Alcohol is the most widely abused drug due to the fact that it is legal and socially acceptable. Most people become alcoholics without noticing. Typically, alcohol starts being abused in college or high school, starting with parties and get-togethers and continuing throughout one’s lifetime. Over recent years, AM Health Care has seen the rate of alcoholism skyrocket as a side effect of COVID-19 and the nationwide lockdowns that took place. Alcohol was a go-to for a lot of people and was easily accessible. Working from home, not having to get ready or go into an office, and the darkness that came along with being in quarantine made for a perfect disaster for addiction to run rampant in people’s lives.
Alcohol is a depressant drug that also happens to be one of the most common and widely accepted drugs in the country. Over 85% of Americans over the age of 18 reported drinking alcohol at some point in their lives, with 54.9% reporting they drank alcohol within the last month. With over half of American adults drinking alcohol on at least a semi-regular basis, alcohol is the most commonly used drug in the nation.
Over a quarter of adults have participated in binge drinking in the past month. A 2015 study reported that one in every three adults experienced an alcohol abuse disorder at some point in their lives, although most did not seek treatment for it.
While alcohol may not often be considered in the same way other drugs usually are, it can cause severe dependency. Alcohol use can affect people differently. While some can drink occasionally and never experience anything resembling addiction, others fall into dependency based on the chemical reaction that alcohol has on the brain and body.
Drinking alcohol releases endorphins in the brain that can cause a feeling of happiness or pleasure. As time passes and alcohol use continues, the brain and body will start to seek that endorphin release caused by alcohol consumption, driving the start of an addiction disorder. That amount of endorphins released can vary from person to person, which is likely why some people can quickly become addicted to alcohol while others will not.
Alcohol addiction can also be a learned behavior. A person who grows up with a parent or family member with an alcohol addiction is more likely to have issues with alcohol themselves in the future. Alcohol is also commonly used by people suffering from anxiety or depression to self-medicate, leading to an addiction disorder.
Much like the drug itself, alcohol addiction can affect people in a variety of ways. Some people may be what is often called a “high-functioning alcoholic,” meaning they seem otherwise normal to most people despite secretly having a dependency on alcohol to feel normal themselves. Others may not be able to accomplish even the smallest task with the use of alcohol.
Those who drink heavily regularly will often experience short-term memory loss or blackouts. They will often feel depressed, restless, or hungover when not drinking alcohol. It is also common to lose interest in other things and avoid social situations where alcohol may not be present.
Someone suffering from alcohol addiction will likely distance themselves from friends and family and begin drinking alone more often. When questioned about their drinking levels, someone suffering from addiction will most likely become defensive or irritable rather than acknowledge their problem.
Alcohol withdrawal can be a severe issue for those seeking recovery. While it is not commonly considered lethal, it is possible to die from the symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
Some people who quit drinking alcohol will not experience much more than headaches, fatigue, and cravings associated with any addiction disorder. However, those who develop a physical dependency through their alcohol use will have a much more difficult time.
Symptoms such as vomiting, sweating, shakes, and anxiety can occur in as little time as six hours after the last drink. Hallucinations can occur after the first day, and seizures can sometimes happen after two days since the last sip of alcohol. In rare cases, people may experience fever, high blood pressure, and an increased heart rate. These symptoms are often the ones that can cause the most severe medical issues, especially in someone who already has cardiac problems.
Getting help is never an easy thing. Most people who seek help with any form of addiction or mental health challenges have jobs, families, bills, and responsibilities they have a hard time walking away from. AM Health Care helps with all of that. Our fully certified clinicians are trained to help get you or a loved one through these times. Alcoholics and addicts alike are protected by the ADAA (Americans With Disabilities Act), and most people who are employed or who have been employed qualify for short-term disability. Our staff is able to help you or a loved one walk through the challenges of life so you can do what’s needed and focus on yourself.
While alcohol addiction does not have a cure, it is treatable with the right recovery program. It is essential to seek help and advice from a medical professional before quitting to avoid the dangers of withdrawal. Withdrawal can be difficult to get through without the proper help and support system in place.
Alcohol addiction is approved for medically-assisted treatment options for those who want it. Drugs such as acamprosate and disulfiram can be used to reduce the cravings associated with recovery from alcohol addiction, whereas naltrexone can reduce symptoms of withdrawal. It is essential to understand that these medications are not a cure for alcohol addiction but tools to be used within a more extensive treatment program.
It is vital to find the recovery options that work best for the individual during any addiction treatment plan. While many people find great success within the plan and support of Twelve Step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, others may prefer other routes to recovery. One-on-one talk therapies are effective alternatives for those who may not be comfortable within a group setting.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, can be a helpful tool in the treatment of alcohol addiction. CBT works by reframing negative thoughts that have recently passed to promote positive reactions and healthier behavior in the future during similar situations. With any addiction disorder, it is crucial to treat the addiction and work on the mental illness that is often the originating cause of most addiction disorders.
At AM Health Care, we believe in finding the recovery method that will work best for you. Every person has different needs when it comes to addiction treatment, and not one thing will work for all people. We can find the facility and program that best fits your needs to receive the best chance at recovery possible. Please reach out to us at 818-383-1297 to learn more about substance abuse treatment options.
Our facilities that offer Alcohol Addiction Treatment: