Our experience at Elevate Addiction Services has shown us that there are more people in rehab as a result of alcohol abuse than for all other substances. Naturally, this is likely to be because alcohol is not an illegal substance and it’s relatively easy to obtain, although there is a darker side to the story.
It is probably more as a result of our accepting attitude towards alcohol that more people than ever are being exposed to alcohol use and potentially developing addiction illness. It is also the reason alcoholism can affect anyone from any walk of life, which is evidenced by the broad demographic of patients passing through the doors of alcohol treatment centers. However, as alcohol continues to be a problem for a large portion of American society, there are thousands of rehab centers offering alcoholism treatment programs such as Elevate Addiction Services stepping up to the plate to provide effective treatment.
Long-Term Health Risks of Alcohol Abuse
People who have been drinking heavily for a prolonged period of time are likely to have started to develop some of the following long-term health consequences:
- Short-term memory loss, early-onset dementia, learning difficulties
- Heightened symptoms of depression and/or anxiety
- Increased risk of various cancers including breast, liver, colon, throat, etc.
- Social and relationship problems
- High blood pressure
- Risk of stroke
- Cardiovascular disease
- Gastrointestinal problems
How to Recognize Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Due to the fact that alcohol is used by many people in today’s society, it can sometimes be difficult to tell if a person’s drinking is getting out of control. There are a number of factors involved including peer pressure or stressful life events such as the death of a loved one which can serve to drive addictive tendencies in an individual. However, knowing what the signs are a person is struggling with alcoholism and alcohol abuse is important so that loved ones and others close to them can get them the help they need.
Alcohol abuse is often characterized by individuals:
- Using alcohol to cope with negative emotions
- Becoming unreliable with responsibilities at school, work or home
- Experiencing relationship problems
- Having financial difficulties as a result of alcohol abuse
- Risk-taking behavior including driving while under the influence of alcohol
Alcoholism can be characterized by:
- Increased tolerance to the effects of alcohol which makes an individual consume greater volume to repeat the original experience
- Having a strong desire to stop but being unable to, which is a sign of a compulsive need to consume alcohol
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms whenever the individual stops drinking, a sign of physical dependence
- An irretrievable lack of control over alcohol use, with the sufferer unable to determine when to stop
Effective Alcohol Detox and Alcoholism Treatment Programs
The first stage of any rehab program is detox. This is because it is not possible to heal an individual’s unless they are free from the influence of harmful substances and residues in the body left behind by substance abuse. Depending on how long a person has been abusing alcohol, withdrawal symptoms can vary in intensity. We recommend a 30-day residential program to complete detox which gives patients ample time to take things slowly, and more importantly naturally. Addiction doesn’t develop overnight and so there should never be any expectancy that once a person has finished detox, they’re cured.
The second phase of Elevate’s rehab for alcoholism is physical rejuvenation which also lasts 30 days. Physical fitness is incredibly important for patients in rehab as they are likely to be suffering the physical ravages of addiction illness. All substances have the potential for long-term or chronic health conditions and so it is important that a patient’s physical strength is able to battle disease and infection to maximum capacity.
Focusing on improving physical health helps replenish a patient’s energy levels while enrolled in an alcoholism treatment program. Detox from alcohol can be a physically grueling process and by introducing physical exercise shortly after patients can start to build their strength to take on the next stage of their rehabilitation and recovery journey.
Stage three of rehab involves addressing the emotional issues underlying and driving addictive behaviors. Evidence-based therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy are extremely effective in identifying the negative thoughts and feelings that drive the compulsion to use alcohol and teaching patients how to change them. There is a close link between negative emotions and substance use which emotional transformation therapy seeks to break.
Aftercare Following Inpatient Alcoholism Treatment
Treatment for alcoholism doesn’t stop when a patient leaves the best alcohol treatment centers like Elevate. Aftercare programs are designed to help patients in the transition from inpatient rehab to recovery at home. This can be an anxious and vulnerable time for people returning back to the environment they may now associate with alcohol abuse. Some patients return to enabling or chaotic environments where triggers and cravings will be difficult to manage, and the best alcohol treatment centers will offer an aftercare program will provide them with personalized support as they find their place in the world without alcohol.