What is Alcohol Addiction?
When it comes to chemical substances, there’s one thing that makes alcohol different from other drugs. It’s been socially acceptable and even encouraged for many years.
Joining co-workers for happy hour, toasting with Champagne at a wedding, and enjoying drinks during the holidays are traditional pastimes millions of people take part in. However, when a person starts drinking for reasons other than celebration, alcohol addiction can result.
40% of all hospital beds in the United States are used to treat conditions related to alcohol consumption.
On a fundamental level, alcohol is a drug just like any other. In fact, it’s much more dangerous than a number of illegal drugs. Alcohol addiction can cause serious physical harm, psychological damage, and result in an addict’s life being turned upside down.
If you or a person you love has an addiction, it’s important to understand how dangerous a situation alcoholism is.
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What Are the Symptoms of Alcoholism Addiction?
Many alcoholics can hide their addiction very well. In fact, they may take measures to ensure the people who know them best don’t notice they have a problem.
In addition, many alcoholics learn how to stay composed and act normal when intoxicated. They may even go to work and engage socially while under the influence. These individuals are referred to as high-functioning alcoholics.
High-functioning alcoholics can often go long periods of time without close friends or family discovering they have a problem. Sometimes it takes a harmful event such as a drunk driving accident or health issue to alert loved ones of the addiction. That’s why it’s important to understand the warning signs.
Short-Term Alcohol Addiction Symptoms
Slurred Speech: Consuming large amounts of alcohol will initially effect motor function, causing a range of symptoms including slurred speech.
Clumsiness and unsteady gait: Another symptom caused by impaired motor function, a person who has drank excessively will often lose coordination, causing them to stumble or fall. Poor motor function is also the reason why it is illegal to drive drunk.
Vomiting: The liver can only oxidize about one drink per hour, therefore when alcohol is consumed excessively, a backup of toxins can cause nausea and vomiting.
Long-Term Alcohol Addiction Symptoms
Liver Disease: Because they liver is responsible for filtering the toxins in alcohol, long term use can lead to liver disease, such as Cirrhosis.
Stomach Ulcers: Alcohol can cause stomach ulcers in two ways. One, the alcohol itself erodes the lining of the esophagus or stomach. Another way is by inducing vomiting. The stomach acid in vomit can also cause stomach or esophageal cancer.
Cancer: Mouth, throat, Liver, Colon and Breast cancer are all linked to alcohol. This is due to harmful chemicals found in alcohol, as well as the damaging effects it has on body tissues.
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Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
Partial Hospitalization Treatment
During a Partial Hospitalization Program, a person receives daily therapeutic care. This involves medical supervision by a doctor and drug counseling. For long-term alcoholics, this is a good option. They’ll participate in one-on-one and group sessions led by experienced substance abuse counselors. During treatment, a patient will learn important techniques for coping with life without alcohol.
Intensive Outpatient Treatment
This type of rehabilitation involves a patient completing treatment while continuing their life. While living at home or in a sober living, they’ll return for regular visits with a substance abuse counselor and to attend group sessions. Intensive Outpatient Treatment is an option for people who have obligations they can’t afford to neglect, or who have already completed a higher level of treatment.
Sober Living environments are homes where a person in recovery can live in order to remain in a safe environment while they work on their sobriety. Sober Living can be used in conjunction with a treatment program or without. A Sober Living environment will provide regular drug testing, as well as ensure that the person is attending outside recovery groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery.