Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol is the most commonly used drug in America.

It is socially acceptable in many situations and readily available, but it is a powerful drug that when abused has severe and lasting consequences. Most individuals who consume alcohol are able to do so reasonably. However, alcoholics (people addicted to alcohol), are unable to drink any amount of alcohol safely. Their drinking becomes risky and irresponsible and can lead to health issues and emotional turmoil.

Alcohol can completely change an individual’s personality. They may experience momentary boosts of confidence, lapses in moral judgment, euphoria, and relaxation. These symptoms can last for several hours depending on how much is consumed. Alcohol in large quantities severely impacts the brain. Reaction time is slowed and good judgment is impaired.

Alcohol consumption can have severe consequences because it changes a person’s personality so completely. Many times drinking leads to unsafe, criminal and reckless behavior that can lead to drunk driving charges, arrest, and death.

While most adults can drink alcohol safely, binge drinking is what can potentially lead to alcoholism, and where serious and long-term health issues arise. Binge drinking for women is defined as four or more drinks during a single occasion and five or more drinks for men. Binge drinking leads to heavy drinking, which is eight or more drinks per week for women and 15 or more drinks for men.

If you or an individual you are close to is experiencing long lengths of time either binge drinking or heavy drinking in such a way that is leading to serious consequences, it may be time to consider treatment options.

What You Need to Know About Alcohol and Alcoholism

Alcohol and alcohol-related deaths have become a major health issue in the United States. Every year an estimated 88,000 people have lost their lives to this disease. To put that in perspective that equals 2.5 million years in lost life should those people lived to a normal age.  

Alcoholism (also referred to as alcohol use disorder) means that drinking has become problematic. AUD is a continuous brain disease that includes uncontrolled alcohol use, inability to control alcohol intake, and significantly altered emotional states when not under its influence.

Alcohol use disorder is a disease with its own set of symptoms and side effects. It is an illness that is progressive and will absolutely become worse as time goes on if it is left untreated. This is a chronic disease and there isn’t a known cure—but treatment options including recovery centers and 12 step programs help manage this potentially fatal condition.

Symptoms

Alcoholism or alcohol use disorder is a progressive disease and is marked by three distinct stages.

Early Stage

During this stage, an individual may look like they are an average, social drinker. However, there are signs that a person is headed down a path to AUD. A person who is starting to drink to dull physical or emotional pain, alleviate bad memories, or to cope with anxiety may be on a path to more severe alcohol use. Simply put, if a person is drinking to feel better, and not for pure social enjoyment, they may be in the early stages of alcoholism.

Chronic Alcoholism

This stage is marked by the first alcohol-related blackout, which is also considered an alcoholic overdose. During this stage, a person might start lying to friends and family about their use or hide their drinking by spiking their drinks or by drinking alone. They will start to miss work or family functions due to being drunk, drinking in excess, or because of a hangover.

End Stage

During the final stage of alcoholism, the long-term effects of heavy drinking become obvious. Drinking is constant and becomes the primary focus of an individual’s life. Oftentimes an individual will become unemployed (if they haven’t already) due to their alcoholism. Diseases are highly likely, as well as mental issues like becoming overly fearful or paranoid. Individuals in this stage of alcoholism will have serious and dangerous withdrawals that can lead to tremors, hallucinations, and in the worst cases, seizures and death.

Each stage will be marked by physical and behavioral symptoms.

Physical symptoms of alcohol abuse include:

  • Flushed, red skin
  • Loss of coordination
  • Dilated pupils
  • Decrease in core body temperature
  • High blood pressure and heart rate
  • Frequent stumbling
  • Passing out
  • Irregular, slow or shallow breathing
  • Dulled vision and hearing
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Slowed brain activity

Behavioral symptoms of alcohol abuse include:

  • Engaging in risky (and often criminal) behavior
  • Consuming alcohol even when it interferes with work and family responsibilities
  • Continuing to drink despite negative consequences
  • Needing to consume more alcohol to achieve the same effects
  • Poor social judgments
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Extreme mood swings

If you recognize these behaviors and symptoms in yourself and others, it is time to consider receiving help through specific recovery programs that will address these symptoms and the lasting effects they can have.

Statistics

Alcoholism has always been present and pervasive in society, and it is only getting worse. While these statistics may seem discouraging, please keep in mind that there are ways to combat and recover from alcohol use disorder.

  • 17 million adults have a diagnosable alcohol use disorder
  • Nearly one million adolescents have AUD
  • It is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States
  • 40% of all incarcerated inmates were under the influence of alcohol when they committed their offenses
  • 31% of all vehicular deaths involve alcohol impairment

Treatment Options for Alcoholics

An alcoholic person didn’t choose to become an alcoholic, and there are many factors that could be involved. Often times it is genetic or the result of a difficult environment.

Regardless of the reasons why a person has become an alcoholic, it isn’t a matter of who is to blame, but where to turn for recovery. Since alcoholism affects the body, brain and emotional state of a person, specialized and intensive care is the best option for an alcoholic.

Withdrawal from alcohol can be an extremely dangerous process and it must be supervised by medical personnel. Alcohol is a depressant that affects the central nervous system and after prolonged use the body is so used to functioning with alcohol withdrawal can cause serious problems. Some of these problems include delirium tremens that involves shaking, shivering, increased or decreased heart-rate and sweating. Heartattack, seizure and death can also occur with abrupt withdrawal from alcohol. Alcohol detox is safe if done with medical supervision.

Physical effects may include shaking, shivering, irregular heart rate, and sweating.Seizures, heartattack and death are very real possibilities .

Reflections Recovery Center has several programs and treatment plans to help treat the causes and symptoms of alcoholism with the goal of giving each individual their best chance at a life they, not their drinking, is in control. They include:

  • Medical Detox
  • Inpatient/Residential Treatment
  • Continued care through Outpatient Treatment
  • Sober living residences
  • Aftercare programs

Someone with alcohol use disorder can, through these programs, treat the underlying causes of the disease so that they can live a happier and more stable lifestyle. It is a disease that isn’t cured, but individuals can recover from the most serious and life-altering symptoms.

Reflections Recovery is committed to providing emotional, mental, physical, spiritual and social support. It is a comprehensive program where the disease of addiction is treated. Clients are cared for with dignity and respect in an environment that has proven to be successful in treating alcoholism.

Start Your Journey to Recovery

If you have any questions about which treatment program is right for you, please call us at 801-784-9455.

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Treatment Programs

Reflections Recovery Center is a residential drug treatment program located in beautiful Utah valley. Our programs vary from to 30-90 days, depending on each client’s particular needs.

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Insurance & Coverage

At Reflections we understand that determining how the cost of treatment for you or a loved one will be covered can be a daunting and confusing task.