More than 20 million Americans are recovering from a substance use disorder and studies say one-third of people who seek treatment for alcohol problems either recover or substantially reduce drinking within one year. When it comes to addiction, celebrating recovery milestones is key in order to help alter the structure and function of one’s mind as they’re going through treatment. To celebrate the road to recovery with friends, children, colleagues, and other loved ones, every September is proclaimed as National Recovery Month, when the community promotes health and wellness by commemorating individuals in recovery and reducing the stigma often associated with substance use.
National Recovery Month is also a time to learn how to help someone struggling with addiction, and how to spot early warning signs. Overcoming substance use disorder is courageous and difficult; here are the steps to help someone you know or love take action to live a fuller, healthier life.
Recognizing the Signs
Individuals who have alcohol use disorder may hide signs and symptoms of prolonged addiction, making it challenging to recognize the signs of addiction.
Alcoholism has both a physical and psychological dependence. There are many warning signs of alcohol dependence, such as storing alcohol in hidden places, preferring to drink over activities and hobbies, or binge drinking. Denial is also common as the person might not recognize how frequently they drink or how many problems alcohol abuse has created in their lives.
Alcohol intoxication and alcohol withdrawal are also signs to look out for. Intoxication includes behavior problems, unstable moods, and slurred speech while withdrawal presents more physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat, vomiting, and restlessness.
Patterns of alcohol use disorder range from mild to severe, and can develop into even more serious complications if there is no support. It’s ultimately up to the person to stay on track during their recovery journey but there are ways to boost support.
Defining “one drink”
According to The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the following is considered as a standard drink:
- 12 ounces of regular beer (about 5% alcohol)
- 8 to 9 ounces of malt liquor (about 7% alcohol)
- 5 ounces of wine (about 12% alcohol)
- 1.5 ounces of hard liquor or distilled spirits (about 40% alcohol)
Helping a loved one overcome addiction
The best way to approach a loved one with alcohol use disorder is with knowledge, openness, and compassion. An empathetic and judgment-free approach can go a long way in convincing your loved one to get help. Have a meeting with your loved one to discuss concerns about their frequent drinking habits and back it up with examples that you’ve seen of their behavior. This blog post contains many resources on what to know about AUD and more helpful information for you and your loved one can be found on Al-Anon, Alcoholics Anonymous, SAMHSA, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Be prepared that you may receive a negative reaction as your loved one could be in denial, but it’s important to remain calm and give them the time and space they need to think it through. It’s hard to admit that there’s a problem but don’t give up on persistence; offer help, not ultimatums. Do not enable them, as in drinking around them or making excuses for their behavior. If the person is resistant to it, you may need to gather their family, colleagues, and friends to get the person into intervention treatment. Check out 10 additional ways to help a loved one start the road to recovery.
No matter how severe an alcohol use disorder problem may seem, it’s never too late to pursue treatment. There are a variety of treatments available, but before choosing, it’s important to consult a primary care doctor for treatment referrals and medication. Every Qualified Health Plan offered through Nevada Health Link includes guaranteed coverage of the 10 essential health benefits. Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment, are included in all Nevada Health Link health insurance plans. Qualified Health Plans provide Nevadans with more access to quality health care with guaranteed cost-sharing for treatment.
Recovery resources in Nevada
Asking for help is not weak; it’s a sign of strength. The sooner an addiction or substance use disorder is treated, the better the chances are that recovery will be successful. There are a variety of treatment programs throughout Nevada, including:
- Nevada 211: A program from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services focused on connecting Nevadans with services they need.
- Healthier Nevada Resource List: Includes regional treatment centers, detox centers, self-help programs.
- The Nevada Division of Public Behavioral Health – Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Agency (SAPTA) has multiple resources regarding mental and substance use disorders. Cross-check their list of substance abuse disorder treatment providers against your insurance to find a good fit. SAPTA also offers community-based prevention and treatment programs.
- Medication-Assisted Treatment program at Northern Nevada HOPES: This behavioral health program uses medications to support recovery for individuals struggling with alcohol and/or opioid dependence.
- CrossRoads of Southern Nevada: Offers residential drug and alcohol rehab for men & women across Nevada and also accepts Nevada Health Link for insurance.
- National Recovery Month 2022 – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): SAMHSA tracks and lists timely announcements and initiatives that happen throughout the country during Recovery Month, while collaborating with private and public entities to celebrate individuals during their long-term recoveries.
- Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator can help you find treatment locations per zip code.
If you currently don’t have health insurance, but need help, reach out to us at Nevada Health Link. Certain qualifying life events (QLE) may make you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. QLE’s are life-changing events such as job loss, income change, marriage/divorce and birth/adoption of a child to name a few.
Email us at customerserivce@NVHLexchange.nv.gov for any additional questions you may have about Nevada health insurance plans and special enrollment period to see if you’re eligible today.