Records from the National Institute of Health (NIH) indicated that in 2015, 15.1 million American adults had an alcohol dependency problem. The World Health Organization (WHO), indicate a staggering 3.3 million deaths globally as a yearly result from the harmful use of alcohol.
In the past, individuals with this condition were referred to as an “alcoholic.” However, this is seen as a negative and harmful label. Today, health professionals refer to it as an alcohol use disorder (AUD), which requires alcohol addiction treatment to recover.
This is common amongst both teenagers and adults. Drinking starts very casually at house parties, bars, dinners, family events, holidays, and just a way to relax after a long day. Treatment for alcohol use disorder is often needed.
There are different cases associated with AUD that are categorized as mild, moderate, or severe, with each stage bringing a variety of various symptoms and harmful side effects.
Alcohol Use Disorder: Break the Addiction
Alcohol use disorder is a long-term addiction to alcohol. However, many different forms of treatment can assist an individual’s specific needs. The mission is to find the correct treatment option that will support your recovery from alcoholism so you can get back to living a healthy lifestyle.
Do keep in mind, overcoming alcoholism is a long process. Your best chance of sobriety long-term will come after a successful inpatient or outpatient program and also participation in local support groups and continued counseling. Treating your addiction to alcohol is a very crucial step and investment in your future and well-being. It will not only make a significant difference in your lifestyle, but also the lives around you, such as friends and family.
On a positive note, no matter how severe the alcohol consumption problem may seem, most individuals with alcohol use disorder benefit from some sort of treatment. Research shows that about 1/3 of people who were treated for alcohol-related issues have no further symptoms within one year.
What are the Side Effects of Using Alcohol?
Short term effects:
- Slurred speech
- Vision impairment
- Lack of coordination
- Extreme shifts in mood
- Memory lapses
- Breathing difficulties
- Upset stomach
- Impaired judgment
Long term effects:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Liver disease
- Respiratory infections
- Nerve damage
- Alcohol poisoning
- Sexual problems
- High blood pressure
- Brain damage
What are the Signs of Alcohol Addiction?
- Drinking in private
- Isolating themselves from others
- Blackouts or short term memory loss
- Irritable and extreme mood swings
- Drinking taking over responsibilities and obligations
- Hangover symptoms when not drinking
- Associating with different crowds than usual
- Being in denial
- Getting drunk when you don’t even intend to
- Becoming dependent on alcohol
- Failed attempts to cut back or quit
- Continuing to drink even after acknowledging the harmful effects
Risks of Abusing Alcohol
Excessive drinking over an extended period may come with many risks that are detrimental to your mental and physical health.
To start, it may cause the pancreas to produce toxins that can lead to pancreatitis, which is a dangerous inflammation and swelling of blood vessels in the pancreas that complicates proper digestion.
It may also cause stretching and drooping of the heart muscle, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and even stroke.
There could also be damage to your liver, including liver cancer, fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis.
Excessive drinking may also weaken your immune system, which makes you more vulnerable to diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis.
Your most vulnerable time will be within the first 24 hours of getting drunk, which slows your body’s ability to ward off these infections.
Alcohol Dependence: Do You Fit the Pattern?
When you become alcohol dependent, you may start to exhibit a pattern of behavior that becomes residual. Drinking alcohol becomes a routine and, although you are aware of the adverse effects, you no longer have control over your alcohol consumption.
Narrowing Alcohol Choice
You are continually drinking only one specific brand or a particular type of alcohol beverage, such as the same vodka martinis every night rather than beer and wine varieties.
You may find yourself only going to social events that include alcoholic beverages, or preferring to only hang out with others who are regularly drinking.
Higher Alcohol Tolerance.
When you start drinking more increasingly amounts over time to achieve the previous effects. For example, it now takes you 5 drinks to have the same feeling as you once had with 2 to 3 drinks.
You begin experiencing insomnia, mood swings, and tremors usually the next morning or within a short period after drinking. You may also find yourself drinking to relieve withdrawal symptoms like your hands shaking.
What are Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms?
Withdrawal from alcohol is the change the body goes through once a person suddenly stops drinking after an extended period involving heavy alcohol use. Over time, the brain and the body both become dependent on drinking patterns and frequency. When you abruptly stop drinking, your body becomes deprived of the effects of alcohol and requires time to adjust to functioning without it.
You will start to have mental and physical difficulties when stopping or coming back from the usual consumption. It will slow down your brain function and disrupt the way your nerves communicate.
Over an extended period, your central nervous system adjusts to the constant alcohol in your body. The symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on how much alcohol you’ve consumed and for how long of a period.
The mild symptoms may show as early as 6 hours after your last drink. The more severe issues may be hallucinations about 12 to 24 hours after the last drink. There is also a risk of seizures within the first 2 days after your last drink.
The Importance of Alcohol Detox
Alcohol detox (or detoxification) is when alcohol is completely flushed from your body. With the proper treatments, alcohol detox is primarily treated with medication, medical observation, and counseling.
The right procedures will help an individual overcome the physical and psychological dependence that they have to alcohol. A part of the detox process focuses on maintaining the patient’s system in balance and avoiding physiological upsets.
Medications may be used to help with the process because they reduce the withdrawal symptoms and seizures that come with alcohol withdrawal. Seizures are the most common cause of alcohol withdrawal-related deaths, therefore you may require anticonvulsant drugs.
What are My Options for Alcohol Addiction Treatment?
Alcohol addiction treatment programs will differ for each individual. The most effective types of treatment programs will assist in the safe recovery of an individual during every step of the process. With the expertise of a detox professional, you’ll receive a treatment program specific to your needs.
When it comes to alcohol use disorder treatment, individuals commonly think of a 12 step program or a 28-day inpatient rehab. But thanks to the significant advances in the field over the past 60 years, there are a variety of treatment methods for alcohol use disorder.
Ultimately, what may work for one individual may not for the next. Knowing and understanding all your options may be the most critical first step in getting help.
What Can I Expect at an Inpatient Treatment Program for Alcohol Addiction?
Inpatient rehabs will offer a specifically structured program to address all facets of an individual’s addiction. This will assist with round the clock care and support from a medical staff without the distractions of jobs, school, or social obligations.
Inpatient centers may provide group and individual therapy and promote healthy ways of coping through the process, and educating the individual on proper nutrition and health.
The alcohol addiction treatment program will be based on science, evidence, and professional experience to assist with alcohol sobriety. You will have access to medical professionals and specialists 24 hours a day. Additionally, You will have a set schedule of breakfast in the morning, followed by therapies, counseling, and other activities throughout the day.
This process may last 30 days, 6 months, or longer, depending on the individual’s needs.
What Can I Expect at Outpatient Treatment for Alcohol Addiction?
Outpatient alcohol rehab centers will usually meet every day for the first several weeks or months. Afterward, the number of meetings will depend on the individual’s progress in their recovery.
There are many similarities between inpatient and outpatient rehab programs. Outpatient programs are less intensive and allow you the freedom to go to work or school while continuing to receive treatment.
Outpatient alcohol rehab facilities are a great alternative to the 30, 60, and 90-day inpatient programs. For the individual that has been struggling with alcohol consumption long-term, they may want to consider a more intensive treatment.
Get Help for Alcohol Addiction Today! Contact Ken Seeley Rehab Today!
Here at Ken Seeley Rehab, we are here to help you in your path to recovery. We specialize in individual treatment and counseling to reach a place of healing and sobriety. We understand that no two people recover in the same way or in the same timeframe. Our expertise and careful attention to detail will assist with the recovery process that you need.