Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances in the United States. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, about 14.5 million people reported having an alcohol use disorder in 2019. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse, there are various treatment options available that can help.
IS ALCOHOL RUINING YOUR LIFE?
Signs of Alcohol Dependency
An alcohol use disorder can be difficult to recognize because of how widely accepted drinking alcohol is in American society. However, there are a few signs that may indicate someone is struggling with alcohol dependence:
- Increasing alcohol use
- Having a high tolerance for alcohol
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking
- Avoiding situations without alcohol
- Spending more time drinking alcohol
- Feeling alcohol cravings
- Experiencing increased depression, lethargy or other emotional issues
- Having legal or professional problems, such as an arrest or job loss
- Avoiding contact with loved ones
Because substance use disorders can worsen over time, looking for early warning signs of an addiction is crucial. If an alcohol addiction is identified and treated early, you may be able to avoid major physical and mental health issues that can encourage further problematic alcohol use.
Understanding Alcohol Addiction
An alcohol addiction is a chronic disorder that can include excessive alcohol consumption, loss of control over consumption and a negative emotional state when not drinking alcohol. Once an alcohol dependence has developed, it can be extremely hard to stop or control alcohol use regardless of the social, physical or psychological consequences. Alcohol abuse can show itself in various ways, but typically, an individual may have a substance abuse problem if they drink alcohol often and can’t stay sober for an extended period of time.
Effects of Alcohol on the Body and Brain
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, meaning it slows down the brain and can cause several short-term effects, such as increasing pleasurable feelings and blunting negative emotions. These effects can lead to increased alcohol use, especially during stressful situations.
Drinking alcohol may provide temporary relief, but heavy drinking can cause enhanced negative emotional states in between consumption. This can result in heavier alcohol use, creating a never-ending cycle that’s difficult to break. As alcohol problems continue, they can cause adverse changes in how the brain communicates, making it more difficult to think and move.
Heavy alcohol abuse can also cause organ damage in the liver, pancreas and heart. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that heavy drinking is associated with several cancers, including in the liver, breast, head and neck. Long-term alcohol use can also cause other serious health risks, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Stomach ulcers
- Brain and nerve damage
- Digestive problems
Treatment Options for Alcohol Addiction
Detox and Withdrawal Management
Detox is often the first step of substance abuse treatment and involves removing all traces of alcohol from the body. It provides a safe environment under the supervision of medical professionals to minimize withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of alcohol overdose. Length of detox depends on the severity of your alcohol addiction.
Residential Treatment Program
A residential treatment program offers customized 24-hour care for individuals struggling with a severe alcohol use disorder. Upon admission, you’ll receive a treatment plan outlining the services needed to overcome your drinking problems. These services typically include various therapies, such as:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
You may also attend support groups similar to Alcoholics Anonymous or engage in holistic approaches, including yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy and experiential therapy. Residential programs are ideal for individuals who have tried and failed to stop drinking in the past or are at high risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
A dual diagnosis refers to someone struggling with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Co-occurring disorders can present very similarly, making them hard to treat. A combination of therapy, medication, life skills education and support groups may be used to treat the conditions simultaneously for best results.
Live-In Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Recovery Life Group in Maryland is a luxury rehab center that treats various addictions and co-occurring mental disorders. We offer a small, homelike setting to provide our clients with customized, one-on-one treatment administered by health professionals who understand what they’re going through. Upon entering the program, each individual receives a treatment plan to ensure they receive the right services.
By using a combination of evidence-based and holistic approaches, we focus on treating the whole person and ensuring they feel like family. Call us at (301) 686-3233 or fill out our contact form to learn more about our services and begin your recovery journey today.