According to the Centers for Disease Control, 95,000 Americans die from alcohol-related deaths annually, the annual economic impact is an estimated $250 billion. A Denver Post article published in 2019 noted that 25% of Denver-area residents regularly binge drink. Alarmingly, one in three adults in several Colorado counties consumes dangerous levels of alcohol, leading to an increase in mortality rates. A Colorado Department of Health and Environment study showed that over 60 Colorado residents die of excessive drinking. Each day nearly five Colorado deaths can be linked to alcohol.
What factors lead to increases in dangerous drinking habits? Some reports indicate that the alcohol industry’s involvement in advertising and funding science-related reports may have helped drinking look more favorable.
What is Dangerous Drinking?
The National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse noted that normal drinking is no more than three drinks per day and no more than seven drinks per week for women, and no more than four drinks a day or 14 drinks per week is low-risk for men. Dangerous drinking or excessive drinking includes heavier than normal drinking and binge drinking.
The dangers of drinking—either habitually or in larger quantities—are still impactful. Public health measures aimed to reduce alcohol consumption should extend beyond alcoholism.
Alcohol consumption in pregnant women, individuals under the legal drinking age, as well as those with health issues are considered dangerous. Interestingly, while many Americans binge drink, most are not alcoholics. The CDC found that nine out of ten people who drank excessively were not dependent on alcohol.
What are the Dangers of Excessive Alcohol Consumption?
Chronic alcoholism and alcohol use disorder is a growing epidemic in every state across the nation. In fact, alcohol is the most abused drug in America, affecting more than 27 million people. But what is dangerous drinking, and how does it impact so many healthwise?
Issues Caused by Alcohol
Alcoholism shortens the life of Americans by an average of almost 30 years according to the Centers for Disease Control. Moreover, it affects the quality of your life. American Addiction Centers found over 200 illnesses or diseases linked to alcohol overuse. Individuals battling alcohol use disorder may be negatively impacted or more prone to diseases such as:
- Hearing Loss
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Ovarian, prostate, or breast cancer
- Restless leg syndrome
Alcohol also directly correlates with mental health issues DrugRehab.com described the effects of drinking on families. Family members often experience anxiety, depression, and social isolation because they are living with an alcoholic. They may also be victims of emotional or physical abuse. Financial problems also frequently plague individuals and families when alcohol abuse is present. Divorce rates are also very high where alcohol use is frequently present.
Additionally, alcohol’s impact on the body starts with the first sip. The cumulative effects of drinking wine, beer, or spirits can quickly take its toll. Alcohol is known to cause:
- Behavior changes
- Changes in Coordination
- Loss of Motor Functions
- Mood Swings
- Muscle Cramps
- Slurred Speech
- Stomach Distress
Healthline.com points out that memory lapses after drinking may include difficulty recalling recent events or even an entire night. Alcohol is also a leading cause of vehicular deaths. Alcoholism can also lead to dementia. A 2013 study found that almost four in five with Alcohol addiction experience brain functioning problems.
Is Alcohol Use Difficult to Overcome?
As one of the most heavily abused substances, alcohol use disorder can be extremely difficult to overcome. For one, alcohol can cause drastic withdrawals, especially in heavy or long-term drinkers. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:
- Higher than normal blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Shortness of breath
How Do You Know You’ve Crossed the Line?
Despite alcohol being legal throughout the United States, it’s important to understand that it carries significant health impacts not dissimilar to those from illegal substances such as opioids, methamphetamines, marijuana, and other restricted substances. Like these drugs, alcohol can quickly take over a life without warning. While the effects of alcohol can vary from person to person, overall, it’s critical to know the sign of excessive alcohol use and when, exactly, it becomes a problem.
DrugAbuse.com cites these signs that drinking has become a problem:
- Your life centers around your drinking and your concern about getting your next drink.
- Your physical, emotional, and/or mental health is/are deteriorating.
- It is taking increasingly larger amounts of alcohol to satisfy your thirst.
- Your family, friends, coworkers, the boss have expressed concerns about your drinking.
