When it comes to substance abuse, it's important to understand the symptoms and risks associated with it. If you find yourself unable to reduce your alcohol intake steadily or if you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you try to cut back, don't give up. It's essential to weigh the pros and cons of cutting back on alcohol, ideally with someone you trust, before making a fully informed decision. It's important to note that a 12-ounce can of beer contains the same amount of alcohol as a 5-ounce glass of wine or a mixed drink that contains 1.5 ounces of alcohol.
Replacing one type of drink with another does not help reduce alcohol consumption if you consume the same amount of standard beverages that you normally drink. For people who drink heavily, one of the hardest things to do is make the decision to quit smoking. Those who realize that they cannot reduce the amount of beverages for a significant period of time have likely developed a severe alcohol use disorder or have become what are commonly known as alcoholics. However, before someone decides to simply stop drinking, it's important to understand that, for some people, this can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
If a person has symptoms that suggest alcohol withdrawal, they should see a health professional and get a medical evaluation to determine if they are at risk. When we identify a patient with alcohol withdrawal symptoms, we determine the severity of the risk of withdrawal and then place the patient at the appropriate level of care for that particular patient. Most of the time, a patient can be treated with medication on an outpatient basis; rarely, the patient requires hospitalization. In a medical detoxification program, which is usually the first step in a long-term treatment plan, you enter a specialized center where you will be closely monitored under the supervision of health professionals to keep you as safe and comfortable as possible while controlling your alcohol withdrawal.
Common problems seen in people who suffer from alcohol withdrawal include dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and malnutrition, all of which could lead to serious medical complications. To maintain recovery over time and avoid relapse, ongoing treatment can more comprehensively address the underlying thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that led to alcohol misuse in the first place. The mission of SAMHSA is to lead public health and service delivery initiatives that promote mental health, prevent substance abuse, and provide treatment and support to promote recovery while ensuring equitable access and better outcomes.