Alcohol is the most socially accepted drug in America. It is legal and socially acceptable to drink alcohol in many settings, from religious ceremonies to social functions and in the privacy of your home. Some people who drink alcohol regularly never become addicted or need alcohol rehab to stop drinking. For others, the first time they drink alcohol is the first step towards dependency and addiction. Its legality and social stamp of approval are what make it such a dangerous drug. It is readily available to anyone of legal age who has the money to buy it.
The distinction between acceptable social drinking and excessive drinking is the impact alcohol has on a person’s life. Once they begin craving it, alcohol takes control over their life instead of the other way around. It isn’t unusual for alcoholics to boast that they can stop drinking any time they want to. They might not even realize that they have an addiction to alcohol. Some people decide to “cut back” or cut out drinking altogether. Once they become addicted, it’s almost impossible to stop drinking on their own. Trying to stop without the help of an alcohol rehab facility is not only ineffective – it’s also potentially dangerous.
Alcoholism isn’t just a bad habit that some people exhibit out of weakness. It’s a medical disorder that impacts every aspect of a person’s life. Alcoholism, or alcohol dependency, can be treated. There are new techniques and medications that help make alcohol rehab safer and more tolerable. Reading the information below will help you understand alcohol addiction and the treatment options available to you. If you’re concerned about a loved one’s drinking habits, the information below will help you determine if they are abusing alcohol.
What Is Alcohol?
Alcohol collectively refers to a range of beverages made by fermenting fruits, grains, and other sugar sources. The fermentation process creates ethanol, a simple alcohol. Types of alcoholic drinks include beer, wine, and liquor, like rum, tequila, and vodka. Every type of alcoholic beverage contains ethanol, although in varying amounts. It is the ethanol that gives the alcohol its intoxicating effects. Some types of drinks will get you intoxicated much faster due to their ethanol content.
Alcohol is measured in terms of alcohol by volume or ABV. Beer has the lowest ABV with an average ABV of 4.5%. Wine has an average ABV of 11.6% alcohol while liquors average at 37% ABV. That means it takes about twice as much beer to get the same effect as you would from wine. On the other hand, liquor is the most intoxicating form of alcohol, taking only a fraction of the amount of beer you would need to drink in order to feel drunk.
Although alcohol is described as “intoxicating”, it doesn’t lead to happy, upbeat feelings like other types of drugs. Alcohol is a depressant that lowers your mood by altering the brain’s chemistry.
Some of the common effects of alcohol include:
- Impaired Judgment
- Slurred Speech
- Impaired Motor Skills
- Difficulty Walking
Alcohol Abuse Statistics
The National Institute of Alcohol and Alcoholism (NIAAA) performs research on the causes, consequences, treatment, and prevention of alcoholism. According to the NIAAA, 86.4% of Americans aged 18 years and older report having drunk alcohol at some time during their lives. A 2015 survey on drug use and health revealed that 15.1 million adults aged 18 and older had an alcohol disorder during the year of the study. In comparison, only 1.3 million received treatment at an alcohol rehab facility.
Who Is at Risk of Alcohol Abuse?
Alcoholism can happen to anyone at any time of their life. Males and females of any age and in any socioeconomic group can develop an addiction to alcohol. Everyone has their own unique path to alcoholism, but many share some common factors. Some reasons that people abuse alcohol include…
– Dealing with a stressful environment
– A history of family alcohol use disorder
– Mental illness or depression
– Peer pressure
– Low self-esteem
Underage Alcohol Abuse
Underage drinking has become a serious public health problem in this country. Alcohol is the most widely abused substance among our youth. The consequences of underage drinking extend beyond the youth’s family. Drinking alcohol often leads to aggressive behavior which turns into property damage, injuries, violence, and deaths. These consequences of underage drinking affect everyone in a community. There is no certain area of the country where underage alcohol abuse is more of a problem than in other areas. It’s a concern that impacts every region nationwide.
The NIAAA statistics on underage drinking only reiterate the seriousness of the issue in this country. Research shows that about 33% of teens have tried alcohol by the age of 15. That number nearly doubles at 60% by the age of 18. People aged 12 through 20 account for 11% of all the alcohol consumed in the country. The reason this statistic is so high is that people in this age group consume over 90% of the alcohol they drink by binge drinking. In addition to increasing the effects of alcohol abuse, binge drinking also increases the risk of having alcohol-related problems later in life.
