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Alcohol Addiction

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By We Level Up | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: October 7, 2022

What is Alcohol Use Disorder? What are Effective Alcoholism Treatment Programs?

Alcoholism is known by a variety of terms, including alcohol addiction or alcohol dependence. Today, it’s referred to clinically as an alcohol use disorder. It occurs when you drink so much that your body eventually becomes dependent on or addicted to alcohol. When this happens, alcohol becomes the most important thing in your life. Alcoholism treatment for alcohol use disorder varies, but each method is meant to help you stop excessive drinking altogether.

Alcohol use disorder is defined as alcoholism. Alcoholism is defined as a pattern of binge alcohol drinking. Excessive drinking problems increase the risk for controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, and continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems. Having to drink more to get the same effect, or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.

Unhealthy alcohol use includes any alcohol use that puts your health or safety at risk or causes other alcohol-related problems. It also includes binge drinking a pattern of drinking where a male consumes five or more drinks within two hours or a female downs at least four drinks within two hours. Binge drinking causes significant health and safety risks. 

Some people may drink alcohol to the point that it causes problems, but they’re not physically dependent on alcohol. This used to be referred to as alcohol abuse.

Alcoholism Treatment Fact-Sheet

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is also called: alcoholism, alcohol dependence, alcohol dependence, alcoholism, or alcohol addiction.

Alcoholism Treatment Consists of Therapy and Sedatives

Treatment for this disorder includes counseling, such as behavioral therapy, and drugs that lessen the desire to drink are used in treatment. For certain people, medical detoxification is necessary to safely quit drinking. Mutual support groups assist individuals in quitting drinking, controlling relapses, and adjusting to healthier lifestyle changes.

Alcoholism Treatment Medical Process

Alcohol detox treatment is the sudden termination of alcohol consumption in those suffering from alcoholism.


Therapies For Alcoholism

Support groups, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Aversion therapy, Family therapy, Behavior therapy, Psychotherapy, Group psychotherapy, and Counseling.


Alcoholism Treatment Medications

Sedative, vitamin, and alcoholism medication. Skip to alcoholism treatment medications.


Alcoholism Treatment Self-Care

Abstinence- Entirely abstaining from all alcohol use which can assist an alcoholic in becoming a moderate and problem-free drinker.

Alcoholism Treatment Symptoms

Usually Self-Diagnosable

Strong needs or urges to drink alcohol are among the common symptoms. People with alcohol use disorders may struggle to regulate their drinking, continue drinking even with the negative consequences, or experience withdrawal symptoms when they drastically cut back or quit drinking.


Alcoholism Treatment Patients Experience:

Common: physical substance dependence, coordination issues, slurred speech, and frequent tremors.

Whole body: blackout, dizziness, shakiness, craving, or sweating.

Behavioral: aggression, agitation, compulsiveness, self-destructiveness, or a lack of self-control.

Mood: anxiety, euphoria, depression, guilt, or loneliness.

Gastrointestinal: nausea or vomiting

Psychological: delirium or fear

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Signs of Alcoholism Symptoms

Alcoholism symptoms of alcohol abuse can be observed based on the behaviors and physical outcomes that occur as a result of alcohol addiction.

Alcoholism symptoms are most commonly seen with people engage in the following risky behaviors:

  • Not eating or eating poorly
  • Neglecting personal hygiene
  • Missing work or school because of drinking
  • continuing to drink even when legal, social, or economic problems develop
  • Drinking alone
  • Drinking more to feel the effects of alcohol (having a high tolerance)
  • Becoming violent or angry when asked about their drinking habits
  • Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of alcohol use
  • Being unable to control alcohol intake
  • Making excuses to drink

Alcoholism Treatment Statistics

  • Nearly 95% of Americans who are battling alcoholism do not believe they require treatment for their condition.

  • Every year, more than 30% of those receiving treatment for alcoholism pay for it through public or private insurance.

  • 1.1 million men and 431,000 women received treatment for an alcohol consumption disorder in 2014.
Alcoholism treatment statistics.  85.6% of people aged 18+ reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime. If you are struggling with alcoholism, reach out to We Level Up, an accredited Alcohol Treatment Center.
The need for alcoholism treatment is great. 85.6% of people aged 18+ reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime. If you are struggling with alcoholism, reach out to We Level Up, an accredited Alcohol Treatment Center.

Severe alcoholism symptoms will lead patients to require professional alcohol addiction treatment may also experience the following physical symptoms:

  • Lapses in memory blacking out after a night of drinking
  • Alcohol cravings
  • Withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, including shaking, nausea, and vomiting
  • Illnesses, such as alcoholic ketoacidosis includes dehydration-type symptoms or cirrhosis
  • Tremors of involuntary shaking the morning after drinking

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Causes of Alcohol Addiction & related Alcoholism Symptoms

Genetic, psychological, social, and environmental factors can impact how consuming alcohol affects your body and behavior. For example, theories suggest that for certain people drinking has a different and stronger impact that can lead to alcohol use disorder.

