Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve answered some of the most common questions clients ask before their first stay with us.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimate that 16 million people in the United States suffer from alcohol use disorder (AUD). Unlike other dangerous substances, alcohol is easily accessible. Anyone of legal age can stop by the store and buy liquor as often as they’d like.
Alcoholism creeps up on people. It may start with enjoying the taste or the relaxation it offers. Over time, it’s easy to abuse the substance as a form of unhealthy coping, becoming a severe issue.
In this blog, we’ll look at the following questions to help fight alcohol cravings:
When you consume alcohol, it floods the brain with feel-good chemicals, including dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals trigger your brain’s reward system, which plays a role in alcohol dependence. Over time, the dopamine receptors of the brain are suppressed by alcohol.
Essentially, to decrease cravings for alcohol, the brain must be reset. When you stop drinking alcohol, the lack of dopamine it provides will cause physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. To overcome cravings, you need to remind yourself of why you’ve quit drinking, utilize recovery tools, and seek professional help in more extreme cases.
There are numerous reasons why an individual may seek sobriety from alcohol. Drinking can significantly impact your relationships with friends and family members, your personal health, and your professional life. Both your mental and physical health is affected. Keeping a journal, motivational notes, and other reminders can help keep you on track and focused.
Along with keeping in mind your reasons for sobriety, you can use different tools to avoid the temptations of relapse. Consider the following recovery tips:
Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help with stress and awareness. Taking a step back in moments of weakness gives you strength over falling into temptation.
Sometimes despite all your efforts, overcoming alcohol cannot be done alone. There’s no shame in reaching out for support, whether that be a therapist, psychiatrist, rehab program, or group like Alcoholics Anonymous.
This gives you accountability, and you can also hear other people’s perspectives and learn coping strategies and tools to avoid relapse. Support groups place you with people who have gone through what you have.
Craving can manifest both physically and mentally. It’s the brain’s way of communicating a need for the substance. Over time, the brain develops an alcohol dependence, and removing the substance leads to a drop in dopamine, triggering the cravings.
Alcohol cravings tend to feel like a desperate impatience for the substance. You cannot focus on anything else until you consume more. While everyone will experience different combinations of alcohol cravings, the typical symptoms include the following:
Alcohol cravings derive from withdrawal. When the body is suddenly deprived of a substance it has become dependent on, this can cause adverse reactions. In more extreme cases, consulting with a professional before going cold turkey is essential. Often, doctors will help you wean off the dependent substance, sometimes accompanied by medications.
Along with distracting yourself from cravings with activities and hobbies, you can also replace alcohol with different foods and drinks. When choosing foods to reduce alcohol cravings, focusing on things that fill you up, stabilize blood sugar, and reduce stress is important.
The most effective foods include protein-rich foods that take longer to digest, boost dopamine, and keep you full, complex carbs to stabilize blood sugar levels and increase energy and vitamin-rich foods to aid in detoxing the body and building up the immune system.
Eating well provides the body with alternative methods of experiencing positive feelings. On top of indulging in healthy and rich foods, staying hydrated is incredibly important. Drinking water not only keeps you full, but it also flushes out toxins and helps with detoxing substances from the body.
It can be disappointing to find yourself still dealing with cravings after being sober for so long. Specific triggers like a high-stress day at work or going to an event with drinks can conjure up cravings, even after years of sobriety. Similar to the steps one takes at the beginning of quitting alcohol, you can use distractions, mindfulness, and support from others.
The longer you abstain from alcohol, the more aware you’ll become of your internal triggers. Removing these from your life and finding new activities you enjoy offer an outlet when you feel the cravings coming on. Likewise, being consistent with either therapy or an accountability partner allows you to reach out for help when you feel the urge to relapse.
Alcohol cravings vary from person to person, depending on your past relationship with alcohol, including the amount of alcohol consumed and duration. While the desire to drink never entirely disappears, it can significantly diminish for some. This may take several months or several years. Regardless, someone dependent on alcohol will experience moderate to intense cravings when they first quit drinking.
When you feel the urge to drink, rather than feeling negative emotions like shame or guilt, remind yourself of the reason you chose to quit and practice mindfulness and distractions. Likewise, never be afraid to reach out for help from others.
If you or a loved one struggles with substance use disorders, we have good news. Soul Surgery’s drug and alcohol treatment programs offer support for those struggling with addiction. We focus on safely detoxing the substance from your system through individualized care, therapies, and specialty treatments. Our centers include options such as cognitive behavioral therapy, dual diagnosis treatment, and EMDR therapy.
Our goal is to help you achieve your goals for sobriety. To learn more about who we are and how we can serve you, please contact us today. We look forward to beginning your journey to recovery together.