Common Signs of Alcohol Abuse
Sometimes it’s easy for the line that separates acceptable social drinking and alcohol abuse to become blurred. People often question whether a loved one is having problems controlling their alcohol use. It might be more difficult to accept that they have lost control of their own alcohol use. Some signs that signal that alcohol abuse might be a problem include:
- Short-term memory loss
- Drinking alone
- Excessive drinking
- Ignoring responsibilities to drink
- Harmful alcohol use that leads to a mental and physical change
- Drinking as a means to cope with interpersonal issues
- Feeling hungover when not drinking
- Continuing to drink despite alcohol-related illness
- Extreme mood swings
Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, occurs when using alcohol becomes the most important part of a person’s life. It has a negative impact that only gets worse as they let drinking alcohol take over their life. They become dependent on alcohol to get them through the day. They develop a tolerance so that they need to drink more to get the same effect. When the person tries to stop drinking, they experience withdrawal symptoms. They no longer have the ability to stop drinking.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Many people attempt to self-treat their alcohol addiction at home instead of going into an alcohol rehab center. The cost, fear of withdrawal symptoms, or a lack of information prevent them from getting the medical help they need. Trying to detox at home is dangerous. When they suddenly stop drinking alcohol, the body begins to go through withdrawal. These symptoms are painful, and they can last for weeks. During withdrawal, the person might experience hallucinations, seizures, or even heart failure. When the symptoms become too painful, the person might start drinking again to get relief. On the other end of the scale, they might have severe consequences including death.
Alcohol Withdrawal FAQs
What are the signs of alcohol withdrawal?
The signs of alcohol withdrawal usually begin within six to twelve hours after the person’s last drink. They might experience any of the following:
- Mild Anxiety
- Clammy, Pale Skin
- Rapid Heart Rate
- Mood Swings
- Dilated Pupils
- Loss of Appetite
The intensity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms depends on the amount of alcohol the person drinks. For heavy drinkers, withdrawal is potentially life-threatening and can result in seizures or “delirium tremens.”
For how long can one experience alcohol withdrawal?
Everyone is different when it comes to the length and severity of withdrawal symptoms. While most people begin experiencing symptoms around eight hours after their last drink, some begin as quickly as two hours after they stop drinking. For some, withdrawal symptoms last a week while others might last for several weeks.
Can you die from alcohol withdrawal?
While it isn’t common, it is possible to die from alcohol withdrawal. People who drink heavily are at the greatest risk of having severe seizures which could result in death in several ways. For example, the seizures might cause food aspiration that results in their choking or they might strike their head on a hard surface. Also, withdrawal might cause heart arrhythmias as well as liver or kidney dysfunction. These risks are much greater when a person doesn’t have medical supervision while undergoing alcohol withdrawal.
What are the symptoms of Delirium Tremens?
Delirium tremens is often referred to as the DTs or the shakes. It’s a condition of the mental or nervous system that occurs when a heavy drinker stops drinking alcohol. Most of the time, people who experience Delirium Tremens have drunk heavily for more than ten years before stopping suddenly. Symptoms usually begin within 48 to 96 hours after their last drink. Sometimes they occur up to ten days after the last drink. The symptoms also vary in duration. Some people have DTs for about 24 hours while others experience them for as long as five days.
Some common symptoms of DTs include body tremors, confusion, changes in mental function, delirium, hallucinations, restlessness, and fatigue. The most severe cases result in those who have drunk the most for the longest period of time. This can result in seizures which cause the entire body to shake violently. Most of the time, people who go through DTs are hospitalized and sedated to reduce the symptoms. Without managed care, experiencing the DTs can be fatal in a percentage of people.
How do you cope with the physically and psychologically uncomfortable experience relating to alcohol detox?
There are two types of alcohol detox: Cold turkey, which is stopping all at once, and tapering, which is gradually reducing the amount of alcohol consumed. Medically assisted detox that is performed in alcohol rehab centers is the safest method of all.
During medically assisted treatment, individuals are made safer and more comfortable during the detoxification stage. They have access to immediate medical intervention to reduce the risk of painful or dangerous withdrawal symptoms. A variety of medications are available to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and any related complications. Popular medications used to reduce alcohol cravings include:
Medically assisted treatment is one advantage of inpatient treatment in an alcohol rehab center. Residential treatment allows rehab professionals to assess the individual’s needs and their specific risks. Custom treatment programs provide options that meet the need of the person.
Another benefit of residential alcohol rehab is that it allows the recovering alcoholic to heal in an environment free from influences. It’s a chance to get safe, comfortable care in a setting that is free from stress and temptation.
Why Satori Is the Preferred Alcohol Rehab Center
The alcohol detox program at Satori Recovery Center provides guests with the greatest amount of relief from symptoms. They receive around-the-clock medical monitoring and supervision. Every effort is made to ensure their health and safety throughout detoxification and beyond.
Satori offers individual therapy to help guests understand the root causes of their addiction and to help prevent them from relapsing after the initial treatment phases. EMDR therapy is also offered to guests who have past trauma and mental health issues, including anxiety and depression.
Group therapy offers individuals the chance to share their experiences with others facing the same challenges that they are. It’s the perfect setting to gain influence in every area of their lives including family, social, religious, and cultural issues that impact their behaviors and self-image.
Relapse prevention is one of the most important components of a successful alcohol rehab program. Satori uses mindfulness and meditation to help the individual relate to cravings differently. Through Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP), they learn techniques that help their rehab last.
No one should go through alcohol rehab alone regardless of their reasons. Satori offers a diversity of therapies to create a treatment plan that is right for you or your loved one. Contact Satori today to learn more about our residential alcohol rehab program. Get the medically-supervised treatment you need to lead a happier life in sobriety.