Alcohol Abuse Treatment at Into Action Recovery Centers
Into Action Recovery Centers offers effective, individualized alcohol treatment programs managed by our experienced staff. We work with each patient to identify the underlying causes of their alcohol dependence and provide them with the resources and tools to successfully detox and overcome their addiction. At our alcohol treatment center, we offer a range of treatment programs, from long-term residential programs and detoxification to outpatient treatment and support programs. Into Action can get you started on the path toward freedom from your addiction, so you can live your life to the fullest.
How Does Alcohol Addiction Start
Alcohol addiction or dependency is a common illness that can develop over many years of drinking. Alcoholics develop a tolerance for alcohol over time, resulting in increased use of alcohol in order to obtain the same effects. While many alcoholics can maintain their lifestyle for years even while drinking, eventually their overwhelming need for alcohol takes over their lives and they can no longer function.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
Although alcohol is legal, many people find themselves struggling to maintain a healthy balance with this popular drug. Often, people who think they’re managing their alcohol consumption ultimately find out they have been misusing alcohol. In fact, according to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use & Health, 14.4 million adults ages 18 and older qualified for an alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2017. The survey also revealed that 401,000 adolescents ages 12 to 17 had AUD.
Alcoholics exhibit different types of drinking behavior. Some alcoholics are binge drinkers, who can go many days or weeks without drinking. However, they go on “benders” where they drink uncontrollably for days, sometimes weeks. Others drink after work or socially, but find themselves consuming more and more alcohol over time. And some alcoholics drink steadily throughout the day, even waking up during the night for a drink.
The negative effects of alcoholism are physical, emotional and behavioral. As the disease takes over the addicted person’s life, they can lose their family, home and job while suffering blackouts, cognitive impairment and liver disease.
Common physical signs of alcohol addiction include:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Lack of coordination (falls, dizziness or poor balance)
- Slurred speech
- Glassy or blank stares
- Rambling or repetitive statements
- Gastrointestinal problems (upset stomach, diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting or vomiting blood)
- Appetite changes
- Burning, tingling or numbness in the arms, legs and feet
Emotional signs of alcohol use disorder include:
- Mood swings
- Panic attacks
- Becoming distressed by the thought of not having access to alcohol
- Anger and irritability
Behavior patterns to look out for include:
- Wanting to stop drinking, but not being able to do so
- Diverting energy from work and family in favor of drinking
- Being secretive about the amount of alcohol consumed and how often
- Denying the possibility of a problem when confronted
- Having problems at work, school or with family because of alcohol
- Excessive thinking about alcohol
- Emotional outbursts when not drinking
- Drinking more, or longer, than intended
- Relying on alcohol to help deal with uncomfortable or difficult moments and thoughts
- Waking up in the middle of the night for a drink
Often, people with AUD will exhibit physical, emotional and behavioral signs simultaneously. Should you notice any combination of these signs in your own life or in a loved one’s or friend’s life, don’t hesitate to call our offices at 844-303-3969 for a confidential conversation.
Is Alcohol Dangerous?
It’s no secret that American society enjoys and prioritizes alcohol. It’s a part of weddings, birthday celebrations, team events, holidays and even vacations. But that doesn’t mean we’re allowed to overlook the dangers of excessive drinking. Whether it’s one too many drinks at a team event, relying on alcohol to get through a difficult day, drinking to cope with painful trauma, or binge drinking for fun, developing a dependence on alcohol is dangerous.
How Does Alcohol Abuse Affect the Body?
When misused, alcohol negatively affects both the body and the brain. While most people understand that alcohol affects the liver, consuming too much alcohol also slows down the immune system and makes it difficult for the intestines to control bacteria and absorb nutrients.
Alcohol abuse can also cause erectile dysfunction, prevent new bone production, and increase the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis. Other effects on the body include gum disease, tooth decay, esophageal ulcers, stomach ulcers, and hemorrhoids. When people continue to drink large amounts of alcohol, they may experience a long-term risk of jaundice, cirrhosis, and hepatitis or even the breakdown of the pancreas.
