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Alcohol is a mind-altering substance that is widely accepted throughout all types of social and personal settings. From birthdays and happy hours to weddings and a simple dinner at home, alcohol is part of the fabric of America. And while many people are able to drink responsibly, there are several who are unable to do so. Those who continually abuse alcohol despite the consequences they experience may be experiencing alcohol addiction.
What is Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol addiction is a chronic disease that is characterized by the uncontrollable and compulsive consumption of alcohol. By the time alcohol addiction has fully developed, an individual is physically dependent on alcohol, meaning that they cannot stop drinking without experiencing painful withdrawal symptoms. They are also psychologically dependent on alcohol, as they feel they cannot function without it and constantly crave it. Alcohol addiction is an insidious disease because while someone who has it may want to stop drinking, doing so independently can be near impossible because of how the brain has been impacted by alcohol.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism
Symptoms that develop when someone is actively under the influence of alcohol can include:
- Lowered inhibitions
- Poor decision-making skills
- Slurred speech
- Impaired memory
These symptoms should not be confused for those associated with the disease of alcoholism, as those symptoms often include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Wanting to stop drinking but being unable to do so
- Continuing to drink alcohol despite the consequences drinking causes
- Neglecting responsibilities at home, work, school, or with loved ones because alcohol has become the main focus
- Engaging in dangerous behaviors or activities when under the influence, such as driving or having unprotected sex
- Becoming distant or socially isolating oneself from others in order to keep drinking without interference or judgment
- Developing a sense of panic or concern when unable to access more alcohol
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when unable to drink one’s normal amount
- Regularly needing to increase the amount of alcohol consumed in order to get the sensation of being under the influence
- Having problems in the workplace related to drinking, such as frequently calling in sick, developing withdrawal symptoms at work, or falling behind on responsibilities and assignments because of alcohol use
- Experiencing strong cravings to drink
- Making attempts to cut back the amount that is being consumed to no avail
In addition to these symptoms, someone who is struggling with alcoholism may also develop several physical symptoms, such as:
- Sudden weight loss
- Dry skin and brittle nails due to dehydration
- Broken capillaries on the face
- Yellow-tinted eyes as a result of liver complications
- Bad hygienic practices, such as not laundering clothes or brushing teeth
The severity of a person’s alcoholism can range from being mild to severe. Those individuals with a more mild case of alcoholism will likely show less symptoms than someone with a severe case. However, it is important to remember that everyone is different and experiences this disease in their own unique way. This means that not every alcoholic is going to have the same exact symptoms as each other, however the symptoms listed above are by far the most common.
Alcoholism is a problem that affects millions of Americans on a daily basis. Nearly 15 million people in the country have alcohol use disorder and approximately 88,000 people die each year as a result of alcohol-related causes. On a global scale, 380 million people have alcohol use disorder while a stunning three million people lose their lives each year to alcohol. See below for additional statistics regarding alcoholism:
- More men experience alcohol use disorder than women
- 54.9% of full-time college students drank alcohol within the last month (NSDUH 2018)
- 19.6% of college students reported heavy alcohol use within the last month (NSDUH 2018)
- Teen alcohol use kills 47,000 people each year
- Drunk driving costs the United States nearly $200 billion each year
- Six people die each day from alcohol poisoning
- Alcoholism is the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the country
Benefits of Treatment
Alcoholism is a progressive disease, meaning that it continually gets worse over time. Without the appropriate treatment, those addicted to alcohol can suffer severe and potentially life-threatening mental and physical consequences. And while alcohol addiction cannot be cured, it can be treated. All types of addiction are treated with the two-prong approach of therapy and medication (if medically and/or psychologically necessary). Los Angeles County alcohol treatment is beneficial for a number of reasons, including the following:
Stops active use of alcohol: When a person is still abusing alcohol, they can experience repercussions of their drinking ranging from falling down to overdosing. There is no safe way to abuse alcohol, as each and every time someone uses it, they put themselves in harm’s way. Los Angeles County alcohol treatment helps these individuals immediately stop their active use of alcohol in a safe, secure setting. If withdrawal symptoms develop, which could be deadly in and of themselves, professional treatment services are readily available to keep the patient as healthy as possible.
Identifies underlying causes of alcoholism: Working directly with certified, trained, and experienced therapists, patients attending Los Angeles County alcohol treatment can begin identifying the causes of their alcoholism. When the cause of the problem is identified, it can be accepted and addressed so that it does not continue to impact the patient in ways that push them to engage in self-destructive behaviors like drinking.
Forges connections: Alcohol addiction is a lonely disease. Many people who experience it find themselves isolated and/or estranged from others because they have put their alcohol use above everything else in their lives. When this loneliness is not addressed, the alcohol use perpetuates. However, when enrolled in a professional addiction treatment program, patients can forge connections with others who have shared similar experiences. This can be done through group counseling sessions, 12-Step meetings, and other group activities where patients can bond with one another and establish a strong support system among one another.
Teaches coping skills: Los Angeles county alcohol treatment focuses on providing recovering alcoholics with the coping skills they need to successfully manage their disease. These skills can include behavioral techniques, relapse prevention strategies, holistic skills, and more. Coping skills are a vital necessity in helping keep all recovering alcoholics firmly rooted in their recovery.
These are just merely some of the countless benefits of alcohol addiction treatment. As with any other type of professional addiction treatment, the more effort the patient puts into the program, the more benefits they will receive.
Treatment at Hathaway for Alcoholism
At Hathaway, we are here to support you and help you achieve your recovery goals. We understand the challenges that you have faced as a result of your alcohol addiction and we know how you may be feeling given the road ahead. Our treatment options can meet you where you are in your addiction and help you begin the process of healing.
If you are struggling with alcohol addiction, consider calling us right now. Our admissions specialists are ready to take your calls, answer all of your questions, and get you connected to us so that you can begin recovering.
Do not wait. Let our team of talented, experienced, and compassionate addiction specialists help you make your active alcohol addiction a thing of the past.