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Alcohol Addiction and Abuse

Many adults like to relax at the end of a hard day or workweek with a drink or two. There’s nothing wrong with that. Alcohol consumption is generally a social activity that’s common in many cultures around the world. However, when occasional use turns into abuse and alcohol addiction, it can ruin lives. If you have an alcohol addiction, an alcohol addiction treatment center can help you reach recovery. Look into the alcohol addiction treatment program in Jacksonville, FL today.

How does one know if they have a drinking problem, and what can friends or family members do to help?

Alcohol Addiction: One of America’s Biggest Problems

Recent reporting indicates that about 16 million people over the age of 12 are struggling with some level of alcohol dependence in the US alone. That’s eight times the national rate for opioid abuse, and the numbers continue to climb each year. The rate of alcohol use disorder (AUD) grew by 49 percent in the first decade of the 2000s.

This statistic makes alcohol America’s number one substance abuse problem.

Alcohol Abuse Statistics and Facts You Should Know

We’ve thrown some pretty heavy statistics at you in other sections of this information page. Here are a few more to ponder from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Alcohol misuse doesn’t just affect someone who drinks to excess. It also has an economic and social impact that goes far beyond one’s immediate environment. Globally, alcohol misuse resulted in more than three million deaths in 2013 alone. Alcohol is the 5th leading indicator in premature death and disability, and it’s a factor in more than 200 separate health issues. This includes liver disease, cancer, and a host of preventable injuries.

In the United States, more than 88,000 people die from alcohol-related issues each year. It’s also a contributing factor in more than one-third of all traffic fatalities. That makes alcohol the third largest cause of preventable deaths behind tobacco and a poor diet.

Then, there’s the financial impact of AUD and related disorders.

Alcohol abuse and related issues cost the US $249.0 billion in 2010, according to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. That price includes lost productivity at work, property destruction, legal problems, and medical or rehabilitation treatment for AUD and associated health problems.

The Impact of Underage Drinking

Not only is alcohol misuse hurting adults, but it’s also devastating to our children. More than 10 percent of American kids live in a home affected by alcohol dependency. This causes a generational effect because children of alcoholics have a greater than 50 percent chance of developing a substance use disorder themselves. Early-onset drinking is also a warning sign of future addiction. About 20 percent of college students meet the mental health assessment criteria for alcohol dependence or addiction.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) occurs when a pregnant woman drinks. No one knows what amount of alcohol consumption – if any – is safe for a developing fetus. But, the resulting genetic development issues can impact children for life, affecting their behavior and ability to learn. They also have higher rates of addiction problems. One study determined that children of alcoholics have a smaller amygdala. This is the portion of the brain that controls emotional development and abnormal serotonin levels. The genetic predisposition to alcohol misuse leads to an inability to recognize the signs of over-drinking.

Why Is Alcohol Addictive?

As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol makes those who imbibe feel relaxed and at ease while lowering their inhibitions. This is why you’ll see depictions in film and on TV of people unwinding over drinks or having a little something before engaging with others in a social setting. It’s also one of the components of alcohol use that make it so habit-forming, and it contributes to risky behavior.

Frequent use changes the way the brain functions on a cellular level by increasing the signaling of the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) inhibitors. This is the same function that makes anti-anxiety medications and sedatives so effective. GABA is the primary inhibiting neurotransmitter in the brain. Habitual drinking causes the brain to become more reliant on outside stimulation to function correctly, and those who try to quit drinking or drugging will experience withdrawal from addictive substances.

First, tolerance builds up in the user, meaning they require more alcohol or drugs to gain the desired effect. Eventually, they become physically and/or psychologically dependent on substances just to feel normal. Not everyone who drinks becomes addicted. However, long-term or heavy use eventually leads to health, financial, and emotional problems in about one in eight people.

The Social Component of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol is, above all else, a very social drug. Friends meet for drinks, most people use alcohol in most celebrations, and even those who don’t generally drink will raise a glass on New Year’s Eve. Not everyone who does so will develop alcoholism. However, the social aspects of alcohol use and active encouragement from all corners to “relax and have a drink” make staying sober more difficult.

The other side of the social elements of drinking to excess is the effect it has on families and society as a whole. Alcohol misuse is a contributing factor in poor health, poverty rates, unemployment, divorce, and a host of other social ills.

Is All Alcohol Equal?

Alcohol is brewed or fermented in a range of flavors, varieties, and strengths. When someone is deep into alcohol addiction, almost any beverage will do. However, some feel that drinking weaker forms of the substance is okay regardless of how much they consume.

Alcoholism can develop as quickly as someone who sips sherry as it can with the person who pounds down shots and chases them with beer. The issue isn’t the beverage of choice. It’s the disease.

The Problem of Binge Drinking

As we touched upon earlier, youth drinking is a severe problem. Although alcohol abuse statistics cover those ages 12 and up, there is a significant problem on college campuses in the US and elsewhere: binge drinking.