- You have tried unsuccessfully to quit.
- Your behavior a habit has costs you financially or lost workdays and poor job performance.
Seeking Help When Alcohol Use Becomes An Issue
Reasons for reluctance to find alcohol treatment programs and assistance are abundant. Individuals may be in denial, insisting they can “quit anytime.” Others may feel embarrassed or guilty about their problem and how it’s impacting their personal and professional life. Many are reluctant to seek help because they fear social or work repercussions.
Others have difficulty getting to meetings because of distance, work, or family commitments. Some have tried repeatedly to live sober and failed. They are disheartened and depressed. They have lost the confidence or motivation to try again.
Where to Seek Aid
Because it is free and widely available, many people with alcohol abuse issues choose to join a support group. Alcoholics Anonymous groups can be found in most towns and cities throughout America. AA uses a twelve-step program; it provides peer support for
people attempting to overcome alcohol abuse.
To find an Alcoholics Anonymous support group in Colorado, visit AA website here for additional resources. If you live in Colorado, you might also consider a substance abuse addiction recovery and rehab program like those offered at AspenRidge.
How Can AspenRidge Help?
AspenRidge’s trained, board-certified therapists, medical staff, and counselors offer counseling and rehab programs for those who are addicted to alcohol. Our Colorado alcohol addiction treatment programs take on a dual diagnosis approach. We guide clients using evidence- and holistic-based treatment modalities to address alcoholism and the underlying issues that exacerbate it.
Various options include:
- In House Transition Program with Recovery Residences
- Intensive Outpatient Care
- Evening Outpatient Counseling and Support
- REACH Online Counseling and Support
- Alumni Program
Why Online Alcohol Addiction Counseling is So Popular
Thanks to improved technology there is increased use of online counseling, individual, and group therapy for those facing alcohol use issues. Counseling programs assist individuals in their long road to recovery. Online counseling avoids face-to-face contact and gives families and individuals anonymity. Additionally, online counseling for alcohol use disorder can allow more Coloradans access to the assistance they need to overcome the disease of alcoholism.
AspenRidge’s REACH Colorado online alcohol addiction program has received great results and high customer satisfaction from both board-certified counselors and clients. Individual and small-group virtual therapy has been as effective in treating alcohol use disorder as well as the underlying mental health issues that may impact long-term recovery.
How AspenRidge REACH Online Counseling Works
No matter where you live in Colorado, you can access AspenRidge’s REACH alcohol addiction online counseling. All you need is an Internet connection tablet, laptop, or handheld device.
As with all of AspenRidge’s alcohol treatment and rehab programs, REACH has several options. These are geared to patient needs and preferences. Those who sign up for REACH will meet in both individual and group sessions virtually. Meetings take place using video conferencing on AspenRidge’s secure platform.
Option One: Online Intensive Outpatient Program
This is a 12-week counseling program that focuses on patients who need more intensive intervention. Experience, licensed therapists counsel clients online via private, HIPAA compliant video three sessions per week.
Programs are tailored using evidence-based treatment indicators. Techniques include one-on-one therapy, group counseling, and family counseling sessions.
Option Two: Reset
This six-week virtual recovery option helps those with alcohol issues. It deals with how to avoid drinking triggers and urges and mental health and wellness. Counselors in this reboot session work with clients to teach how to make healthier decisions about their drinking. REACH Recovery Reboot is not a rehab program. It does not have a detox component. It is not a support group package like Alcoholics Anonymous.
REACH Reset’s seeks to educate and empower participants. Sessions occur three times a week for six weeks.
Option Three: Online Outpatient Program
This outpatient alcohol abuse treatment program offers extended care treatment. It is intended for those with only a mild need for clinical care. 90-minute group sessions occur once a week. Often patients have completed the twelve-week intensive counseling session and use this option as telehealth support follow-up.
Give us a call at 720-650-8055. We’re there to answer 24/7. An intake counselor who is familiar with all of AspenRidge’s alcohol abuse treatment programs will discuss the best program option with you and your family support group.