Too much alcohol may change the normal function of the areas of your brain associated with the experience of pleasure, judgment, and the ability to exercise control over your behavior. This may result in craving alcohol to try to restore good feelings or reduce negative ones also known as withdrawal symptoms.

The cause of alcohol addiction is still unknown. Alcohol addiction develops when you drink so much that chemical changes occur in the brain. Alcohol use disorder typically develops gradually over time. It’s also known to run in families. Eventually, the pleasurable feelings associated with alcohol use go away and the alcoholic engages in drinking to prevent alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be quite unpleasant and even dangerous.

An alcoholism treatment center is comprised of a professional specialist team that helps diagnose the severity of one’s alcohol addiction. Alcohol rehab center offers trained medical teams to help medically stabilize patients through alcohol detox & withdrawals at first. Thereafter alcohol recovery therapy may begin.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism [1] defines one standard drink as any one of these:

  • 12 ounces (355 milliliters) of regular beer with about 5 percent alcohol
  • 8 to 9 ounces (237 to 266 milliliters) of malt liquor about 7 percent alcohol
  • 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of unfortified wine with about 12 percent alcohol
  • 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) of 80-proof hard liquor about 40 percent alcohol

Risk Factors of Alcoholism

Although the exact cause of alcohol use disorder is unknown, there are certain factors that may increase your risk of developing this disease. However, alcohol use disorder occurs more frequently in adults with ages in their 20s and 30s. But, it can start at any age. Drinking too much on a regular basis for an extended period or binge drinking on a regular basis can lead to alcohol-related problems that require the help of alcohol treatment centers.

Alcoholism treatment known risk factors include:

  • More than 5 drinks per day at least once a week binge drinking
  • More than 15 drinks per week if you’re male
  • A mental health problem, such as depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia
  • More than 12 drinks per week if you’re female
  • A parent with alcohol use disorder

You may also be at a greater risk for alcohol use disorder if you are a young adult experiencing, peer pressure, a high level of stress, or have low self-esteem. Additionally, having a close relative with alcohol use disorder, or living in a family or culture where alcohol use is common and accepted will increase the risk. According to the national institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism, other factors leading people to get professional alcohol treatment include:

  • Starting at an early age. People who begin excessive drinking.
  • Family history of struggling with addiction. This may be influenced by genetic factors.
  • Depression and other mental health problems. It’s common for people with mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder to have problems with alcohol or other substances.
  • History of trauma – People with a history of emotional or other trauma are at increased risk of alcohol use disorder.
  • Having bariatric surgery – Some research studies indicate that having bariatric surgery may increase the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder.
  • Social and cultural factors – Having friends or a close partner who drinks regularly could increase your risk of alcohol use disorder.

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Complications from Alcoholism

In some people, the initial reaction to drinking may be stimulation. But as you continue to drink, you become sedated. Too much alcohol affects your speech, muscle coordination, and vital centers of your brain. A heavy drinking binge may even cause a life-threatening coma or death. In short, alcohol depresses your central nervous system. This is of particular concern when you’re taking certain medications that also depress the brain’s function.

About your safety

Excessive drinking can reduce your judgment skills and lower inhibitions, leading to poor choices and dangerous situations or behaviors, including:

  • Motor vehicle accidents and other types of accidental injury, such as drowning
  • Relationship problems
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Increased likelihood of committing violent crimes or being the victim of a crime
  • Legal problems or problems with employment or finances
  • Problems with other substance use
  • Engaging in risky, unprotected sex, or experiencing sexual abuse or date rape
  • Increased risk of attempted or completed suicide

The Need for Proper Alcoholism Treatment is Clear

Approximately, 6.4 million people aged 12 or older suffer from an alcohol use disorder.

Alcoholism treatment programs can administer care for severe withdrawal symptoms while proving therapy to deal with excessive drinking.

