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Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Over 15 million Americans are affected by alcohol abuse. Consequently, alcohol abuse and addiction are extremely prevalent in the United States. Unfortunately, only about 10% of individuals with alcohol abuse issues seek treatment for alcohol addiction. By definition, alcohol abuse is characterized by heavy drinking or an individual consuming more than one alcoholic beverage per day for women and more than two drinks per day for men. Individuals who partake in alcohol abuse on a frequent basis will eventually develop tolerance and addiction to the substance. As a result, it is vital that these individuals receive help for alcohol addiction from a professional treatment center.

When an individual drinks alcohol, a release of chemicals in the brain will produce feelings of sensation and pleasure. Due to these euphoric and enjoyable effects of alcohol, many individuals become addicted to the substance. After an individual has been routinely drinking alcohol, they will have to frequently increase their alcohol intake in order to experience the chemical release that they have become accustomed to. Ultimately, individuals who partake in frequent alcohol abuse will experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms if they stop drinking suddenly.

Alcohol addiction causes varying adverse physical, psychological, and social effects. For example, alcoholism might cause long-term effects such as weight gain or liver problems. Additionally, alcoholism can cause legal issues or turbulent relationships with friends and loved ones. Therefore, if you or a loved one suffer from alcoholism or alcohol abuse, it is vital that you seek help for alcohol addiction immediately.

What is Alcohol?

Simply put, alcohol is the intoxicating substance found in beer, wine, and liquor. Additionally, alcohol is made through the fermentation of yeast, sugars, and starches. Alcohol has a high potential for abuse and addiction due to its main ingredient; ethanol. Ethanol, a chemical that once consumed, acts as a central nervous system depressant – causing intoxication. Intoxication from this substance is dangerous. This is due to side-effects such as decreased brain function, slurred speech, impaired motor skills, and lowered inhibitions. Overall, ethanol is a substance that causes individuals to become drunk or intoxicated while drinking alcohol.

Different Types of Alcohol

In order to understand what alcohol is, you must be aware of the three main types. Each form of alcohol varies by how it was manufactured and what it was mixed with. For example, the three primary forms of alcohol are:

  • Isopropyl alcohol is used for sterilization, like rubbing alcohol.
  • Methyl alcohol is used in industrial solvents, like paint remover.
  • Ethyl alcohol also referred to as grain alcohol and is the form of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages like beer, wine, or liquor.

Ethyl alcohol is the only form of alcohol meant for human consumption. However, each form of alcohol is toxic to the human body. Ethyl alcohol, or drinking alcohol, comes in varying forms that differ by the amount of alcohol:

  • Beer contains roughly 2-6% alcohol
  • Wine can contain 8-20% alcohol
  • Liqueurs can have 15-60% alcohol
  • Tequila, gin, brandy, rum, whiskey, and vodka typically contain up to 40-50% alcohol

It is extremely important for individuals to pay attention to the amount of alcohol they have consumed. When an individual fails to do so, they often surpass the safe limits of alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, many individuals neglect to monitor their alcohol intake and drink too much in one sitting. Once an individual begins abusing alcohol, it is likely for them to experience negative effects. If you or a loved one abuse alcohol, you must attend a professional alcohol treatment center. As a result, you will prevent the long-term effects of alcohol use.

Is Alcohol Addictive?

Unfortunately, alcohol is an extremely addictive and habit-forming substance. Individuals who consume large amounts of alcohol over a short period of time increase their risk of addiction. To explain further, alcohol addiction develops through several stages.  Each stage of alcohol addiction, or alcoholism, varies in severity. Surprisingly, some individuals develop alcohol addiction with the first drink, sometimes with physical and mental factors of addiction developing rapidly. On the other hand, some individuals develop alcoholism slowly over time. Either way, alcohol addiction is extremely dangerous, deadly, and always requires professional treatment.

Alcohol Consumption and Endorphins

Similar to any addictive substance, alcohol has the ability to affect an individual’s brain chemistry after only one drink. After an individual consumes alcohol, their brain releases a surge of endorphins that causes feelings of pleasure and reward. As a result, the surge of endorphins makes individuals feel happy and exuberant when they drink, causing them to continue. Some individuals use alcohol as a way to socialize with others. Alcohol can be used responsibly, however, individuals who isolate while they drink typically end up suffering from depression and other mental health conditions.

What is Alcohol Tolerance?