This type of drinking involves consuming large amounts of alcohol within a very short time at parties or other social gatherings, and it was once a right of passage for college students. The problem mainly affects individuals between the ages of 18 and 24, but it’s increasing among high school-age children. A 2015 study conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)found that 37.9 percent of college students indulged in binging on alcohol during the previous month. That’s five percentage points higher than other individuals in the same age range, and the annual rate of this type of excess occurs with more than five million people over the age of 12.

Each year, binging on alcoholic beverages contributes to:

  • Nearly three-quarters of the total economic cost of alcohol misuse
  • More than 696,000 student assaults
  • Nearly 2,000 deaths of college-age kids
  • About 190,000 on-campus sexual assaults

Is There Help for Substance Use Disorders?

One of the first organized platforms to offer support for recovering alcoholics is Alcohol Anonymous. Since the creation of this program, millions of substance abusers have found a new purpose and meaning to life. The 12-step model that the program is based around has been replicated by groups supporting recovery, eating disorders, and other addictions.

However, AA is not the only game in town. Since research has surfaced regarding the links between everything from liver disorders to birth defects, those in the recovery community have sought various therapies and methods to help alcoholics find meaning in sobriety. These options range from behavioral to alternative therapies in settings that are conducive to wellness.

You’re not alone. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) reported that 815,390 called their helpline in 2017. If you or someone you care about needs recovery assistance, there’s a compassionate place in your community that will match your needs, Lifestyle, and wellness goals.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Alcohol may be the only drug that’s not only socially acceptable but actively pushed on people on a daily basis. This makes it difficult for those who have substance abuse issues. Fortunately, you have options for alcohol addiction treatment center in Jacksonville.

How is Alcohol Addiction Treated?

Few people are self-aware enough and have the willpower to stop drinking on their own when they’re addicted to alcohol. Often, there are serious issues that prompt the drinker or someone close to them to contact an alcohol treatment center. Interventions are one way that people who are close to the alcoholic can demonstrate how much damage their problem drinking is doing in their life.

However, the alcoholic must be aware that they have a problem so that recovery is possible. You can find that help 24/7 by calling 866.957.4960 today.

Alcohol addiction treatment can range from joining a 12-step program like Alcoholics Anonymous to an extended stay in an alcohol treatment center. As far as alcohol treatment, some medications can be used in addition to cognitive behavior therapy, private and group counseling, and relapse prevention coaching.

However, the relapse rates are as high as 60 percent, so aftercare is essential for long-term recovery. Any high-quality alcohol treatment program will include most, if not all, of these components.

Will an Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center Cure me?

No stay in an alcohol addiction treatment center can “cure” alcoholism. Recovery is often a life-long struggle that individuals deal with for years after leaving treatment. Alcohol use disorder, what doctors call it when you drink too much, too often, is able to become managed, but it cannot be cured. Substance abuse changes brain chemistry and how the brain processes information, and it can lead to permanent damage. Some of the health effects of alcoholism can also be managed, but many are irreversible.

Alcoholics deal with cravings that can become overwhelming even years after taking their last drink.

This is not to cause you to lose hope. Most people in recovery successfully quit drinking and lead productive, happy lives. They even act as mentors or sponsors for newly sober individuals. We just want to make you aware that it isn’t easy to change your lifestyle, and that it is an ongoing process that will be filled with temptations, frustrations, and triumphs.

At the alcohol addiction treatment center in Jacksonville, FL, our goal is to provide you with the support, tools, and coping skills necessary for life-long sobriety.

Overcoming Alcohol Addiction

Your experience with alcohol addiction treatment depends on whether you join your local AA meeting, you’re seeking intensive outpatient care, or you’re moving into a treatment facility. The best path to recovery is to remove yourself from your current environment while you detox. Any treatment at an approved facility with qualified addiction experts is mandated under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Your stay will begin with an intake and assessment of your mental and physical health. Depending on the degree and severity of your condition, you could be given medications to keep you comfortable during alcohol detoxification. This usually begins about six hours after taking your last drink, and it can continue for several days. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Severe anxiety
  • Hallucinations, which are caused by delirium tremens (DTs); this can be life-threatening
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Body tremors
  • Unstable blood pressure and heart rate

What Comes After an Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program in Jacksonville, FL?

Once your body and mind are free from alcohol, we can begin to work on the deeper issues that led to your problem drinking in the first place. This part is especially important in a society that encourages drinking, and where messages about the relaxing, intoxicating effects of alcohol use are considered an excellent way to unwind after a long day or to toast an occasion.

Through group and individual counseling sessions, you’ll uncover what triggers you to take a drink, how to handle cravings and temptations, and how to enjoy a full life while being always encouraged to “Just have a drink.” Our counselors can diagnose and help you manage underlying psychiatric issues and disorders, help you gain confidence if your drinking was rooted in social awkwardness, provide you with tools to get you through the tough times after you re-enter society clean and sober.

