Excessive alcohol use is a nationwide burden, contributing to more than 140,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Understanding how alcohol abuse happens is a vexing problem for many addiction treatment specialists and programs. Symptoms of alcohol abuse often happen gradually, making it harder to identify when casual drinking becomes problematic. Other risk factors like genetics, mental health, and social life can also weigh in on alcohol abuse. As more data becomes available, alcohol use disorder treatment seeks to find the best methods of addressing symptoms of addiction. Here’s what you should know.
The sad reality is that alcohol is linked with numerous diseases and contributes to a growing epidemic. In fact, it’s the country’s third leading cause of preventable deaths with more individuals succumbing to alcohol-induced lifestyle solely due to its wide acceptance. Treatment programs are working to address these increasing numbers and provide clarity on addressing long-term sobriety.
If you or someone you know is looking for alcohol use disorder treatment, it’s important to understand that every person’s needs are different. Speaking with a treatment specialist can provide information on the best steps to take as you work toward healing. Contact us 24/7 directly at 855-281-5588.
Is Alcohol Use Disorder The Same As Alcoholism?
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism describes alcohol use disorder (AUD) as a disease. It is the impaired ability to control or stop alcohol use, even after experiencing adverse occupational, social, and health consequences.
This encompasses all of the conditions that people refer to as:
- Alcohol abuse
- Alcohol dependence
- Alcohol addiction and
Alcohol use disorder is mostly used by medical professionals to diagnose or describe someone with an alcohol problem. Alcoholism, on the other hand, is a non-medical term used to describe problematic drinking. It’s important to note that alcoholism or AUD exists on a spectrum, meaning that symptoms and consequences of abuse or excessive drinking will appear differently in every person. It can range from mild to severe based on levels of dependency and tolerance.
How Much Alcohol Is Too Much?
Our Colorado alcohol rehab program helps individuals understand the disease of addiction and addresses underlying mental health issues that may contribute to ongoing drinking. We’re also available to help individuals and families no matter where they exist on the spectrum of alcohol abuse. Alcohol use disorder treatment is not a one-size-fits-all and a tailored approach as proven to help those in search of long-term sobriety. But how much is too much drinking?
According to the experts, having more than one drink a day, for a woman, or more than two a day for a man means that you are taking too much alcohol. One drink is equal to:
- 1.5 ounces of liquor which includes rum, whisky, and tequila
- 12 ounces of beer
- 5 ounces of wine
When looking at your drinking habits, you should also think about how much alcohol you are taking on average in a week. For very heavy drinking, it means you are taking more than 7 drinks a week for women or 14 drinks a week for men.
How Does Alcohol Use Disorder Affect Men and Women?
Alcohol affects both genders differently, but the results are almost always the same. Alcohol addiction leads to severe health-related issues, which include:
This is one of the most common health related conditions as a result of alcohol use disorder. Every time you drink, your liver filters the alcohol and in the process, some of the cells die. The liver then develops new cells, but, the prolonged misuse of alcohol over the years, reduces the ability for regeneration.
In the end, you will have serious and permanent damage to your liver.
Excessive alcohol use can lead to conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke and heart failure. The excessive drinking of alcohol also contributes to cardiomyopathy, which is a disorder affecting the heart muscle.
Excessive alcohol addiction can cause long-lasting effects on the neurotransmitters in your brain. This decreases their effectiveness. Alcohol use disorder further destroys brain cells and contracts the brain tissue.
There’s an association between drinking too much alcohol and breast cancer. Studies show that women who consume at least one drink a day, have a higher chance of almost 9% of developing breast cancer, than women who don’t.
What are The Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder?
Some people will vehemently deny that they have an alcohol problem. If you are wondering about your or someone you love’s drinking habits, you can take our quiz “ Am I Becoming An Alcoholic ” to shed some light on problematic drinking.
Some of the most prevalent symptoms of alcohol use disorder include:
- An uncontrollable need to drink alcohol
- The lack of control over how much you are drinking
- Having negative thoughts when you do not drink alcohol
- Drinking even under risky situations
- Drinking even when it interferes with your life
- Continuing to drink even when it causes more problems and makes your life worse
- Alienating friends and family in a bid to keep drinking
- Avoiding social activities and other events in bid to go drinking
What Is The First Line Treatment For Alcohol Use Disorder?
Alcohol use disorder treatment is a personal decision. No one can make this decision for you and it’s important to take those first initial steps toward recovery. Our Colorado Springs and Denver alcohol rehab centers can provide you with the tools you need to get started on the path to sobriety. While it’s not an easy journey, a life without alcohol is possible.
But, once you do, you will find that alcohol use disorder is in fact a treatable disease and the effects can be reversed, regardless of what you may have suffered or done.
There are several options for treatment , which include:
Counseling and Support
Therapy is one of the most successful treatment options for alcohol use disorder. Most inpatient treatment facilities offer this option and can help you understand why you suffer from the disorder, and how you can overcome it.
Some treatment options such as the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been extremely successful in the treatment of alcohol use disorder.
If you suffer from severe or moderate AUD, you can have your doctor prescribe some medications to help you. These must however be followed strictly and under very strict supervision, because a person with an addiction may get addicted to anything.
The most common medications used with AUD include;
- Benzodiazepines like lorazepam,
- Alprazolam, and
There are other drug options used to decrease the risks associated with alcohol withdrawal such as seizures.
Residential Inpatient Treatment
Residential treatment is one of the most successful treatment options for people dealing with severe alcohol use disorder.
The person with an addiction will live in the treatment facility for the duration of the treatment, where the medical professionals offer first hand treatment for any withdrawal symptoms and ensure that you are away from any alcohol triggers.
This involves visiting the treatment facility only when you need to go for counseling, and other group activities.
This can be very successful if the treatment program is followed strictly and the person with an addiction has good support from family and friends at home. It also involves group therapy options, AA treatment, and many other programs that will help the person seeking treatment remain sober and avoid relapsing.
AspenRidge Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment Center
We are the leading alcohol use disorder treatment provider in Colorado , including mental health and dual diagnosis. Our treatment options work for individuals seeking a life of sobriety.
We provide lasting solutions and outpatient care programs to individuals and their families suffering from these conditions. Call us today at 855-281-5588. Our compassionate and licensed staff is here to help you move toward long-term recovery.