About your health

Drinking too much alcohol on a single occasion or over time can cause health problems, including:

  • Alcoholic liver disease is also called alcoholic cirrhosis. Heavy drinking can cause increased fat in the liver as known as hepatic steatosis, inflammation of the liver as known as alcoholic hepatitis, and over time, irreversible destruction and scarring of liver tissue as known as alcohol induced cirrhosis.
  • Digestive problems. It can interfere with the absorption of B vitamins and other nutrients. Heavy drinking can damage your pancreas or lead to inflammation of the pancreas as known as pancreatitis.
  • Heart problems. Excessive drinking can lead to high blood pressure and increases your risk of an enlarged heart, heart failure, or stroke. 
  • Diabetes complications. This is dangerous if you have diabetes and are already taking insulin to lower your blood sugar level.
  • Sexual function and menstruation issues. Excessive drinking can cause erectile dysfunction in men. In women, it can interrupt menstruation. 
  • Eye problems. Over time, heavy drinking can cause involuntary rapid eye movement known as nystagmus as well as weakness and paralysis of your eye muscles due to a deficiency of vitamin B-1 thiamin. 
  • Birth defects. It may also cause fetal alcohol syndrome, resulting in giving birth to a child who has physical and developmental problems that last a lifetime.
  • Bone damage. This bone loss can lead to thinning bones (osteoporosis) and an increased risk of fractures. Alcohol can also damage bone marrow, which makes blood cells. 
  • Neurological complications. Excessive drinking can affect your nervous system, causing numbness and pain in your hands and feet, disordered thinking, dementia, and short-term memory loss.
  • Weakened immune system. Excessive alcohol use can make it harder for your body to resist disease, increasing your risk of various illnesses, especially pneumonia.
  • Increased risk of cancer. Long-term excessive alcohol use has been linked to a higher risk of many cancers, including mouth, throat, liver, esophagus, colon, and breast cancers. 
  • Medication and alcohol interactions. Drinking while taking these medications can either increase or decrease their effectiveness, or make them dangerous.

Alcoholism Treatment Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top alcoholic ketoacidosis treatments at home?

In order to treat alcoholic ketoacidosis, IV fluids must be given, electrolyte levels must be monitored, and if necessary, thiamine and glucose must be administered. To lessen the possibility of experiencing severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, medications (such as benzodiazepines) may be prescribed.  

Metoclopramide and ondansetron are two examples of anti-nausea or antiemetic drugs that may lessen nausea or stop vomiting. Alcohol detox should not be administrated at home because of the risks associated with alcohol withdrawal. Alcoholic ketoacidosis treatment at home can be dangerous and should be managed with professional medical supervision.

What are the first signs of kidney damage from alcohol?

-Fatigue
-Decreased appetite
-Urinary changes
-Kidney discomfort
-Having swollen legs, ankles, and feet

Alcoholism treatment can be life-saving especially for those already affected by alcohol’s negative impact on the kidneys and liver.

How long does alcohol stay in your urine?

Within an hour of drinking, ethanol from alcohol can be found in a person’s urine, and it remains distinguishable for up to 12 hours after that. Although, depending on a variety of unique factors, the time frame can last longer or shorter than 12 hours. 

Medication Assisted Treatment For Alcohol Abuse

Alcoholism Treatment Medications

There are several different alcohol medicines that may help with alcohol use disorder. Popular alcohol medicines used in Alcohol MAT for addiction detox programs include:

  • Naltrexone ReVia is used only after someone has detoxed from alcohol. This type of drug works by blocking certain receptors in the brain that are associated with the high alcoholic high. This is a combination with counseling, which may help decrease a person’s craving for alcohol.
  • Acamprosate is a medication that can help reestablish the brain’s original chemical state before alcohol dependence. This drug should also be combined with therapy.
  • Disulfiram Antabuse is a drug that causes physical discomfort such as nausea, vomiting, and headaches any time the person consumes alcohol.

While alcohol addiction is tough to overcome, medication-assisted treatment for alcohol abuse or MAT (medication-assisted treatment) can help kickstart one’s recovery process. Alcohol MAT drugs have unpleasant side effects when taken orally so there needs to be careful consideration before using them during treatment.

Disulfiram for Alcoholism Treatment

For people who have finished detoxification and are beginning the early stages of alcohol recovery, disulfiram is the most productive medicine. This particular drug is taken as a pill once per day. When on this medication, if a person consumes alcohol, disulfiram causes unpleasant side effects that act as a deterrent.  The  adverse side effects frequently consist of: 

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Chest discomfort
  • Vomiting
  • Breathing problems

These unpleasant side effects typically appear 10 minutes after consuming alcohol and last for an hour or longer. Some MAT-based treatment facility for alcohol use disorder excludes disulfiram due to the unpleasant and occasionally harmful side effects. 

Naltrexone for Alcoholism Treatment

This particular drug aims to assist people in separating alcohol from positive emotions and experiences. In the end, this interaction motivates the person to uphold his or her dedication to rehabilitation. Naltrexone medication, which comes in tablet (ReVia and Depade) and injectable (Vivitrol) formulations, is most effective when combined with behavioral counseling and a comprehensive alcohol recovery treatment program.