You’ll also have ongoing support after leaving rehab through an individualized aftercare plan. This can take to form of mental health services, vocational training, social support, and peer support through group sessions. Stepping Stone Center for Recovery will even pair you with a certified relapse prevention coach. If you are among the 40 percent or so who slip, we’ve created a relapse prevention program to refresh and reinforce the counseling and lessons learned during your initial rehab experience.

Medications Used at an Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center

The use of medicines during alcohol addiction treatment has enabled many people to quit drinking without the pain and discomfort of withdrawal. The medications used throughout the rehab process can help relieve symptoms of anxiety, ease physical pain, and prevent drinking once you leave the treatment center.

The most commonly used alcohol detox drugs are:

  • Disulfiram: More widely known under the brand name Antabuse, this drug has been around for nearly 100 years. It was administered initially in large doses as a form of aversion therapy because it causes a severe physical reaction when alcohol is taken, even in small amounts. Now, it’s used in lower dosages for ongoing sobriety support.
  • Naltrexone: This drug is sold under the brand names Revia and Depade, and as an extended-release injectable given once a month under the trade name Vivitrol. Naltrexone works by blocking receptors in the portion of the brain that’s stimulated by alcohol use. This prevents users from experiencing the pleasurable intoxicating effects of alcohol.
  • Acamprosate: Also called by its brand name, Campral, this drug helps relieve anxiety and physical discomfort experienced during the detoxification process. It also reduces alcohol cravings for long-term medical maintenance after leaving active rehabilitation therapy.

You may also receive treatment or medications for underlying health and mental health problems like depression or bipolar disorder.

Choosing the Best Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center

Many factors go into choosing the right alcohol treatment center for you. Outpatient treatment is for those who have a low risk of relapse and/or family and work obligations that can’t be re-arranged. Most individuals look for a comfortable, safe place that’s affordable and has a strong track record of successfully treating alcohol abuse disorder. Stepping Stone Center for Recovery delivers on those requirements and more.

When you come to our facility, bring with you:

  • Your insurance information
  • Identification
  • A list of questions or concerns, if any, about your treatment
  • A list of all substances you’ve abused

Our goal is to provide you with comprehensive treatment plans that work to heal you in mind, body, and spirit. We’re in it for the long haul, and we’ll be there for you at any stage of your recovery.

Are you ready to begin your alcohol treatment program? Call our 24-hour helpline at 866.957.4960 to start the process.

Are You an Alcoholic? Signs You May Need Treatment for Alcoholism

Many who drink alcohol have done so to excess on occasion. Alcohol use is readily detected even when we think we have everything under control and are acting normally. Out coordination suffers, our speech becomes slurred, and you can often smell it on our breath. It lowers inhibitions and makes us more social, even silly, at times.

When does social use or the occasional overindulgence turn into something that requires a stay at an alcohol treatment center?

Heavy, obvious drinking regularly is considered a warning sign of alcohol use disorder. But, other symptoms are less obvious, and problem drinkers get good at hiding it. At least for a little while.

Answering “yes” to the majority of these questions could mean that you would benefit from an alcohol addiction treatment center.

  • Do you experience blackouts of memory loss while drinking?
  • Do you make excuses or try to rationalize the amount of alcohol you drink, such as blaming a celebration or stress?
  • Does your drinking interfere with family or work obligations?
  • Are you isolating yourself from others or drinking alone?
  • Is there a change in attitude, habits, or your social circle?
  • Do you feel angry or defensive if someone asks about your drinking habits?

Mental health professionals and those in the recovery industry use a different set of criteria to determine if someone needs alcohol addiction treatment. They do so by talking to the individual or a family member, and they use a brief CAGE evaluation to gauge your self-awareness about your drinking habits.

Self Assessment for Alcoholism

Can you answer yes to at least two of the following questions?

  • Have you ever thought that you should cut back on your drinking?
  • Do you feel threatened when someone asks about your drinking?
  • Does your drinking cause you to feel ashamed or guilty?
  • Do you need to take a drink in the morning to stop yourself from shaking or get rid of a hangover?

You can establish if you genuinely have an addiction through this series of questions. This should be a regular pattern of behavior and not just the occasional lapse.

  • Does the person drink more than attended, such as getting drunk after swearing that you’ll only have a drink or two?
  • Are there cravings for alcohol or a preoccupation with the thought of drinking?
  • Does drinking continue despite feelings of anxiety or depression about drinking, negative consequences, or drinking-related health problems?
  • Are formerly enjoyable hobbies or interests falling by the wayside?
  • Does alcohol consumption lead to risky or dangerous behavior like promiscuity or drinking and driving?
  • Are there legal consequences like arrests for DUI, violence, or incarceration?

At Stepping Stone Center for Recovery, we strive to provide alternatives for those who need a safe alcohol treatment center. We will help them overcome addiction to alcohol and other substances. All it takes is a phone call to 866.957.4960 any time, day or night, to find the support you need. Contact us today to speak to our experts at the alcohol addiction treatment center in Jacksonville, FL.

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