Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol Addiction

If you feel that you or a loved one’s alcohol consumption is excessive and adverse repercussions have occurred as a result, our center is here to help you. Alcohol addiction is a treatable disease and we will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan that allows you to reclaim your life without dependency on alcohol or other drugs.

While alcohol is legal in the U.S. and most parts of the world, it is still a mind-altering, psychoactive substance that has the ability to ruin lives and families. Although socially acceptable, alcohol misuse frequency results in risky behavior and negative consequences, such as driving while impaired or engaging in domestic violence. In the United States alone, it is estimated that the average person who drives while impaired has done so 80 times before their initial arrest.

Symptoms of Alcoholism

These unfortunate truths, along with an extensive list of relationship and work-related problems, can only be explained by alcohol’s addictive quality.

Alcohol addiction is a chronic disease of the mind and body caused by a chemical and psychological dependence on alcohol. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), in 2012, more than 7% of American adults had an alcohol use disorder.

Symptoms of alcohol dependence include the following:

  • Tremors and shaking the morning after drinking
  • Alcohol-induced conditions and illnesses such as liver disease
  • Memory lapses caused by blackouts while drinking
  • The appearance of withdrawal symptoms when drinking stops
  • Increasing tolerance to alcohol that requires more consumption in order to
  • achieve the same effect
  • Failure to attend to critical responsibilities because of alcohol use
  • Inability to control how much one drinks
  • Making excuses to drink

Alcohol abuse is not necessarily alcoholism but nonetheless, is considered to be an alcohol use disorder. Some people who abuse alcohol are able to set and maintain limits on their drinking- but still, these individuals often engage in self-destructive behavior and are a danger to themselves and others.

This habit can destroy lives in the short-term and has been shown to produce life-threatening health consequences in the long-term.

Alcohol Addiction and Overdose

An overdose is possible for someone who reaches a very high blood alcohol concentration – this is called alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol poisoning is a serious and potentially fatal consequence of drinking an excessive amount of alcohol in a brief period of time. Drinking too much too quickly can adversely affect your breathing, heart rate, and body temperature, leading to coma and death.

A person experiencing alcohol poisoning requires immediate medical attention. If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning, please call 911 immediately.

Alcohol poisoning signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow breathing (less than eight breaths a minute)
  • Irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths)
  • Blue-tinged skin or pale skin
  • Low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Passing out (unconsciousness) and can’t be awakened

Different Levels of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

.02%: The lowest level of intoxication with some measurable impact on the brain and body. The person will feel relaxed, experience an altered mood, and maybe feel a little warmer.

.05%: At this level, behavior may become exaggerated. The person may speak louder and gesticulate more. He or she may also begin to lose the ability to focus eyes, so vision will become blurry. Judgment is also impaired, and coordination is reduced. Visually tracking objects becomes more difficult, as does the ability to respond to unexpected circumstances. Inhibitions will be lowered, although the person will still feel good and may risky decisions such as driving.

.08%: The current limit in most of the United States when it is considered unsafe to drive. The person loses more coordination, and balance, speech, and reaction times will get more severe. Standing still, focusing on objects, and avoiding obstacles such as oncoming traffic are all much harder. Reasoning, judgment, concentration, memory, and ultimately, self-control will be undermined.

.1%: The person is noticeably intoxicated. Reaction time and control are reduced, speech is slurred, thinking and reasoning are slower, and arm and leg coordination are impaired.

.15%: This BAC is very high. The person has much less control over his or her balance and voluntary muscles, so walking and talking have become difficult. Falls may occur, and vomiting may begin.

.2%: Confusion and disorientation are common. Standing and walking may require help from a prop or someone else, as balance and muscle control will have deteriorated markedly. Pain sensations will change, so the person may not be aware of the severity of falls or injuries.

Nausea and vomiting are common occurrences, and the gag reflex will be hindered, which could cause choking and aspirating on vomit. Blackouts begin at this BAC, so the person may engage in behaviors or do things they don’t remember.

.25%: At this point, all physical, mental, emotional, and sensory processing functions are undermined. The person may be numb and at a high risk of choking on vomit, falling and severely hurting or killing oneself.

.3%: Stupor sets in, which is the brain shutting down. It’s like passing out but the appearance of being awake, and yet, the person is unresponsive to nearly all stimuli. There will be little recognition or understanding of the environment if the person remembers anything at all.

.35%: This BAC is the same level as surgical anesthesia. The person is very likely to pass out and may stop breathing.

.4% and over: This level may result in a coma or cause sudden death because the heart or breathing suddenly stops.

Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction is best treated using a comprehensive, evidence-based approach that includes psychotherapies, counseling, and group support. Treatment program formats include partial hospitalization and outpatient and are customized to the individual.

Alcoholism is not just a chemical dependency – it’s usually the product of an underlying mental health condition such as depression, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder. People with untreated emotional issues often turn to drugs and alcohol as a means to self-medicate – an action that never helps, only hurts.

We recognize how critical it is to treat addiction in combination with any mental health condition – focusing on addiction only ignores most of the factors that contribute to it – and leaves the patient alone to resolve the psychological issues they experience without the tools to do so.

Recovery from alcoholism is a lifelong process, but you don’t have to suffer alone. We can help you recover and regain your life!

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