Alcohol use disorder, alcoholism, alcohol addiction—no matter what you call it millions of people across the world suffer from the unhealthy and obsessive consumption of alcohol. In fact, according to the National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 17 million adults over the age of 18 in the United States have an alcohol use disorder.
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is considered a medical condition in which a person’s drinking causes harm yet they continue to drink. There are mild, moderate, and severe AUD. The good news is that with the right treatment, many can and do recover from AUD. In fact, according to research, one-third of people with an AUD who receive treatment remain sober one year later.
If you think that you or a loved one may have an AUD, it’s important to realize that there is hope for a better life free from the bonds of alcohol. Alcoholism can wreak havoc on one’s life. From school or work-related issues to social and family problems, alcohol addiction can have a negative impact on all areas of a person’s life.
SIGNS OF A DRINKING PROBLEM
Futures Recovery Healthcare utilizes compassionate, evidence-based treatment programs to help those adults who are ready to break free from alcohol addiction. Here are some signs that you (or a loved one) may be living with an AUD:
- Continuing to drink despite problems being caused by drinking (legal, family and relationships, work or school, etc.)
- Drinking longer or more than intended
- Experiencing cravings for alcohol or to drink
- Spending significant amounts of time drinking or recovering from it
- Trying to cut down or completely stop drinking but are unable
- Getting into risky and dangerous situations while drinking
- Finding that drinking interferes with responsibilities like work or family
- Continuing drinking even when it’s causing anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues
- Having to drink more to achieve the same effect from alcohol
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when the effects of alcohol are wearing off
Having any of these symptoms may be a cause for concern. The more symptoms you have, the more likely it is that you have an AUD. Additionally, having more of these symptoms of alcohol addiction indicates the level of severity. The more symptoms, the more severe the AUD.
As mentioned, there are millions of Americans who have an AUD or alcohol addiction. In fact, the NIAAA goes on to report that one out of ten children lives in a home with a parent who has a problem with alcohol. Getting the right treatment is the first step to healing not only yourself but also your loved ones who may be impacted by AUD.
THREE TRADITIONAL WAYS TO GET SOBER
When it comes to treatment for an AUD, there are many facets. The first is getting into an alcohol addiction treatment program that provides comprehensive care utilizing evidence-based treatments. Types of behavioral therapy like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT) are useful in the treatment of alcohol issues. (At Futures’ our evidence-based treatment is carried out by highly skilled mental health professionals. Learn more about Futures’ evidence-based treatments here.)
In addition, there are certain medications that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that are helpful in AUD. These medications are intended to help people stop or reduce drinking and decrease the chance of relapse. Some treatment centers offer medication-assisted treatment options as well as medically supervised detox programs.
The next important piece in the treatment of AUD or any other type of addiction is getting a support system after clinical treatment ends. Addiction treatment centers with strong and vibrant alumni groups can help. In addition, support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Refuge Recovery, SMART Recovery, and more play a huge role in helping those with an AUD remain sober for the long haul.
Most people who need help for alcohol addiction begin with treatment—which is a great place to start. Learning more about alcoholism as well as your specific triggers, other co-occurring mental health issues possibly being masked, how family and your past plays into your current situation, and more can be vital in your recovery process. However, once treatment ends, many leaving treatment are fearful of being in the ‘real world’ with no support.
Futures extensive and comprehensive discharge planning specialists help patients locate and connect with the support in their communities they will need to help support their recovery journey.
Additionally, there are those who are unable or unwilling to attend treatment. In both of these situations, support groups like AA have become powerful tools for those seeking long-term recovery from alcohol or another substance.
Seven Popular Apps for Addiction
Today, there is a new twist on support outside of clinical treatment. Smartphone apps for addiction have started to flood the market. And while some of these are helpful as a recovery tool, some are not, it’s important to explore all possible options when it comes to support in your journey to recovery.
There are various apps to help with different pieces of sobriety. Let’s explore a few of the apps for addiction found to be most helpful to those with an AUD or substance use disorder (SUD).
This free sober app acts in much the same way as Facebook. Individuals create an online portfolio and then are able to connect with others who are sober, trying to get sober, or just considering it. Anonymous check-ins on sobriety status (sobriety tracker), mood, and other items are part of this app. In addition, users can turn on their GPS and see others using the app who are working on sobriety nearby. This can be helpful while traveling or if you’re new to an area. This phone app also sends you daily motivational messages to keep you encouraged, as well as a conversation forum and assistance in finding appropriate educational resources and content.
‘Daily Quests’ is one of the most popular additional features of this app. Daily Quests suggests small things to do throughout the day to keep a positive mental attitude, work past triggers, improve your mood, and provide you with positive reinforcement.
Developed by an addiction counselor from Harvard University, this free app helps you to track sobriety dates (sobriety counter) and share the tracking with others who are supporting you. This phone app also sends you daily messages to help you stay motivated, a chat forum, and help to find relevant educational resources and content.
- Twenty-Four Hours a Day
This app is designed to support people in recovery by providing them with daily inspirational messages from their print book. While this app isn’t free, the supportive messages can be saved and you can scroll back to past messages and ahead to upcoming ones.
Created by someone in recovery themselves to help them track their own sobriety milestones, this free app allows users to create sobriety clocks, track days sober, and anything else you may want to track. Nomo has the ability to share these trackers with accountability partners and share your progress on other social networks.
Another free one of the apps for addiction, WEconnect enables users to not only create daily reminders for staying on track with sobriety but also lets you create reminders for check-ins, meetings, therapy sessions, and more. Additionally, there is a list of ‘Clarity Routines’ that list ways to enhance sobriety, stay focused, and create new, healthier habits. From suggestions about creative exercises and spending time in nature to exercising and visiting the doctor, this addiction recovery app is also used by those supporting someone in recovery.
- I Am Sober
Another one of the apps for addiction, I Am Sober, has a free as well as a paid version. This app lets the user track days sober and milestones with support from a like-minded community. It includes daily motivation and offers additional resources for a 24-hour support companion and an extended recovery community and network.
- Joe and Charlie
This one of the apps for addiction also has a free and paid-for version. This app provides readings about the many aspects of addiction and recovery, meditation music, and a huge list of resources for those in recovery or working to become sober.
Each one of these apps offers something a little bit different from the next. All can be helpful supports for maintaining long-term sobriety once you (or your loved one) have left clinical treatment.
However, it’s important to remember that while these apps offer great support, there is no replacement for the hard work and perseverance needed for long-term sobriety. Building a solid foundation with an effective, evidence-based treatment plan is vital. There are those who have experienced years of sobriety without going to an addiction treatment center but they are the exception, not the rule.
If you or someone you love is living with an AUD or SUD take the first brave step and reach out for help today. You don’t have to traverse the path of sobriety alone. Futures is here for those who want to get started on the road to recovery. Contact us today! 866-804-2098