Recovery understands how complex getting sober can be for a person, which is why we tailor our treatment to meet their specific needs. We provide valuable therapy and prescription medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms and give everyone the ability to stop drinking for good.`
Would you like to talk to someone about getting professional help to stop drinking? Contact us now and start a conversation with one of our friendly admissions staff members.