Acamprosate for Alcoholism Treatment

Acamprosate is a medication that is most helpful for people who have overcome the initial stages of alcohol withdrawal and detoxification. Usually, on the fifth day of abstinence, this medicine will achieve the highest rates of effectiveness within five to eight days after the first dose. Tablets containing acamprosate are taken three times every day. When used in conjunction with extensive therapy and treatment, it lessens cravings while increasing a person’s chances of sobriety.

Alcoholism Early Prevention

Early intervention can prevent alcohol-related problems in teens. Be alert to signs and symptoms that may indicate a problem with alcohol:

  • Loss of interest in activities and hobbies and in personal appearance
  • Red eyes, slurred speech, problems with coordination, and memory lapses
  • Difficulties or changes in relationships with friends, such as joining a new crowd
  • Declining grades and problems in school
  • Frequent mood changes and defensive behavior

How to Prevent Alcoholism?

  • Set a good example with your own alcohol use.
  • Talk openly with your friends, spend quality time together and become actively involved with your family.
  • Let yourself know what behavior you expect.

You can prevent alcohol use disorder by limiting your alcohol intake. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, women shouldn’t drink more than one drink per day, and men shouldn’t drink more than two drinks per day. See your doctor if you begin to engage in behaviors that are signs of an alcohol use disorder, or if you think that you may have a problem with alcohol.

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Alcohol Treatment Centers

Doctors or healthcare specialists at behavioral alcohol treatment centers are well-trained medical providers. They are more acutely aware of alcohol use disorder treatment protocols and can properly diagnose and assess patients for suitable alcoholism treatment. They’ll conduct a physical exam and ask you questions about your drinking habits. Your doctor may ask if you:

  • Drive when you’re drunk
  • Have missed work or lost a job as a result of your drinking
  • Need more alcohol to feel drunk when you drink
  • Have experienced blackouts as a result of your drinking
  • Have tried to cut back on your drinking but couldn’t

Your doctor may also use a questionnaire to assess alcohol treatment requirements and to help diagnose the extent of your condition. Typically, a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder or AUD doesn’t require any other type of diagnostic test. There’s a chance your doctor may order blood work to check your liver function if you show signs or symptoms of liver disease or alcoholic cirrhosis.

AUD can cause serious and lasting damage to your liver. Your liver is responsible for removing toxins from your blood. When you drink too much, your liver has a harder time filtering the alcohol and other toxins from your bloodstream. This can lead to alcoholic liver diseases and other complications.

Alcoholism Treatment Methods

Alcoholism Treatment Center Programs

Alcoholism treatment centers therapy for AUD varies, but each method is meant to help you stop drinking altogether. This is called abstinence. Treatment may occur in stages and can include the following:

  • Rehabilitation to learn new coping skills and behaviors.
  • Counseling to address emotional problems that may cause you to drink.
  • Support groups, such as 12-step programs.
  • Medical treatment for health problems associated with alcohol use disorder.
  • Medications to help control addiction.

Alcohol Detox

The first stage in treating alcoholism is typically detoxification, which can be the most challenging. You could endure harsh withdrawal symptoms in the first few days after quitting drinking. As a result, the alcohol detox phase should only be completed under qualified medical supervision.

You could get prescribed medicine from your treatment providers to lessen the discomfort from the detox, which supports your focus on alcohol recovery process.  You’ll be able to continue with different types of therapy and treatment once you’ve completed detox.

Inpatient Rehab

The most structured treatment facility for people overcoming alcoholism is an inpatient rehab center. These rehab centers often treat the most severe cases of alcoholism and mandate that patients stay on-site for the full course of the program, which can last 30, 60, or 90 days.

Treatment professionals will support your alcohol recovery journey and provide helpful resources to help you easily continue your sobriety. These resources typically include information on overcoming triggers, the value of sobriety maintenance programs, and what to do in the case of a relapse.

Alcoholism Treatment Statistics

One in twelve Americans suffers from alcohol use disorder.

Top 3 Alcohol Rehab Centers
When seeking top-rated alcoholism treatment look for accredited and licensed inpatient addiction centers.

Alcohol Counseling

It’s crucial for people to communicate and receive advice from an alcohol counselor frequently as they work toward recovery. Counseling creates a channel of communication that is open both during joyful and challenging times.

Additionally, your therapist will be able to help you deal with any underlying problems including peers, family relationships, employment, or other situations that might be contributing to your drinking problem. You’ll get the chance to discover more about who you are and how to maintain the physical and mental wellness of your body.

Alcoholism Treatment Center Programs

At the We Level Up Treatment Centers, trained behavioral addiction and mental health specialists provide world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to help you cope. We work as an integrated team providing alcoholism treatment for a successful recovery from alcohol use disorder. Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our teams of caregivers know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

Your call is private and confidential and there is never any obligation.

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Sources

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