Drinking alcohol has been a part of culture since the dawn of time and there are many reasons why someone may drink. Socialization, celebration, and relaxation are all reasons why people drink but the effects of alcohol use can be a slippery slope. What was once a fun way to unwind with friends or coworkers after a long week can quickly become a source of stress, depression, and negative health issues.
You’re never alone, and Serenity Lane is here to help you navigate the complex issue of alcoholism with our wide range of treatment programs.
What Is Alcoholism?
As described by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a chronic relapsing brain disorder characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.
Research from NIAAA estimates that 15 million people in the United States suffer from AUD. Approximately 5.8 percent—or 14.4 million—adults in the United States ages 18 and older had AUD in 2018; this includes 9.2 million men and 5.3 million women. Adolescents can be diagnosed with the disorder as well, and research found that in 2018, an estimated 401,000 adolescents ages 12-17 were determined to have AUD. Many of these people require treatment programs to help them quit.
How Do I Know If I’m Suffering From Alcohol Addiction?
A diagnosis of alcoholism or alcohol use disorder may be given to someone whose drinking patterns begin to negatively affect every aspect of their life. However, this addiction is not always easy to determine.
Research from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has determined that anyone who meets 2 of the 11 following criteria within a 12-month period may be diagnosed with alcoholism or an alcohol use disorder.
In order to accurately assess whether you or a loved one may be suffering from a problem with alcohol, here are some questions to consider. In the past year, have you:
- Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
- More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
- Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
- Experienced craving, a strong need, or urge, to drink?
- Found that drinking, or being sick from drinking, often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
- Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
- Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
- Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
- Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
- Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not actually there?
If any of these symptoms are things that you or a loved one have experienced, your drinking habits may already be cause for concern. The more symptoms you’ve experienced, the more urgent your need for treatment may be. Don’t worry, Serenity Lane is here to help.
Health and Alcohol Abuse
The occasional alcohol drinker most likely will not suffer any lasting health effects if they are otherwise healthy. It becomes a different story if we’re discussing a habitually heavy drinker. Chronic alcohol use or alcoholism can have numerous adverse effects on physical and mental health. Some of these effects may include:
The job of the liver is to help filter out any toxins in the blood. This includes alcohol. If a person drinks too much, too fast, the liver is unable to keep up with disposing of the toxin in the blood. Alcohol can kill liver cells, leading to a scarring of the liver called cirrhosis. Long-term heavy alcohol use can also cause fatty liver disease, rendering the liver unable to function as well as it should.
Alcohol can cause many issues with the heart and circulatory system such as high blood pressure. Studies of heavy drinkers have shown that they are more likely to have cardiovascular issues and an increased risk of dying from heart disease.
Brain and Nervous System Issues:
Drinking alcohol has adverse effects on the neural pathways of the brain. This is the cause of impaired motor control, slurred speech, and memory problems associated with heavy alcohol use. Heavy alcohol use has also been linked to an increased risk of seizures.
Drinking alcohol has been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers. Because it causes damage to any cells that it comes into contact with, heavy alcohol use can lead to an increased risk of mouth, throat, esophageal, and liver cancer.
Other health risks associated with alcoholism include anemia, digestive issues, gout, infection, and sleep issues.
Addiction and Alcoholism Treatment at Serenity Lane
Serenity Lane is proud to be one of the top quality alcoholism treatment programs in the northwestern United States.
We currently provide a cutting-edge medically-supported withdrawal program, also known as detox, at our inpatient treatment facility in Coburg, Oregon. The first step in your recovery from alcohol use disorder is detox.
Our team of medical professionals uses a standardized protocol that is designed to be the most effective way to receive long-term recovery from dependence on alcohol. They are prepared and qualified to handle all aspects of detox, including withdrawal symptoms and mental health issues that may occur.
Doctor Supervision and Medications Used in Detox
While there are no medications that will instantly and completely resolve the withdrawal symptoms of alcohol, some medications may be used to manage individual symptoms. Craving-management medications, such as Vivitrol®, may also be used to help in your recovery. A doctor will monitor your condition and help you cope with symptoms in a compassionate, caring environment. Your health is our number one priority.
Residential Treatment Program
Our residential inpatient treatment program at Serenity Lane is designed to help you establish a solid foundation in your recovery from alcohol use disorder. We achieve this by removing you from a potential crisis situation and putting you into a setting where you receive around-the-clock medical supervision and stability. Once we’ve accessed mental and physical stability, recovery can truly begin.
Group therapy is the primary form of treatment for substance use disorder and is used extensively in our residential program. However, individual therapy is available to patients on an “as needed” basis during the treatment period. On weekdays, the group will meet each morning and afternoon to explore problems, feelings, challenges, and conflicts that come up in the treatment process. Patients will be oriented to the group and assigned a “buddy.” This is someone who is further along in treatment and can help explain rules and ease the transition into the group environment.
Day Treatment or Partial Hospitalization Treatment Program
Serenity Lane’s day treatment program, also known as partial hospitalization, is the highest level of substance use disorder care after inpatient residential treatment. Day treatment is a great option for individuals looking for a comprehensive treatment program that allows them to balance the demands of personal and professional life.
Level II Outpatient Treatment Program
Our Level II Outpatient program is 10 weeks of intensive, comprehensive treatment that includes group therapy, individual counseling, and education about the disease of addiction. Treatment groups meet for three hours, three times a week.
Level I Outpatient Treatment Program
Following outpatient treatments, recovery support and therapy is provided on a weekly basis for 44 weeks or longer. Patients meet for a 90-minute weekly session to study and learn to identify and manage stressful life events and incorporate relapse prevention therapy and techniques.
Recovery Is Possible and Help With Alcohol Abuse Is Here at Serenity Lane
When choosing a treatment center for alcohol use disorder, it is important to choose one that understands the disease of addiction and the best ways to help promote strong, lasting change. With centers all around Oregon, Serenity Lane makes your physical and mental health our number one priority.
You’re stronger than you may think, and we’re here to help. Call us today at 800-543-9905 for a no-cost consultation from one of our mental health professionals.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to stop drinking?
The best way to stop drinking is to seek a licensed medical addiction treatment facility. It is not recommended that anyone attempt treatment or to quit drinking on their own as severe health consequences, and even death can occur.
What is the success rate for recovering alcoholics?
It is important to realize that because of the individualized nature of the disease of alcoholism, there is no one statistic that is accurate for all recovering alcoholics. Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous tout a 50% success rate in their program, but this is not the only program that people use to achieve recovery.
Can the brain heal itself from alcohol?
Research has shown that after two weeks of sobriety, the brain can begin to show signs of recovery. However, with advanced alcohol use disorder, it is possible to cause irreversible damage to the brain. If you’re concerned that alcohol use is affecting your brain, it is advisable to seek treatment at a licensed addiction treatment facility.
How do doctors test for alcoholism?
There are no specific tests for alcoholism, but there are certain health patterns in lab test results that can suggest alcohol damage has occurred in a person’s organs. The only way to determine if a person is suffering from alcoholism is to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.