Alcohol Addiction and Treatment
Alcohol is one of the most widely abused substances in the world, and while it is not always addictive, it can have many negative consequences for those who abuse it.
According to a survey conducted in 2010, over 50 percent of people in the United States over the age of 18 consume alcohol on a regular basis.
It is also one of the most highly abused substances among teenagers due to ease of accessibility and peer pressure.
Alcohol affects everyone differently depending on a variety of factors including size, sex, metabolism and body build.
These factors also contribute to an individual’s susceptibility to developing an addiction to alcohol.
Alcohol consumption can put individuals into risky situations. Often, those who abuse alcohol may engage in heavy drinking or binge drinking. In addition to risky behavior such as driving under the influence, those who consume copious amounts of alcohol put themselves at risk of unwanted physical attention, violence and health complications, such as alcohol poisoning. Alcohol on its own can cause a number of side effects, but taken in combination with other substances, it can be lethal.
Are you or your loved one at risk of alcohol abuse?
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Signs of Alcohol Abuse
Individuals who abuse alcohol often do not display the same symptoms and side effects. Symptoms and side effects manifest differently based on an individual’s background, medical history and other factors. While they all have varying degrees of severity, many consequences of alcohol abuse can lead to life long complications and health issues.
Some may combine alcohol with drugs to amplify the effects of the substances.
The combination of drugs and alcohol not only endangers the individual using the substances, but also those around them. Even small combinations of substances can leave many seriously impaired and unable to drive. Many accidental deaths occur due to these deadly combinations.
There are a variety of signs that may indicate someone is struggling with alcohol abuse. These signs include:
- Lack of interest in friends or family
- Erratic behavior
- Violent behavior
- Decreased involvement in activities
- Inability to control drinking
Many who abuse alcohol experience common short-term side effects that include the following:
- Impaired judgement
- Slurred speech
While short-term side effects do not last, the long-term effects of alcohol abuse can cause life-long complications. These include:
- Liver disease
- Memory loss
- Brain damage
- Heart disease
- Certain types of cancer
Individuals who struggle with alcohol abuse can quickly build tolerances that escalate to physical and psychological dependencies. As tolerance builds, it can be more difficult to identify when individuals are intoxicated and many will not recognize their deteriorating physical condition until something severe happens, including sudden withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms include poor appetite, sleeplessness, shakiness, convulsions and hallucinations.
Too much alcohol consumption can lead to alcohol poisoning. High levels of alcohol in the blood can cause individuals to become unconscious, slip into a coma or even lead to death. Click here to read more about “What is Alcoholism?”
Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
There are a number of options for those struggling with alcohol abuse and addiction. Typically, treatment of alcohol abuse requires inpatient treatment and detoxification. Because alcohol withdrawal symptoms can cause a number of dangerous side effects, it is important for individuals to be under medical supervision. This allows time for the body to adjust to not having alcohol in its system. Many begin using alcohol to self-medicate or escape from stress. It is critical to identify what factors may have contributed to the development of alcohol dependency in order to reduce the likelihood of relapse. An initial assessment of an individual’s experiences helps ensure they receive treatment catered to their specific needs. As many addictive behaviors are fueled by outside motivators including environments, past experiences and other individuals, it is important that young adults are removed from enabling environments and treated in a safe space.
Dual-diagnosis treatment is the process of treating both addiction and the co-occurring disorders that may accompany it. Some co-occurring disorders may be the reason addiction develops and some develop as a result of abuse.
Regardless, it is important that young adults receive individualized care for these disorders to reduce the likelihood of relapse. For many, group and individual therapies are incredibly beneficial. Since alcohol abuse is often created out of peer pressure, it is important for young adults to establish positive, healthy relationships with peers working towards the same goals.
Surrounded by others the same age with similar experiences helps young adults develop strength in their rehabilitation process and motivation to maintain sobriety. Experiential therapies further treatment by allowing young adults to take what they have learned in traditional therapy settings and apply it to real world situations. The ability to deal with triggers and other stressors in life after treatment is critical in helping young adults maintain sobriety.
Sober College aims to provide effective treatment that provides young adults with the tools they need to lead a successful, sober life. Click here for more information about treatment options for alcohol abuse, visit us here.