Alcoholism is a serious disease which affects almost 18 million Americans, which would translate into one in every twelve adults. Because of the high number of those suffering from some type of addiction or dependence, alcohol has been ranked as the number one sedative that is abused in the United States.

When it comes to fighting over consumption and alcohol dependency, the first step is identifying a problem.

There are signs to look for when you suspect that yourself or someone that you know is suffering from some form of alcohol addiction. A decline in performance in work or school is usually a key sign to look for when alcohol abuse is suspected. People who are suffering from alcohol abuse may also continue to consume alcohol even if his or her drinking is affecting relationships with family members and friends. Those with a drinking problem might engage in risky behavior after consuming alcohol. Many times a person might black out and not remember previous actions that occurred during a night of drinking. After a while, someone with an addiction to alcohol will notice that they need to consume larger amounts of alcohol in order to feel its effect.

Outside of behavioral changes, there are also physical signs of alcohol abuse that can become noticeable. Many people suffering from alcohol addiction suffer from a loss of appetite, which can result in weight loss, however, others might gain weight as a result of consuming large amounts of beer and other types of alcohol. Many times someone eyes can give off information about a person’s drinking problems. A person’s eye may become bloodshot if they are intoxicated. They might also appear to be yellow, which is the result of complications of the liver. One of the easiest symptoms to notice is the constant smell of alcohol on a person’s breath.

If you or someone you know shows some of the symptoms stated above, you should speak to a medical professional about different treatment options that are available to you. A medical professional will have information about different alcohol treatment centers, and the various alcohol treatment programs that they offer. Through open dialog, medical professionals can suggest the best treatment for the severity of one’s alcohol addiction. For people in the early stages of addiction, outpatient alcohol rehab might be recommended. Outpatient alcohol treatment centers allow patients to continue with work or school while still receiving the treatment needed to help them fight their addiction.

If left untreated, alcohol addiction can become fatal. The longer a person keeps drinking, he or she increases the likelihood of developing mouth cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, alcoholic hepatitis, and depression. The sooner of someone taking advantage of the programs offered at alcohol rehab centers, the less of a risk they pose of developing any of the conditions mentioned above. The staff at these alcohol rehab centers are here to assist those suffering from alcohol abuse or dependence achieve the ultimate goal of sobriety, and breaking free from their addiction.

Alcohol addiction isn’t something that should be tackled alone. Withdrawal from alcohol can create severe, and in some cases, fatal side effects, which is why detoxing from alcohol should be done under the supervision of a medical professional. Even though alcohol treatment facilities have qualified professionals who specialize treating addiction, the support of family and friends can go a long way in helping somebody with sobriety.

Sometimes when patients receive treatment for alcohol, especially in an inpatient facility, they might become fearful of relapse when they return home. However, with a strong network of support from family and friends as well as relapse prevention programs, these patients can return with the knowledge they learned and the support of their network to live each day free from addiction.