The heightened release of endorphins caused by alcohol wears off after the short term effects of alcohol. As a result, the chemical-induced feelings of happiness, pleasure, and satisfaction wear off as well. Due to this, individuals continue to drink alcohol in order to experience those feelings again or to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Drinking alcohol frequently causes an individual to develop a tolerance. Tolerance to alcohol is characterized by an individual requiring more of the substance to produce the desired effect. As an individual drinks more frequently, they are more likely to suffer from adverse side-effects and require professional treatment for their alcoholism.

Dependence on Alcohol

As an individual continues their alcohol consumption, their body and brain will become accustomed to the heightened levels of endorphins provided by alcohol. This stage of alcohol addiction, referred to as dependence, makes it necessary for an individual to consume alcohol in order for their body to function normally. As a result, when an individual who is dependent upon alcohol abruptly stops their alcohol use, they begin to experience symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

What is Alcohol Withdrawal?

Individuals who are dependent upon alcohol and stop their consumption abruptly will experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms. By definition, withdrawal is the body experiencing a volatile reaction due to the substance (alcohol) not being present. For example, symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Trembling or shaking hands
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Fever and chills
  • Confusion
  • Racing heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens

Alcohol Addiction: Physical and Psychological Dependence

Addiction to alcohol includes being physically and psychologically dependent on the substance. For example, people who are psychologically dependent on alcohol will experience mental cravings for alcohol. During this stage of alcoholism, individuals will begin to experience the negative side effects of drinking. For example, the common negative side effects of drinking include financial, legal, and social issues. When individuals are addicted to alcohol, the adverse effects of their drinking do not motivate them to quit.

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

If you are concerned about your or your loved one’s alcohol consumption, it is helpful to be aware of the signs of alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, many individuals attempt to hide their alcohol consumption if they are suffering from alcoholism or alcohol abuse. However, over time the symptoms and signs of alcohol abuse will become more pronounced and more difficult to conceal.

The common signs of alcohol abuse include:

  • Excessive drinking
  • Drinking despite social, legal, or interpersonal issues
  • Alcohol use resulting in mental or physical damage
  • Using alcohol to cope with one’s problems
  • Continuing alcohol consumption despite developing an alcohol-related illness or other physical problems
  • Being defensive or angry when confronted about their alcohol use
  • Feelings of guilt associated with one’s alcohol use
  • Drinking in the morning to treat hangovers
  • Drinking to prevent withdrawal symptoms

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, alcohol addiction is likely. Alcohol addiction can lead to withdrawal symptoms, which have the potential to be severe and life-threatening. Therefore, those suffering from an addiction or dependence on alcohol must attend an alcohol detox.

How is Alcohol Abuse Diagnosed?

Because there are no blood tests that can diagnose or indicate alcohol abuse, addiction specialists diagnose alcohol use disorder based on the information a patient provides. As a result, it is extremely important for patients to be honest about their alcohol abuse and symptoms. While diagnosing alcohol abuse is based on a patient’s personal history, there are several other factors that doctors look for.

The main diagnostic criteria for alcohol addiction include:

  • Increased physical tolerance to alcohol
  • Withdrawal symptoms being present after alcohol use is stopped
  • Inability to quit drinking or frequent relapses
  • Neglecting responsibilities or social activities
  • The amount of time an individual spends drinking
  • Drinking alcohol despite experiencing health issues
  • Strong desires or compulsions to consume alcohol

An accurate diagnosis depends on the honesty of a patient. Doctors and addiction specialists are only there to provide a non-biased diagnosis, therefore, patients can tell them the truth without fear of negative consequences. Recovery is attainable when an individual is honest with their doctor about their alcoholism and attends professional alcohol treatment,

Alcohol Abuse Treatment

If you or a loved one are suffering from alcohol abuse or addiction, South Carolina Addiction Treatment Center is here to help. Addiction to alcohol causes withdrawal symptoms after consumption is ceased. Therefore, attending a professional alcohol detox center is vital for an addicted individual’s health and safety.

Ultimately, the first step in beating alcohol addiction is attending alcohol detox. Because chronic drinkers experience potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms, professional detox is necessary for one’s safety. Fortunately, medical detox facilities administer medications that will help control symptoms of withdrawal and promote comfort during the detoxification process. In addition, alcohol detox provides patients with a safe place to begin their recovery journey and develop an effective treatment plan.

We can provide you with the support, comfort, and medical treatment that you deserve. If you would like to quit drinking and begin a new way of life, call us today to get help for alcohol addiction.