Short-term effects of alcohol on the body include:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Distorted vision and hearing
- Decreased perception and coordination
- Anemia or loss of red blood cells
- Impaired judgement
Long-term effects of alcohol on the body include:
- Alcohol poisoning
- Nerve damage
- Sexual problems
- Cancer of the mouth and throat
- Liver disease
- Unintentional injuries like car crashes, falls and burns
- High blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and other cardiovascular problems
How Does Alcohol Abuse Affect the Brain?
Misusing alcohol also affects the brain. As a depressant, alcohol slows down the neurotransmitter GABA. This causes sluggish movement, memory loss, and slowed reflexes. Binge drinking can affect the cerebellum, which regulates balance. That’s why alcoholics often have poor coordination.
Binge drinking also affects the cerebral cortex, which processes new information. When these regions slow down in an unnatural way, the body reacts physically, including dizziness, poor coordination, and blurred and double vision.
Alcohol also affects the hippocampus in the brain, which can lead to blackouts and short-term memory loss. Over time, chronic alcohol use can cause brain volume to decrease. A 2008 study revealed that people who had more than 14 drinks a week over a 20-year timeframe had 1.6% smaller brains than non-drinkers. AUD has also been linked to cognitive decline and memory loss in early old age.
Other long-term effects of chronic drinking on the brain include:
- Wet Brain,” or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a type of dementia caused by a deficiency of thiamine, or vitamin B1, in the brain.
- Diminished gray matter, which includes nerve cells that control muscles and sensory perception
- Loss of visuospatial abilities
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
Quitting alcohol isn’t easy. In fact, quitting alcohol is especially difficult due to its legality and availability. Withdrawal can also be highly dangerous, with some symptoms beginning hours after the last drink.
Most times, the withdrawal symptoms are mild at first. They often include:
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
More moderate withdrawal symptoms include:
- Increased blood pressure
- Excessive sweating
- Palpitations and rapid heart beat
- Elevated body temperature
- Rapid, shallow breathing
The most severe withdrawal symptoms, also known as delirium tremens, include:
- Severe confusion along with disorientation
- Impaired attention
- Visual and auditory hallucinations
- Risk of death
If you or someone you know wants to stop drinking, it’s essential they speak with an addiction treatment professional to find medically supervised detox and withdrawal care.
Alcohol Detox and Addiction Treatment
Typically, treatment for alcohol abuse takes place within an outpatient program or inpatient program, depending on the severity of the addiction. Here at Into Action Recovery Centers, we provide both outpatient and long-term residential programs.
- Outpatient treatment allows the client to receive treatment while continuing to live at home. It is commonly recommended for patients with mild AUD.
- Inpatient treatment requires clients to live onsite at the rehabilitation center. It is often recommended for clients with severer forms of AUD.
Generally, treatment occurs in three distinct phases: alcohol detox, psychotherapy, and peer support.
During detox, alcohol is completely removed from the client’s system. Our on-site medical detox program offers 24/7 monitoring. We also provide individualized detox plans.
Once their body is free of alcohol, clients work with licensed therapists to better understand the behavior patterns that lead to addiction. Therapy also helps clients develop healthier coping strategies and skills, reducing their dependence on alcohol. Clients also undergo family and group therapy around this time, as well as a variety of recovery activities, including:
- Life skills training
- Meditation and mindfulness
- Coping skills education
- Relationship counseling
- Peer support and 12-step groups
- Relapse prevention education and counseling
When it’s time for Into Action Recovery clients to leave recovery, we invite our clients to join our alumni program and supply a customized discharge plan to assist with their long-term recovery.
Alcohol addiction is a chronic disease, but with treatment and rehab, you and your loved one can overcome it. Don’t hesitate to call our offices today at 844-303-3969 if you or someone you love is living with alcohol addiction. We are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
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